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BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 28, 2022-- DigitalBridge Group, Inc. (NYSE: DBRG) (“DigitalBridge”) today announced that DigitalBridge Ventures, its recently announced venture capital initiative, has led a $60 million Series C funding round in Celona, Inc. (“Celona”), the first enterprise networking company to bridge the gap between LTE/5G cellular wireless and enterprise IT infrastructure.
Founded in 2019, Celona has established itself as a leading innovator in the global private LTE/5G infrastructure market, which is forecast to grow over 5x to almost $6 billion by 20241. In November 2020, Celona launched its fully-integrated 5G LAN platform, purpose-built to help organizations easily deploy, operate and integrate a 5G cellular network within existing infrastructures. Earlier this month, Celona and Verizon Business launched a partnership to provide turn-key private networking solutions that will accelerate enterprise 5G adoption across a wide variety of use cases for Celona’s technology, including factory automation, distance learning, real-time inventory management, and supply chain logistics, among many others.
Celona’s Series C financing round also included participation from all of Celona’s existing investors including NTTVC (Celona’s Series B lead investor), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Cervin Ventures. The new financing brings Celona’s total capital investment to date to over $100 million.
DigitalBridge Ventures’ inaugural investment extends the firm’s investment management platform into high-growth companies across emerging digital infrastructure technologies, a strategic and directly adjacent space that complements DigitalBridge’s heritage as an investor-operator in the physical layer of digital infrastructure. DigitalBridge’s deep domain expertise, market intelligence and broad portfolio provide unique insights and natural strategic opportunities for DigitalBridge Ventures to source, vet, and add value to companies across the emerging digital infrastructure technology vertical. The DigitalBridge Ventures initiative is led by Alexandre Villela, a seasoned venture capitalist with over 25 years of experience investing in and managing businesses in technology and digital infrastructure domains.
“DigitalBridge Ventures provides DigitalBridge with a new avenue to stay at the forefront of digital infrastructure by investing in exceptional, disruptive businesses,” said Marc Ganzi, President and CEO of DigitalBridge. “This is a key component of our plan to enter new growth verticals in 2022 as a full-stack digital infrastructure investor and allows us to bring our capabilities and expertise to the software-defined network of the future.”
Ganzi added, “Celona is a pioneer in the private 5G market, providing an industry-leading solution that will advance the future of enterprise networking by delivering the low-latency, high-reliability solutions enterprises are increasingly demanding. We are excited to launch this new investment strategy, leveraging DigitalBridge’s unique resources to identify and partner with emerging, entrepreneurial leaders across the digital infrastructure technology sector.”
“DigitalBridge’s interest and investment is another strong indicator that 5G technology within the enterprise will transform how organizations do business,” said Rajeev Shah, Co-Founder and CEO of Celona. “With a first mover advantage, a track record of successful execution and the support of world-class investors like DigitalBridge, Celona is uniquely positioned to define and lead the future of private 5G networking.”
Alexandre Villela, Senior Vice President of DigitalBridge Ventures, said, “Digital infrastructure is rapidly evolving to become software-defined, hyper-automated with extensive use of artificial intelligence and truly based on cloud-native technologies and consumption models. At DigitalBridge Ventures, we want to partner with best-of-breed companies like Celona whose deep specialization, scalable business models, and tangible value propositions position them to accelerate innovation across industries.”
About DigitalBridge Ventures
DigitalBridge Ventures is the venture capital initiative launched by DigitalBridge in March 2022. The platform targets emerging digital infrastructure technologies, supporting companies with strong business models in growing markets that complement DigitalBridge’s core strengths. Leveraging DigitalBridge’s deep domain expertise, market intelligence and broad portfolio, DigitalBridge Ventures possesses a unique edge to source, vet and invest in growth-stage companies across the emerging digital infrastructure technology vertical.
Celona accelerates the adoption for business-critical apps in the enterprise by taking advantage of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum. Celona’s solution architecture is designed to automate deployment of cellular wireless by enterprise IT organizations and managed service providers, and drastically simplify its integration with an existing enterprise IT infrastructure. As the provider of the first networking platform for enterprise cellular, Celona’s mission is to take enterprise wireless to where it has not yet been. For more information, please visit celona.io. Follow Celona on Twitter @celonaio.
About Alexandre Villela
Alexandre Villela has 25 years of experience in technology investing and business building. In the last 10 years, Mr. Villela has served as a Managing Director for Intel Capital and Qualcomm Ventures, two of the largest corporate venture capital firms. Mr. Villela has directly led more than 30 transactions with a focus on digital infrastructure domains and led Qualcomm Ventures’ $200 million 5G investment fund. He also previously served as an industry advisor to Advent International. Mr. Villela joined DigitalBridge in 2021 to start the DigitalBridge Ventures initiative.
DigitalBridge (NYSE: DBRG) is a leading global digital infrastructure REIT. With a heritage of over 25 years investing in and operating businesses across the digital ecosystem including cell towers, data centers, fiber, small cells, and edge infrastructure, the DigitalBridge team manages a $45 billion portfolio of digital infrastructure assets on behalf of its limited partners and shareholders. Headquartered in Boca Raton, DigitalBridge has key offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Singapore. For more information, visit: www.digitalbridge.com
Cautionary Statement regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” or “potential” or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases which are predictions of or indicate future events or trends and which do not relate solely to historical matters. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control, and may cause actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Additional information about these and other factors can be found in DigitalBridge’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and its other reports filed from time to time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). All forward-looking statements reflect DigitalBridge’s good faith beliefs, assumptions and expectations, but they are not guarantees of future performance. DigitalBridge cautions investors not to unduly rely on any forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. DigitalBridge is under no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements after the date of this press release, nor to conform prior statements to actual results or revised expectations, and DigitalBridge does not intend to do so.
1IDC WorldWide Private LTE/5G Infrastructure Revenue Snapshot.
Senior Vice President, DigitalBridge Ventures
Managing Director, Head of Public Investor Relations
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
Jon Keehner / Aura Reinhard
Source: DigitalBridge Group, Inc.