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What Elauwit's founders built after Boingo

The executives who founded Elauwit, a company that Boingo purchased in 2018 are back with a new company: Elauwit.

However, this new Elauwit (officially called Elauwit Connection) is slightly different from the old Elauwit (officially called Elauwit Networks), and may even end up partnering with Boingo for some efforts.

"We saw an opening in the multi-tenant office space – which doesn't interfere with the old Elauwit Networks business or Boingo's legacy business," Barry Rubens, co-founder and CEO of Elauwit Connection, wrote in response to questions from Light Reading, adding that Boingo did not acquire the Elauwit name. "After conversations with folks in the space, we decided to build a product and service offering to give office building owners more control over their telecom network, tenant experience and Internet service delivery. Then we figured out a way to help building owners generate ROI [return on investment] through ancillary revenue opportunities associated with Internet service. It's really a win-win."

Rubens explained that Dan McDonough founded Elauwit Networks (the one that Boingo purchased for $28 million) in 2008 after a stint in the newspaper business in order to deliver Internet connections into apartments and student housing. After roughly a decade of work and success, Rubens (then Elauwit Networks' CEO) said the company was working with capital partners on its next stage of growth when Boingo reached out.

"We were impressed with the culture of the company and believed that Boingo could help the Elauwit Networks team reach new heights. We were excited to do the transaction with a good company that had great leadership," he wrote.

Rubens left Boingo in the middle of 2019 while McDonough stuck around until the end of 2019 "and continues to have a strong relationship with Boingo's leadership team," Rubens added.

Then the two moved forward with their next venture: Elauwit Connection.

"Elauwit Networks (the assets of which we sold to Boingo) provided service in the multi-family space with a particular focus on off-campus student housing. Boingo likes the multi-family market and is doing a great job at providing a critical service in that space," Rubens explained. "Elauwit Connection is providing network construction and Internet service to the boutique, multi-tenant office space – totally different market with different needs, but still needing a quality Internet service with an excellent customer experience. Our best prospects are office buildings (in development or existing) that have 100K-plus square feet and at least a dozen commercial tenants."

Added Rubens: "To the extent these customers require 5G, DAS [distributed antenna systems] or cellular offload services, we've actually discussed partnering with Boingo to provide these services for us."

Elauwit's re-entry into the telecom space comes at a noteworthy time for Boingo. After a bout of layoffs the company's management reportedly hung a "for sale" sign atop its offices and is now waiting for the offers to roll in.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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