Bangalore-based Sloka Telecom, a broadband wireless access technology firm, has received its first round of venture capital funding from Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund (KITVEN). It has taken six months to close the deal. Sloka had previously raised funding from angel investors. The company will use the additional funds to boost its marketing efforts and strengthen its manufacturing backbone. It will also invest in branding and scaling up its teams.
Founded in 2004 by ex-Sasken telecom professionals Sujai Karampuri and Venkata Subbaiah, Sloka Telecom owns a patent-pending innovation to create lightweight (three kg) and cost-effective base stations. The company currently sources hardware and assembles them in India. Sloka aids in rollouts of broadband wireless access (BWA) services and offers customer premise equipment and a network management system that enables providers to remotely manage and operate a network and backhaul solutions in the 5.8 GHz unlicensed spectrum.
KITVEN is managed by Karnataka Asset Management Company Pvt Ltd, and has contributions from Karnataka State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC), Karnataka State Financial Corporation (KSFC), Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Karnataka Bio-technology & Information Technology Services.
The fund targets investments in IT, telecom, biotechnology and nanotechnology sectors. It has previously invested in Pawaa, a security and data loss prevention suite, and Mitra Biotech Pvt Ltd, which is into cancer research. There are two more telecom investments undergoing due diligence which will be announced in the next three months.
“We search for unique products and receive hundreds of applications every year. Sloka’s product was above par. The company’s management, technology innovations and commitment in providing customers with a new way to simplify fixed WiMAX, mobile WiMAX and 3G LTE rollout are the key success factors. Sloka has proven its leadership position through its vision, customer success and product excellence,” said Jayakumar, CEO of KITVEN.
Sujai Karampuri, co-founder and CEO of Sloka Telecom, was unable to reveal the names of its Indian partners but candidly added, “Operators now have clarity on 3G and BWA, and investments will flow into networks across India.”
Sloka has already partnered with ISPs in Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia, and 50 per cent of its revenues will continue to come from abroad.
However, the company must tie up with more Indian ISPs who own licences and ride the wave of broadband wireless access services, felt Jayakumar. “This is a high technology investment and needs big customer references. So far, internal matters at the service providers’ end have constrained Sloka’s products,” he explained.