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SignalWire, a software-defined telecom that uses distributed infrastructure that runs in the cloud, today announced that it raised $30 million. The company says the funds will be put toward expanding its workforce and supporting product R&D.

Software-defined networking’s origins can be traced back to a 2008 research collaboration between Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. At its core, software-defined networking is a category of technologies that enable automated provisioning and orchestration of network resources. Because of its potential to unify and greatly simplify control of network management, IDC estimates that the market for software-defined networking grew from $960 million in 2014 to more than $8 billion in 2018.

SignalWire, which was founded in 2017, offers an elastic cloud network that lets companies integrate messaging and video capabilities into their apps or infrastructure. SignalWire’s cloud messaging platform supports programmable SMS that can be used to reach customers on their preferred channel, or to embed chat experiences without having to reconfigure network policies.

“SignalWire was born in open-source, our core founding team developed the most widely deployed open-source communications platform in the world, the de-facto standard for software-defined communications products and services, FreeSWITCH,” COO Sean Heiney told VentureBeat via email. “SignalWire was founded to democratize this powerful open-source technology platform via an elastic cloud network and developer-friendly APIs.”

Above: SignalWire’s videoconferencing product, SignalWire Work, supports over 100 participants.

Image Credit: SignalWire

SignalWire’s network of 15 datacenters is designed as a centralized system, with nodes that are containerized, cache-equipped, and optimized to run across public and private cloud providers across the globe. The company says that its network can intelligently route traffic like voice calls to the closest appropriate server, endpoint, or public switched telephone network providers, ostensibly reducing latency and data access times.

“Because our architecture can be run in private data centers on any commodity hardware, it is possible [for companies to] collaborate to extend our real-time telecom network to [a proprietary] network edge for use in industrial, surveillance, or collaborative applications in remote locations not well-served by traditional telecom networks,” SignalWire explains on its website. “Built into our network is a messaging bus that enables nodes to ‘come and go’ — to authenticate securely, announce their presence and metrics, and subscribe to event channels.”

Video and events products

SignalWire sells access to products like SignalWire Stack, the commercial version of the company’s open source FreeSwitch technology that’s in use by Netflix, Amazon, Ring, Comcast, and over 5,000 enterprises. The communications platform offers gateways to popular voice, text, and video chat protocols and features text-to-speech, automatic speech recognition, call recording, voice mail, conferencing, fax, video layouts, video superimposing, screen sharing, and more.

SignalWire Work, a newer service, supports 4K video and over 100 participants as well as AI-based noise cancellation and transcripts. From a workflow perspective, it divides things up into virtual offices with individual rooms that persist in the cloud. SignalWire Work complements SignalWire Events, a virtual venue consisting of one or more rooms or video resources. It allows attendees to walk a hall, pop into sessions, interact with other attendees, and meet in private areas.

In what’s been a boon for 65-employee SignalWire, the pandemic has supercharged video chat usage. A survey by Commercial Integrator found that 83% of businesses with over 250 employees are likely to purchase video calling tools in the near future. Reflecting this interest, the videoconferencing market had an estimated value of $4.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $9.2 billion by 2027, Facts & Figures reports.

For its part, SignalWire reported annual recurring revenue of over $10 million in 2020. It currently has more than 100 customers with roughly 15,000 users.

Samsung Next, Storm Ventures, and other investors participated in SignalWire’s latest round, a series B. It brings the Palo Alto, California-based company’s total raised to over $41 million.


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