Ross Manire
CEO
ExteNet Systems

 

“Columbia Capital was an early investor in ExteNet Systems providing us with our initial start-up capital. Serving in an investment and advisory role with deep communications industry knowledge, Columbia Capital was instrumental in helping us transition from our start-up phase in 2004 to our $1.4B recapitalization in 2015.  ExteNet needed investment partners who believed in the evolution of the communications infrastructure and, more importantly, had a longer-term investment horizon given the capital intensity of our business. Columbia Capital was a valued partner for us through several rounds of equity financing and positioned us for our leadership position today in distributed networks enabling cellular coverage and capacity. The strategic guidance provided by Columbia Capital was as important as their investment.”

 

Mobile Services

Mobile has become an important dimension of the communications, media, and technology landscape. Once regarded as an optional access methodology that supplemented the fixed line experience, mobile has become an equal partner, profoundly altering enterprise and consumer behavior. The rise of mobility has impacted the underlying network and enterprise application architecture, while also greatly increasing the surface area for data security considerations. Mobile is driving tremendous growth in many of the core markets in which Columbia participates and creates new investment opportunities as business models are reinvented for the mobile era.

The rise of mobile has impacted the underlying network and enterprise application architecture, while also greatly increasing the surface area for data security considerations.

Columbia’s historical involvement in the formation of the wireless industry in the late 1980s provides us with a deep contextual understanding of the market while our ongoing focus connects us with the leading innovators shaping the future development of mobility.  Columbia believes that these trends give way to significant investment opportunities in platforms that address demands for location services, mobile security, communications ubiquity, machine-to-machine applications and innovative services around the Internet of Things (or IoT).

 

Spectrum and Infrastructure

The enormous growth of mobile communications is highly dependent on capacity and access at the edge of networks.  Spectrum is the primary solution for mobile operators to accommodate wireless data growth at the network edge.  In addition, innovative wireless applications that do not rely on existing mobile networks (e.g., M2M, satellite, location) require spectrum as the foundation for delivering service.   Both of these trends will drive strong demand for additional useable spectrum for the foreseeable future.

At Columbia, we believe there are significant opportunities to identify underutilized frequency bands, repurpose this spectrum for more efficient use and launch innovative wireless services on these frequencies.  This process requires an in-depth understanding of technology, vendor ecosystems, mobile operator networks and regulatory policy.  We have accumulated this expertise through two decades of spectrum acquisitions, including investments in 17 frequency bands around the world.

Given limited spectrum supply, mobile operators are also being forced to add capacity through additional localized infrastructure in the form of small cells, distributed antenna systems (or DAS) and unlicensed networks capable of data offload.  Based on the nature of this data traffic, Columbia has invested in neutral host infrastructure platforms targeted at the key bottleneck points of mobile networks.  As additional services begin to go mobile, Columbia is well positioned to identify additional infrastructure opportunities that support growth in data at the network edge.

Representative Investments

Selected Exits