Startup KodaCloud is officially launching today with the bold claim to be the first vendor offering cloud-based Wi-Fi service to enterprise customers powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
Rebranded from Art2Wave (founded in 2014), Silicon Valley’s KodaCloud has secured a $10 million Series A funding round from Comcast Ventures, Celtic House Venture Partners and Voyager Capital.
The company is targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and hotels, with more than 50 paying customers in the US already signed up (with a total of 500+ access points being managed).
KodaCloud’s service consists of a network of WiFi access points (APs) that are shipped directly to client sites without the need for a customer to buy equipment or work with a partner to manage inventory or shipments.
With the use of a web-based dashboard or smartphone app, KodaCloud claims a SME or hotel customer can install and activate a WiFi business network in minutes with AP-to-cloud activation using existing LAN and Internet networks.
KodaCloud claims to save SMEs and hotels money by removing the need to buy equipment (eliminating capex), software licences and maintenance contracts.
“With us it’s a flat-rate, all opex monthly fee,” said CMO Ronny Haraldsvik. “We want to disrupt the $12 billion enterprise WiFi equipment market with a subscription services fee model.”
KodaCloud is also working with around 100 Managed Service Partners (MSPs) to help bring its offering to market. It claims that on a network of 10 APs, priced at $250 per month to the SME/hotel customer, MSPs can make 50-80 per cent profit margins.
The startup reckons it is tapping into a market (cloud managed WiFi) that analyst firm Dell’Oro pegs at US$1 billion to US$1.3 billion by 2020.
AI powers “self-healing” kit
KodaCloud’s launch today went big on the supposed ‘AI’ element to its offering. In a recent blog, marketing director Nilesh Savkoor wrote that its service uses AI “to learn, adapt and automatically adjust interference parameters in the network we manage, based on learning and real time calculations to compensate for [radio frequency] interference.”
Claiming to remove the need for human intervention, Savkoor noted that the system, “in a matter of seconds or minutes”, also automatically increases or decreases transmit power and/or receive sensitivity based on the results of the calculations — “until the user receives the best RF signal, at which point it locks down the tuning steps and feeds them into the system… The system also increases capacity to all end users as a result of the action.”
CMO Haraldsvik is certainly bullish on KodaCloud’s growth prospects, pointing to 20,000 small-medium sized hotels in the US and 20 million small businesses as proof of the potential business case.
“Our goal is to get to 1,000 customers in a very short time,” he told Mobile World Live. “And we have a very aggressive goal to get to 5,000.”
In addition, Haraldsvik said the company will start to seek a $15 million Series B investment round next month, which will help fund future global expansion for the firm.
Aside from Haraldsvik, other senior management includes CEO Bernard Herscovici (who sold Wi-Fi vendor BelAir Networks to Ericsson in 2012) and CTO Subbu Ponnuswamy (formerly of Aruba, Kiwi Networks and Vivato).