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Updated: June 2, 2021

$12M investment expected to fuel Portland-based VETRO's growth in broadband mapping

digital map Courtesy / VETRO Inc. VETRO maps track complex physical and virtual networks. The need for mapping has grown in sync with growing demand for broadband.

A bucketload of money is arriving in Maine from federal and state funding sources — including at least $100 million through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — to expand broadband access. 

Now a $12 million round of private investment positions a Portland fiber mapping company to capitalize on that expansion.

VETRO Inc. on Wednesday announced the completion of the raise. 

The funding, led by Baltimore-based Resolve Growth Partners with additional investment by Manchester, N.H.’s York IE and others, will give VETRO more opportunity to to expand its software products and to recruit talent in support of the company’s growth, according to a news release.

VETRO, founded in 2016, is the developer of VETRO FiberMap, a cloud-based fiber management software platform used by telecommunication companies to plan, map and manage their fiber optic networks. 

The platform enables people who need fiber network information — from engineers to sales and marketing personnel — to access data remotely, using a web browser.

The new funding will go toward growing VETRO’s capabilities and adoption of its fiber management system among telecoms, operators and state and local broadband stakeholders. 

person smiling
Courtesy / VETRO Inc.
VETRO Inc.’s co-founder and CEO, Will Mitchell, said a recent investment of $12 million in the company will help drive product expansion and talent recruitment.

“In this time of unprecedented investment in broadband infrastructure, we believe there is enormous potential for the disruptive power of the VETRO platform to drive intelligent fiber network management, from strategy to splice,” Will Mitchell, VETRO’s co-founder and CEO, said in the release.

Mitchell and Sean Myers launched the company to meet the needs of an increasing number of small and mid-size internet service providers, municipalities, electric cooperatives and other broadband providers.

VETRO, a C Corporation, now serves hundreds of customers around the world. In 2020, as the need for internet access skyrocketed, the company raised $2.5 million and is now expanding its technical team. 

Amplify the groundwork

“We decided to go for a growth capital raise earlier this year to amplify the groundwork we laid last year and to meet the surging demand in the marketplace,” Mitchell told Mainebiz.

Resolve is a start-up boutique investment firm, he said.

“When we decided to go after this raise, we started talking with investors we knew in Boston and the region,” Mitchell said. “Resolve stepped up. We decided it was a really good match and a good partnership for growth.”

Resolve brings industry expertise and business-to-business vertical scaling experience, he said.

“It was a good match,” he continued. 

After a diligence process lasting a couple of months, the deal closed about two weeks ago.

Going strong

“We’ve been going gangbusters,” Mitchell said. 

VETRO added its 50th employee last week and has five additional hires who will start in the next two weeks. 

“That’s a lot of growth in 2020 and 2021,” he said. “And we’ll continue to hire. We’re looking o fill out a lot of positions the rest of 2021 and 2022.”

The company will look to hire for a few leadership positions at the vice president level, and a lot of technical positions on the product, engineering team, customer service and sales teams, Mitchell said.

“The hiring is across the business,” he said.

Before this recent injection of capital, the company was growing organically through private investment. Public federal and state investment coming into the market “amplifies the growth opportunity,” he continued. 

An example of that opportunity is VETRO’s recent contract with ConnectMaine. In May, VETRO announced it was awarded a significant contract from the ConnectMaine Authority, an agency of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development whose mission is to facilitate the universal availability of broadband across the state.

VETRO will be the platform of record for ConnectMaine to leverage as a central hub for all planning, mapping and infrastructure data.

The state of Maine has set a goal of expanding the availability of broadband to connect 95% of potential subscriber locations by 2025.

Today, VETRO has customers across Maine as well as in 42 states and 23 countries. In the past year, the company doubled its revenue and customer count.

“High-speed internet connectivity is a critical component to participation in today’s world,” said Jit Sinha, Resolve’s co-founder and managing director. “VETRO is redefining how networks are mapped and managed with modern, cloud-based GIS mapping and fiber management software that powers data-driven decision-making to bridge the digital divide.”

Product development

The mapping software is designed to simplify complex fiber networks, with the aim of democratizing users’ ability to create and share data, increase efficiency and transparency of projects, and increase speed to market.  

With the funding, “we will be able to further realize our mission to develop innovative technology that helps bring broadband to the unserved and underserved communities who sorely need it,” said Mitchell. The new funding round will help further that aim by supporting product development. 

“Our platform digitizes the physical layer of the internet,” he said. “What we want to do, in terms of innovating on top of that, is deliver data analysis and automation for the network operators. Once they’ve digitized their assets, we want them to be able to operationalize the map data and use that data for analytics, for integrations and for leasing and sharing of assets.”

Infrastructure intelligence

The company’s software category is commonly called fiber management. But VETRO now characterizes it as “internet infrastructure intelligence.”

“We want to be the digital home of the internet,” Mitchell said.

What does that mean? 

“It means there’s a lot that can be done with data, and mapping data in particular — with knowing what’s out there and who’s close to it and who can be connected,” he said. “That’s the foundation for doing more connections more efficiently and more quickly.”

For example, say a network operating firm wants to know how much capacity it has to reach new customers, or how much it will cost, or how quickly network capacity can be rolled out: “That’s the intelligence part,” said Mitchell.

“We want to make the map drive the business. It’s a sales tool, a planning tool, and an operations tool. Someone’s going to build fiber to most every place in the country over the coming years. They need mapping tools to do so efficiently and effectively. It’s very exciting.”

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