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India's Airtel acquires stake in Cnergee cloud startup

India's second-largest service provider, Bharti Airtel, has acquired a minority stake in Cnergee, a cloud-based networking solutions provider. The service provider didn't divulge the quantum of stake it acquired.

The Mumbai-based startup has developed 5G-ready software tools for Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) that can be deployed at scale to enable zero-touch service provisioning, central remote monitoring, and management of all connected devices with a host of real-time analytics, says the press release issued by Airtel.

Cnergee was part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program, which invests in early startups developing solutions based on new-age technologies.
 (Source: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr CC2.0)
Cnergee was part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program, which invests in early startups developing solutions based on new-age technologies.
(Source: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr CC2.0)

The acquisition will allow Airtel to boost its NaaS portfolio for small and medium businesses (SMBs) who want to use cloud-based applications.

Playing catchup

Typically, Indian SMBs have lagged in technology adoption. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed this and a growing number are digitally transforming operations, making this one of the biggest segments for service providers.

Cnergee's products will also enable Airtel to add to its 'Work From Anywhere' solution portfolio as a growing number of businesses adopt hybrid work models.

"As businesses move to cloud-based applications, software defined agile networks are becoming the norm. We welcome Cnergee to the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program and look forward to deploying their 'Made in India' solutions at scale in the fast growing NaaS market in India," said Ajay Chitkara, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Business.

Airtel recently acquired a 25% stake in Lavelle Networks, a Bengaluru-based SD-WAN company. Earlier in 2022, it also announced a strategic stake purchase in Aqilliz, a blockchain as a service company under the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program.

Looking forward

As India moves closer to a 5G spectrum auction and subsequent launch of services later in 2022, Airtel is sharpening its business portfolio as initial 5G use cases are mainly for the enterprise segments.


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Cnergee was part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program, which invests in early startups developing solutions based on new-age technologies.

"Cnergee has always believed in developing innovative, intelligent, and cost-efficient cloud based solutions. It is an exciting time for Cnergee to partner with Airtel in this digital transformation journey and reach out to emerging businesses of all sizes driving Digital India," said Suvarna Kulkarni, founder and managing director, Cnergee Technologies in the press note.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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