Startup Cloud4Wi To Invest New $11.5M Funding In Channel And Cisco Meraki Presence

Wi-Fi services startup Cloud4Wi has nabbed $11.5 million in a Series B financing round with plans to spend the funds on channel development and marketing, reducing costs for partners and boosting its Cisco Meraki footprint.

"Part of the funds will be used to streamline the solution, give very attractive price points for our larger partners and help them on marketing activities," said Andrea Calcagno, CEO and co-founder of Cloud4Wi, in an interview with CRN. "We are going to support some special events for partners like from Presidio or World Wide Technology. We will invest in partners who we want to accelerate their presence around value-added services."

Calcagno said he also plans to boost Cloud4Wi's presence in "our large Cisco Meraki customers," especially in retail, which is one of the startup's key verticals.

[Related: Emerging Vendors 2017: Networking And VoIP Startups You Need To Know]

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"Cisco Meraki is winning the game, so we see a large opportunity there," said Calcagno. "The strategy is we build a frictionless process where they can consume our solution confidently as part of their Cisco or Cisco Meraki offer. … We are building a bundle offering to deliver Cisco plus Cloud4Wi, or Cisco Meraki plus Cloud4Wi. We are also working close with the Cisco Spark team to develop some use cases."

Cloud4Wi, who was recently named on CRN's recent Emerging Vendors 2017: Networking And VoIP Startups You Need To Know, joined the Cisco Solution Partner Program as a Solution Partner earlier this year.

The San Francisco-based networking startup's flagship offer is Volare, a location analytics and marketing services platform designed for understanding and engaging mobile users. Customers, which include Olive Garden, Prada Group and Burger King, can use the software platform with existing wireless networks to collect data about customers and their on-premises behavior to improve customer experience.

For partners looking to enhance proximity and location information services, Cloud4Wi owns a wireless UCS module dubbed Volare Sensor.

"There's an evolution in the channel for all resellers and system integrations," said Calcagno. "They are evolving to this service-centric approach – analytics as a service, marketing as a service – so we want to clarify better our positioning in the channel given our own unique proposition that partners can easily upsell and make good margin on."

In August 2016, the San Francisco-based startup launched its new Volare Partner Program targeting large enterprise opportunities.

The startup also providers partners with a portal for custom development and web applications. Cloud4Wi will use part of the $11.5 million to reduce the price-point for application development training, according to Calcagno.

"It's clear in the network now there's a new tsunami on the application layer. Partners are moving more to the application side. So we're a huge benefit for them," said Calcagno.

Additionally, some of the funding will be used to boost expand its machine learning expertise.

The Series B funding round was led by Opus Capital and United Ventures. Gill Cogan, a general partner at Opus, has joined Cloud4Wi's Board of Directors.