CENX secures $12.5 million in latest financing round

CENX closed a Series D round of financing Tuesday worth $12.5 million, investment the company said will go to accelerating its global market and portfolio expansion.

All of the company’s existing investors – Highland Capital Partners, Mesirow Financial Private Equity Inc., Verizon Ventures, Ericsson, DCM Ventures, and Cross Creek Advisors – participated in the round which also included new investment from BDC Capital, Mistral Venture Partners, and VMware.

BDC Capital’s Ron Warburton said CENX is at the top of the fast-rising Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) market.

“This is a great opportunity to bring Canadian innovation to mobile, wireline, and cloud service providers worldwide,” he said in a statement.

CENX president and CEO Ed Ogonek said the company’s work to date has been validated by the new investors and is looking forward to the market, business and partnership perspectives they will bring to the table.

“I think with BDC and Mistral Ventures, they are both very strong Canadian venture capitalists that bring a strong network of other entrepreneurs and good successful business approaches with them so very excited to be working with both of them, and then VMware is one of the leading vendors in virtualization infrastructure across every industry sector,” Mr. Ogonek said.

Mr. Ogonek said with two successful North American deployments of its Cortx service orchestrator, CENX is turning its attention to international markets. He said the company’s international growth has been “encouraging” so far.

“We closed our first customers in Europe and in Asia-PAC and expect to have a couple other very large deals close later this year,” he said.

The investment will help CENX quickly deal with emerging requirements for LSO for service providers evolving to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies.

The LSO market is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2019, according to The Rayno Report, a website that covers innovation and investment in what it calls “the connected world.” It says this growth is fueled by the SDN and NFV markets, which are growing by 50 to 80 per cent each year.

CENX has teamed with Telus in the recently announced first cohort of CENGN partnerships, working on NFV service orchestration for assured cloud connectivity. Mr. Ogonek said the opportunity was “a very good one” and that he would be able to talk more about the specifics of the partnership this fall.

Accelerating the business growth also means hiring more staff, Mr. Ogonek said. In February, he told OBJ he expected the company’s headcount to jump from 120 to 180 in 2015. Today, it already sits at 170, and Mr. Ogonek said he now expects to exceed the 180 target by the end of December.