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Founded in 2015, the company, which provides a SaaS platform for connected homes, has now raised a total of $697 million. The new valuation is nearly double the company’s last valuation of $1.35 billion after it raised a $270 million Series E led by Insight Partners in February of this year.
Plume partners with more than 240 cable multiple-system operators (MSOs)—such as Comcast and Charter Communications—telecommunications companies and fixed wireless access operators to provide managed Wi-Fi that enables a plethora of smart-home services such as parental control, security, IoT-managed devices and motion sensing. The company manages more than 1.2 billion devices in over 35 million homes and small businesses around the world.
Fahri Diner, founder and CEO, said cable and telecom companies are eager to expand the services they offer as more people cut the cable television cord and get rid of landlines. Many see connected smart-home offerings as the future way to attract and retain their customer base.
“This is a massive opportunity,” he said. “We are really trying to turn things upside down.”
Although Plume had just raised a quarter of a billion dollars earlier this year, Diner said the decision to raise more money came down primarily to the investor. SoftBank was familiar with the company, and the telecommunications giant’s experience in the space was too much for Plume to pass up, he added.
“SoftBank is in our business,” he said. “It is purely a financial investment, but there is no doubt they understand our space.”
Nagraj Kashyap, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said he had passed on investing in Plume years ago when he was at M12 due to the fact he thought the company was too reliant on developing hardware. As Plume has come to rely more on its software platform—even opening it up to different hardware vendors—Kashyap said he was excited for another opportunity.
“I got a chance to back a company that’s great, even though I passed on them before, “ he said with a laugh.
The new funding will be used to further push development of Plume’s smart-spaces platform, OpenSync, grow its sales and marketing, and continue it’s push into new markets. The company mainly operates in North America, Europe and Japan, but expects to soon be deeper in both South America and the Middle East, Diner said.
The 475-person company does not offer financial details, but Diner said Plume “could be a public company next year if we wanted.”
Plume’s competition mainly comes from offerings some of their partners already provide; developing their own solutions for smart homes, Diner said. Internet giants like Amazon and Google also could look more at providing similar smart-home tools since the market is so big, Kashyap said.
However, Kashyap added, Plume is well positioned to grow into an eventual public company itself, and Diner has a similar vision for the company’s future.
“We don’t have an exit strategy,” Diner said. “We just want to grow. But I think we will be a public company at some point….In two to three years, I see us as a public company.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.
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