• United States

AirBand attracts venture capital largesse

Sep 24, 20032 mins
Internet Service ProvidersNetworkingVenture Capital

* Start-up gains success in bringing wireless to the Southwest

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Wireless ISPs continue to attract corporate customers and venture capital investments, despite the difficult times across the telecommunications industry. One company that’s been successful on both accounts is airBand Communications, a Dallas broadband services company serving several cities in the Southwest.

AirBand uses fixed wireless technology to deliver broadband services to Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Phoenix. AirBand offers broadband services scalable to OC-12 as well as firewall, VPN and Web hosting services to corporations with offices in these cities.

Earlier this year, airBand raised an additional $10.5 million from a group of venture capital firms led by Sevin Rosen Funds and Crescendo Ventures. Overall, airBand has raised $57 million since its founding in February of 2000.

The airBand deal was one of the largest venture capital investments in the ISP industry during the first half of 2003. Overall, venture firms have pumped more than $488 million into 50-plus telecommunications start-ups this year, according to the MoneyTree Survey compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association.

In the last few ISP News Reports, we have looked at Internet infrastructure and service provider start-ups that have succeeded in raising large amounts of money from the venture capital community this year. With cash in hand, these companies are deploying new IP-based services for corporate network managers.

Among airBand’s customers are The Staubach Co., a real estate services firm in Dallas, the Double Tree Hotel at Lincoln Center in Dallas and several private schools in Dallas.

“There’s still a lot of interest in wireless,” says Kirk Walden, national director of venture capital research for PricewaterhouseCoopers. As proof, Walden points to a recent $13.7 million investment in IPWireless, a San Bruno, Calif., start-up offering what it calls mobile broadband technology, and a $44.5 million investment in San Francisco-based Vivato, a Wi-Fi switch maker. Both of these start-ups sell equipment to wireless ISPs.

“Wireless is still a wide-open frontier,” Walden adds.