femtocell manufactures have raised approximately $270M from various VCs and strategic investors over the last 2 years. This list was compiled using Crunch Base numbers as well as news articles. My biggest concern for these companies is the lack of consumer awareness that the companies and their products have in the marketplace. How many consumers have heard of any of these companies below discussed in the media or know what a femtocell is? The answer is virtually zero.
- Airvana: $83 million (AIRV) IPO and now going private for $530M purchased by 72 Mobile Holdings, S.A.C. Capital and Blackstone Group
- Vanu: $32 million Norwest, Charles River, Tata
- PicoChip: $31 million AT&T, Intel, Highland, Atlas, Samsung
- RadioFrame: $28 million Eastven, Vantage Point, Ignition, Samsung
- Tatara: $26 million Highland, North Bridge
- Ubiquisys: $25 million from Accel, Atlas and Google & T-Ventures
- Kineto: $15.5 million round from Venrock, SutterHill, Oak, Motorola & NEC
- Percello: $12 million Granite, T-Venture, Vertex
- AirWalk: $10 million TL Ventures, Seven Rosen, Nedelco
- ip.access: $10 million Scottish Equity, ADC, Cisco, Qualcomm
For the last two years I have noticed a pattern of frustration from executives at these companies who vent their frustration having to sell their femtocells through the carrier channels. It troubles me that all of these companies continue rely on incompetent marketers (the carriers) to sell their products and educate consumers that they exist. Cannibalization of your customers marketing just might be the only way to get ahead in business. I strongly suggesting that each of these companies will need to "steal a page from the Google Nexus One Phone" and start doing some demand side research of who needs the product and where. Its obvious that the carriers have very little financial incentive to push femtocells to their customers for fear of cannibalizing their existing businesses. Yes I am suggesting that femtocell marketing executives start thinking like Cannibal Lecter in order to make their companies successful. Sometimes cannibalization of your own customers is the only way to succeed and rise about the crowd.