Blu Wireless raises £12.7 million Series B investment from ARM and others for 5G rollout

mmWave System IP specialist Blu Wireless has raised £12.7m ($16.6m) in a growth funding round led by existing investors Arm, Calculus Capital, Kendall and MGL, and including major new investor Guinness Asset Management. The investment will be used to scale the worldwide deployment of devices exploiting Blu Wireless’s HYDRA mmWave technology across a range of 5G applications.

Blu Wireless is already working with tier-1 telecoms infrastructure providers and leading semiconductor companies in the US, Japan, the UK and mainland Europe as they look to deploy HYDRA based devices within applications demanding 5G levels of bandwidth and low latency connectivity. Ready to be integrated within 5G software defined ‘network of networks’ Blu Wireless’s carrier-grade mmWave technology has been designed for the key markets of 5G telecoms infrastructure, Industry 4.0 and high-speed transportation.

Recently, Blu Wireless announced a supplier partnership with leading international railway operator FirstGroup to deliver 5G track-to-train infrastructure in the UK. The partnership deal will enable rail operators to cost effectively address passengers’ future demands for super-fast and reliable onboard Wi-Fi connectivity.

Blu Wireless is a specialist provider of carrier grade connectivity using unlicensed spectrum to deliver multi-gigabit, fibre-level connectivity that is cost-efficient, low power and reliable. By leveraging the full 14 GHz of spectrum available in the 57-71 GHz band, the company is able to significantly lower barriers to entry for 5G applications for stakeholders, opening up new commercial opportunities and greatly accelerating deployment.

Blu Wireless CEO, Henry Nurser, said: “The strong financial foundation that our investors are giving us will be crucial to our ability to work with our partners to deliver large scale mmWave 5G deployments across a number of key markets. Working closely with our partners and their customers, we are seeing a diverse and growing range of emerging applications for our technology – whether it be for drone-to-drone communications or private enterprise networks. We’d like to thank all our shareholders for their continued support at this pivotal commercialisation phase.”

Noel Hurley, VP Strategy at Arm commented: “Blu Wireless’s mmWave technology offers an agility that will help drive the future of 5G connectivity. With their deep expertise and a proven track record, they continue to be an exceptional partner to Arm.”

Alexander Crawford, co-Head of Investments at Calculus Capital, stated: “Blu Wireless is establishing itself as a world leader in enabling multi-gigabit mmWave connectivity. We are very excited about the opportunities and prospects ahead for the company and the management team.”

Shane Gallwey, Fund Manager at Guinness Asset Management said: “We’re delighted to be backing Blu Wireless. We can clearly see the technology’s potential for existing and future applications in 5G. It was a straightforward decision for us to invest.”

To allow Blu Wireless to serve their growing international customer base and deliver commercial mmWave deployments worldwide, while continuing to drive the advancement of 5G technology, the company will be scaling their sales, software and customer applications support teams.

G3 Comms Receives Private Equity Investment from Apiary Capital

G3 Comms, the business communications provider and network integrator, is pleased to announce it has secured a significant investment from private equity firm Apiary Capital. Under the terms of the deal, Apiary will acquire a majority stake in G3 Comms and provide additional follow-on funding to enable the company to accelerate its growth both organically and through acquisition.

G3 Comms provides communication and connectivity solutions to medium-sized, multi-site UK enterprises, often with international operations. It has expertise in both legacy telephony systems and more innovative cloud-based communication technology. G3 Comms specialises in supporting customers on their digital transformation journey to a complex hybrid communication estate, as well as running more steady state environments via a managed service offering. In addition, G3’s core network infrastructure provides resilient global voice and data services to customers with business-critical connectivity requirements.

Over the last two years, G3 Comms has invested heavily in its technical resource capability, particularly in unified communications, which has enabled the company to address the rapidly-growing demand for collaboration, communication and contact centre solutions. In addition, investment in G3 Comms’ global network infrastructure, powered by a proprietary aggregation and routing platform, has expanded the company’s global presence and capability and created new opportunities to support multi-national clients.

James Arnold-Roberts, G3 Comms CEO, comments on the deal:

“Thanks to the efforts of the exceptional G3 Comms team, the last few years have seen our revenues and profit grow year-on-year and we are now perfectly positioned to move forward with our long-term strategic plan. Apiary’s experience and supporting investment will be instrumental in fulfilling that plan.”

“We’ve worked hard to achieve solid partnerships with technology leaders that include Avaya, Microsoft, Genesys, Tata Communications and Ribbon, to ensure our breadth of expertise can meet the increasingly diverse range of communications required by businesses today. At the same time, our core skills in systems integration, deployment and technical support will continue to provide us with a competitive advantage, particularly where there is a demand for the transition from complex, multi-vendor legacy communications to cloud services.”

