Morgan Stanley India Infra invests $21 mn in connectivity solutions co iBus

Photo: Bloomberg
Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure has acquired a stake in iBus Networks for $21 million (around Rs 150 crore).

iBus offers in-building wireless solutions, outdoor small cells and other last-mile connectivity solutions to mobile operators to enable them to serve their customers seamlessly. With Covid forcing professionals and companies to adopt to WFH, the demand for robust in-building connectivity has increased manifold. The need for low latency, high-speed internet is being demanded be it for running schools and colleges online or WFH, e-comm, online transactions and remote health monitoring has never been felt so urgently before.

iBus, through its coverage of 277 million sq ft across top 10 cities, serves approx four million customers. The company currently deploys its infrastructure across 233 commercial, residential and retail sites across the country.

The funds raised will be used for business expansion plans, support working capital requirements to scale the indoor wireless coverage to 400 million sq ft in the next few years to cover 7 million people. With a track record of 100 per cent profitable growth YoY over the last foure years with area additions to its portfolio which covers over 500 million sq ft over 750+ premium projects, iBus is now keen to blend & offer even more convenience to do digital business continuity by working towards integrating New Technology such as 5G , ORAN , FTTH , IoT , BMS within the In-Building Space, said the company.

Ram Sellaratnam, Sunil Menon and Subash Vasudevan, Co-Founders of iBus, said, “We at iBus welcome Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure as an equity partner for the strength of experience in helping companies build scale. Connectivity is fundamental to large developing digital economies like India and our mission is to build an end-to-end intelligent, scalable and convergent connectivity ecosystem. Distributed Antenna Systems such as In-Building solutions have been fragmented and silo-ed for a long time. With this investment, iBus will build scale and eliminate inefficiencies to fast track the essential digitalization of our economy”.

Cipher-Plexus Capital Advisor was the exclusive advisor for the transaction.

The company’s business model is intricately linked to India’s data consumption and digital infrastructure story, said the company in the statement. India’s per capita data consumption is the highest globally with an average monthly data consumption of 11GB per month compared to only 1 GB per month as recently as March 2017. Almost 80 per cent of data consumption takes place indoors where telecom coverage is least adequate and the growth in mobile data consumption and the transition to 4G / 5G requires densification of indoor telecom networks.

“We are excited to partner with a management team that is establishing itself as the in-building solutions partner of choice for telecom operators.  Our investment will allow iBus to drive consolidation and scale in a fragmented industry while enhancing the mobile user experience”, said Raja Parthasarathy, Managing Director and Co-Head of Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure.

Founded in 2013 by three first-generation entrepreneurs, iBus previously raised capital from a number of well-known investors and family offices.


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