BelAir Builds War Chest
In addition to investments by Venture West Management Inc. and Trilogy Equity Partners, the Kanata, Canada-based firm also got a $5 million "venture loan" from MMV. The firm will not necessarily need to use this line of debt financing though, according to Jim Freeze, SVP of marketing and alliances at BelAir.
"We're pretty confident that this is our last round of funding," he says. Mr. Freeze, however, is cagier about what might happen after that. "At some point, we may look to take the company public."
The increasing role of wired and wireless service providers in the mesh market is driving the cost of entry, according to BelAir officials. "We believe the market is heading towards a service provider-led market," Freeze says. "Service providers can be pretty demanding in what they want in terms of reliability and scaleability."
To that end, part of the VC money will go towards R&D and increased support for cable and cellular operators. Freeze also says the company will gain an "extended sales reach" from the cash.
BelAir's rivals have similar amounts of cash in their corporate back pockets. Strix Systems Inc. has raised $54 million. (See Strix Strikes $12M to Make Mesh.) Tropos Networks Inc. has not provided funding details but has raised around $40 million to date. (See Tropos Pairs With HP, Bags $15M.)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung