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Bharti Airtel acquires 25% stake in tech startup Lavelle Networks

Telecommunications services company Bharti Airtel has announced an agreement to buy a 25 percent stake in Lavelle Networks, a Bengaluru-based enterprise network technology startup. The news comes shortly after Google announced a $1 billion investment in Airtel as part of its Google for India Digitisation Fund.

Bharti Airtel Ltd logo seen displayed on a smartphone

Image Courtesy: Rafael Henrique

Airtel and Lavelle Networks deal is part of the telco’s Airtel Business unit’s targets to address enterprises’ rising connection demands as they transition to the cloud and boost digital adoption. Airtel said in a media statement that the deal is subject to appropriate statutory clearances. The financial details, however, about the deal were not disclosed.

Lavelle Networks focuses on Software-Defined (SD) Wide Area Network (WAN) solutions and services a wide range of industry segments. It is a networking software firm founded in 2015 that provides next-generation cloud-powered technology to secure, optimize, and manage enterprise branch networks. According to the startup, it introduced its product offering in 2016-2017 and has experienced a significant market share in the early adopters of SD-WAN tech in India over the last three years.

Lavelle claims that its flagship “ScaleAOn – SD-WAN” offering has attracted thousands of Indian organizations, including financial institutions and e-commerce networks. As more companies transition to cloud-based applications to service their customers in a digital-first ecosystem, they will need on-demand and stable network connectivity. As a result, there is a spike in demand for software-defined solutions that can handle a cloud-based hybrid IT infrastructure with agility.

Ajay Chitkara, Director & CEO, Airtel Business, said in an official statement, “We are pleased to support Lavelle’s growth journey and excited to collaborate with them to take their world-class solutions to enterprise customers in the fast-growing Indian NaaS market. With our end-to-end solutions play and brand trust, we are uniquely positioned to serve the needs of India’s fast-growing digital economy.”

Airtel Business’ Network as a Service (NaaS) is a digital platform designed to meet the rising connectivity demands of organizations as they progress through the cloud and digital adoption and acceleration route. Airtel will offer software-defined connectivity services from Lavelle Networks as part of its NaaS offering, as well as co-create a handful of innovations as part of its NaaS platform. Airtel Business offers connectivity, cyber security, conferencing, cloud & data centers, Internet of things (IoT), ad-tech, CPaaS (Airtel IQ), among other services to more than one million businesses.

Shyamal Kumar, co-founder & CEO of Lavelle Networks, said, the firm is excited that its product and early market success will now be substantially accelerated by this revolutionary alliance with Airtel.”

Lavelle Networks was recently selected for the Google for Startups Accelerator (GFSA) program, which selects 20 startups from 700 submissions for the sixth cohort. Earlier, in 2017, the startup secured $600,000 in capital from Ideaspring Capital, an early-stage venture fund.

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