Plume raises $85 million for smarter Wi-Fi networks to more homes

Plume is one of few companies that is working to strengthen Wi-Fi connectivity

Plume raises $85 million for smarter Wi-Fi networks to more homes

Plume, the Comcast-backed startup that developed an AI-powered adaptive home network Wi-Fi network, raised $85 million on 26th February 2020, in a combination of equity and debt funding. Series D investors of $60 million included Qualcomm Ventures, Charter Communications, Belkin, Service Electric Cablevision, Liberty Global, and Shaw Communications, while Silicon Valley Bank and WesterRiver Group provided the debt facility.

This takes the San Francisco-based startup’s total funding to $127 million, at a valuation of $510 million.

The Plume was founded in 2014 and is one of many companies trying to improve Wi-Fi connectivity by strategically placing several routers throughout a home. Plume continuously learns and adapts to each household, monitoring internet usage and allocating bandwidth based on the devices that need it most. Other notable players in the Wi-Fi mesh network space include Eero, which Amazon bought last year, Google’s Nest, Netgear’s Orbi, and even new Plume investor Belkin.

The increasing connected devices in the home from fridges and smart speakers to TVs and light bulbs has created more potential for internet blackspots, something mesh network companies are eager to fix.

Charter Communications, which is traded under the Spectrum name, is one of the largest U.S. cable TV and internet providers and has recently announced implementation of the OpenSync open-source platform of Plume. The framework, which was launched back in 2018 in partnership with existing Samsung customer, is available to any company developing its services such as Wi-Fi mesh networks, parental control systems or any new product requiring managed Wi-Fi. Today, Plume claims to have over 650 million users communicating through 14 million households with 16 million OpenSync switches.

Charter launched a new innovative in-home Wi-Fi service in 2019, enabling its customers greater control and visibility into their home broadband. This includes mobile apps that show all devices connected to the network and may also allow to cut access to a single device (e.g., a child’s smartphone) or homeowners to set up guest Wi-Fi accounts (e.g., for an Airbnb guest). As a result of this new round, Andrew Ip, senior VP for emerging technology and innovation at Charter Communications, has joined Plume’s board of directors.

Partnership with Plume has been critical to the success of the Charter’s advanced in-home Wi-Fi rollout and has enabled Charter to accelerate innovation and more rapidly deliver new features to our Spectrum internet and Wi-Fi customers from the ability to optimize their home networks to greater control over their devices.

Besides the Charter, Plume’s cloud-based service has been adopted by more than 30 communication service providers, including Comcast and Armstrong in the U.S., as well as major telecom companies in Canada, Europe, and Asia. The Telecom Infra Project (TIP), a membership-based working group kickstarted in 2016 by heavy hitters like Nokia, Facebook, and Intel, revealed that it too was adopting the OpenSync framework.

According to Plume cofounder and CEO, Fahri Diner, Plume believes in the cloud, a massively scalable data-driven platform, a SaaS delivery model, and an open-source approach to build a market-leading, high-growth enterprise efficiently and with operating leverage.