Carrier WiFi

Boingo Scores $65M

Public access wireless LAN startup Boingo Wireless Inc. has grabbed $65 million in its series C funding round, bringing its total VC haul up to nearly $100 million since the firm launched in December 2001.

New investors in this latest round include Mitsui Corporate Development Funds and Mitsui USA, Steelpoint Capital Partners, and Red Rock Ventures . Previous investors also participated in the round.

Boingo used a portion of the money to fund the acquisition of Concourse Communications Group in May. (See Boingo Buys Concourse.) Otherwise it plans to spend the money on future growth. The company is not expecting to take on any more funding. "Post one-time acquisition costs, Boingo will be cashflow positive," says Christian Gunning, Boingo's marketing communications director. "Our focus is on building a strong, highly profitable business."

Potentially one of the most interesting elements of that future for enterprise users is Boingo's push to get handset makers and others to build Boingo support into their products. This could mean better support for WiFi VOIP services at hotspots around the world.

"Some of the money will be used to further develop our Boingo Embedded program, which is working closely with carriers, handset manufacturers, chipset manufacturers, and FMC companies -- like VOIP service providers -- to integrate global commercial WiFi roaming into dualmode handsets, WiFi handsets, and other WiFi-enabled mobile devices through our open-source software," says Gunning. "We believe this program is a significant part of our future growth."

For the time being, however, Boingo's bread and butter is travelers at airports -- hence the Concourse buyout. The firm says that its data shows that the airport is the most valuable venue for WiFi usage and customer acquisition. That statistic may be even more relevant now that passengers are looking at even longer waits to make it past airport security.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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