DigitalBridge Group (NYSE: DBRG), through its venture capital strategy, known as DigitalBridge Ventures, today announced that it has led a $60m Series C funding round in Celona, Inc., an enterprise networking company. Notably, Celona’s Series C financing represents DigitalBridge Ventures’ inaugural investment, which was made alongside Celona’s existing investors, including NTTVC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, and Cervin Ventures.
Celona’s $60m capital raise will fund the expansion of its global sales, R&D, and channel development to grow its business in enterprise 5G networks. Cumulatively, including the DigitalBridge-led Series C funding round, Celona’s total capital investment to-date amounts to over $100m.
Celona – Overview
Celona was founded in 2019 and is an enterprise networking company seeking to combine LTE/5G cellular wireless services and enterprise IT infrastructure. In November 2020, Celona launched its 5G LAN technology, which allows organizations to deploy, operate, and integrate a 5G cellular network within their existing infrastructure.
In March 2022, Celona partnered with Verizon Business to launch a turn-key private networking solution for enterprises. Together, Celona and Verizon’s joint offering targets use cases including factory automation, distance learning, real-time inventory management, supply chain automation, and digitization of staff experiences in healthcare.
These use cases require deterministic wireless connectivity on private & interference-free cellular spectrum. As such, utilizing solutions like private 5G networks, Celona can deliver fast mobility, low-latency, and high-reliability, such that enterprises can perform these use cases.
Celona leverages the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum band which comprises radio frequencies from 3.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz.
Overall, Celona helps enterprises implement private mobile networks by fully automating the deployment of CBRS and offering a turn-key solution with its hardware and software components.
Market and Customers
Celona operates in the global private LTE/5G infrastructure market. Per IDC forecasts, this market’s overall revenue will grow more than 5x to almost $6bn by 2024.
Celona’s 5G LAN technology serves manufacturers, retailers, hospitals, and schools, amongst others. In terms of implementation, the company works alongside enterprise IT organizations, managed service providers, and mobile network operators to deploy its solutions.
Finally, Celona’s customers include Verizon, NTT Ltd, SBA Communications, St Luke’s Hospital System, Purdue Research Foundation, and California State University (CSU) Stanislaus.
Celona is led by Rajeev Shah as Co-Founder and CEO. Prior to founding Celona, Shah was the VP of product management and marketing for Federated Wireless, which is commercializing CBRS spectrum for 4G and 5G wireless systems.
Additionally, Celona recently appointed Robert Mustarde as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Previously, Mustarde held leadership positions at companies including Versa Networks and Ruckus Wireless.
DigitalBridge Ventures – Overview
DigitalBridge Ventures is led by Alexandre Villela, formerly a Managing Director for Qualcomm Ventures and Intel Capital. At Qualcomm Ventures, Villela led the firm’s $200m 5G investment fund and was involved in the firm’s Series B round of funding for Celona.
DigitalBridge Ventures seeks to invest in late-stage growth companies across the emerging digital infrastructure technology vertical. Further, the strategy supports market share gaining companies alongside other top-tier venture capital investors.
More specifically, DigitalBridge Ventures notes the opportunity to invest in technology that supports the software-defined layer of networks, which is directly adjacent to the physical layer of digital infrastructure.
As disclosed in Q4 2021, DigitalBridge Ventures seeks higher risk and higher return digital infrastructure investments than the firm’s flagship DigitalBridge Partners (DBP) funds and its other strategies, which include Liquid, Core, and Credit.