Pivotal Commware raises 50 million USD for 5G products

By Alan Boyle on Feb 11, 2021 | Original Geekwire article here.


Pivotal Commware’s Pivot 5G outdoor network repeaters can give a millimeter-wave boost to 5G wireless communications.

Kirkland, Wash.-based Pivotal Commware says it has closed on a $50 million funding round, with backing from Bill Gates that will help it expand research, development and distribution for its millimeter-wave 5G network infrastructure products.

Tracker Capital Management, a venture capital investment firm that’s headquartered in New York, led the Series C investment round. Other participants in the financing include Devonshire Investors and Pivotal’s existing investors — including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Gates has been investing in Pivotal since 2017, not long after it was spun out from Intellectual Ventures. It’s one of several Gates-backed ventures that make use of metamaterials, an exotic breed of electronics that can channel signals without moving parts.

Pivotal calls its metamaterials-based technology “holographic beam forming.” The technology is used primarily to support ultra-wideband 5G communications.

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Wireless network providers can use Pivotal’s Pivot 5G outdoor repeaters to beef up service in hard-to-reach corners of their service areas, and can provide subscribers with puck-shaped Echo 5G indoor repeaters for an in-home boost.

Pivotal’s product ecosystem also includes WaveScape, a network modeling tool; and a platform for remote network management and optimization known as the Intelligent Beam Management System, or IBMS.

Verizon is Pivotal’s best-known customerand an investor as well.

Pivotal CEO Brian Deutsch said today in a news release:

“As the telecom industry evolves globally, we believe that Pivotal is at the forefront of the next wave of telecom infrastructure providers. For 5G, ultra-wideband mmWave is the real game changer, and Pivotal has built the complete solution for rapid, cost-effective deployment of these high-value networks.”

Previous funding rounds for Pivotal include the $17 million Series A equity round in 2017, plus a $22 million Series B round in 2018 and a $10 million convertible-debt financing round in 2019. Pivotal says that the bridge note was converted for the Series C round, and that total funding to date amounts to about $90 million. Pivotal currently has 100 employees.

The newly raised capital will be used for the expansion of product support, distribution and R&D associated with its millimeter-wave ecosystem, and for extending the company’s products and services into mid-band frequencies including C-band, CBRS and Band n53.

“This capital will allow Pivotal to become a significant 5G telecom infrastructure provider on a global stage,” said Chris Brandon, Pivotal’s chief operating officer.

In conjunction with the investment round, Shaygan Kheradpir will join Pivotal’s board of directors. Kheradpir is a senior adviser to Tracker Capital who formerly served as chief information officer for Verizon, chief operating officer for Barclays Bank Group, and held CEO roles at Coriant and Juniper Networks.