“Recent client wins with household names such as Volkswagen, and Thomas Cook bear testament to the power of our market proposition and we look forward to working with Apiary to build on these strong foundations.”

Nicki Boyd, Partner at Apiary Capital, adds:

“G3 Comms has built a platform that is now extremely well-placed to exploit the increasing corporate demand for service providers that can manage the complexity of diverse communications systems. With strong consultancy skills and a comprehensive suite of technical services, G3 Comms is ideally positioned for growth. We are delighted to be backing James and the G3 Comms team.”

Toob raises £75 million from Amber Infrastructure to fund initial full fibre broadband roll out

25 March 2019

  • toob will roll out gigabit-capable, fibre network to more than 100,000 premises by the end of 2021
  • Backed by Amber Infrastructure with £75 million of initial funding
  • Highly experienced management team strengthened by appointment of Charles McGregor as Chairman

toob, a full fibre broadband provider, will deliver gigabit broadband speeds to more than 100,000 premises by the end of 2021, with an ambition to expand its full fibre network to pass more than one million homes and business premises over the next ten years.

toob, which is based in Portsmouth, has secured a £75 million funding package from Amber Infrastructure Group’s National Digital Infrastructure Fund (‘NDIF’).  NDIF’s majority investment will support toob’s build out of a gigabit-capable, fibre network which will benefit consumers, businesses and public services in towns and cities across the UK.

toob was founded and is led by Nick Parbutt (CEO) and Mike Banwell (CFO), former Directors at Vodafone UK. The highly experienced management team will be strengthened with the appointment of Charles McGregor who has joined as Chairman. Charles brings extensive experience of fibre and successfully growing businesses, having recently served as the Chairman of Gigaclear for five years. He was previously the founder and CEO of Fibernet.

toob will deploy the latest fibre technology over existing infrastructure as often as it can to increase the speed of its roll out and reduce community disruption. toob expects to be a major customer of Openreach’s improved ducts and pole access (PIA) product, which becomes fully available at the beginning of April this year.  

Nick Parbutt, toob’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Amber Infrastructure and to have secured Charles as Chairman. toob now has the right people, the right plan and the right funding in place to capitalise on the exciting opportunity ahead of us. We want to enable families, businesses and communities to live, work and play in ways which are only made possible with the advent of gigabit broadband.”

Charles McGregor, toob’s Chairman, said: “I’m excited to be joining toob.  I have been involved in fibre businesses for over 30 years and I believe that Nick and his team will deliver on the exciting strategy announced today.” 

Chris Hogg, Investment Director, Amber Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such an experienced team at toob. Nick, Mike, Charles and the team at toob have extensive telecoms and fibre experience and we are looking forward to accelerating toob’s fibre network deployment with our funding.”

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s Competition Group Director, said: “The amount of internet data used by people in the UK is growing by around half every year. So we’ll increasingly need full-fibre broadband services like this to provide faster, more reliable connections and capacity to our homes and offices. These plans are another example of full-fibre being used to build broadband that can support the UK’s digital future.”

Matthew Vickerstaff, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, said: “This investment shows how the National Digital Infrastructure Fund continues to help companies improve broadband speeds across cities and towns in the UK, by increasing their access to private finance.  Upgrading our digital infrastructure to be reliable, sustainable and resilient is key to meeting the needs of an increasingly digital world, and increasing our productivity.”

For further information:

Amber InfrastructureErica Sibree+44 (0)20 7939 0558erica.sibree@amberinfrastructure.com toobPatrick Toyne-Sewell+44 (0) 7767 498 195patrick@ptspr.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

The National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF) is managed by Amber Infrastructure Group (Amber), and targets investments in core digital infrastructure in the UK on a fully commercial basis. NDIF benefits from a cornerstone commitment from the UK Government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) initiative, match-funded by private investors. NDIF reached its first close in July 2017, with further fundraising expected later this year.

NDIF forms part of the UK Government’s landmark DIIF, a £400 million government initiative to accelerate investment into fibre-optic based broadband networks and related businesses to build the next generation of digital networks and accelerate the rollout of ultrafast connectivity across the UK.

www.amberinfrastructure.com/our-funds/national-digital-infrastructure-fund

Amber Infrastructure Group

Amber Infrastructure Group is a leading international infrastructure specialist, providing asset management and investment advisory services in respect of over £8 billion of assets in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America. Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising on, investing in and managing infrastructure assets within the utilities, digital, social infrastructure, transport, renewable energy and regeneration sectors.

Amber provides investment advisory services to International Public Partnerships Limited as well as private investment funds, specialising in infrastructure, urban regeneration and energy efficiency. Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Munich, Edinburgh, Sydney, Melbourne, New York and San Francisco and employs over 120 people, making it one of the largest international infrastructure specialists.