Corporate investors shied away from big funding rounds for telecoms startups, with the value of deals down to $2.42bn in 2021 from $5.14bn the year before.

Increased 5G investment would come as a welcome boost for the telecoms sector as corporate investors were cautious about investing in telecoms startups last year. The value of telecoms-related startup deals involving a corporate backer dropped more than 50% last year from $5.14bn in 2020 to $2.42bn for 2021. The number of deals was down only 10% — from 21 to 19 deals, but investors were clearly focused on the small-ticket end of the market.

The biggest deal was the $300m series F fundraise by Plume, a US-based online communication software developer. The SoftBank-led round valued the company at $2.6bn. Founded in 2015, Plume has developed an artificial intelligence-driven platform that helps internet service providers improve their customers’ home wifi connection speed while optimising cybersecurity, access and parental controls and internet-of-things security.

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Kaloyan Andonov

Kaloyan Andonov is head of analytics at Global Corporate Venturing.

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