In the world of startups, you hope one day for an exit. In the case of many at Boingo it's been a long time coming. Pal Christian Gunning has been there since the beginning, from it's days inside an incubator called eCompanies Wireless, the Sky Dayton/Jake Winebaum progeny that was a JV with Sprint in Passadena and has stuck it out, waiting for this day to come.
From it's humble beginning about 11 years ago, I've personally been a fan, paying customer, and was delighted to also serve as their agency for the last three and a half years up through this past February when the graduated to a larger shop. Those three years were the years they turned the company profitable, into a cash generating machine, and was timed perfectly with the arrival of the iPhone and other WIFi enabled smartphones.
Buidling what they built, and doing what they did wasn't easy. The carriers and mobile operators weren't always their friends and some would contend that AT&T today really isn't. That took a lot of convincing to get the mobile folks to let Boingo sell "roaming" access onto their hotspots, as well as to get other smaller, more regional hotspot operators around the globe to sign on. But they did, and now with over 300,000 hotspots, Boingo has the kind of footprint, and the software that's useful for the road warrior who needs access for their laptop.
One of Boingo's key strengths is the airport contracts they hold. Like concessionaires who supply food services and operate boutiques inside the terminals, the spectrum rights inside the airports are key. Managing that, including the multi-carrier DAS systems in many of the airports falls to Boingo, and with more and more 4G coming on board, airports are not the easiest places to get towers errected, or even nearby, so it falls upon Boingo to be the "host" for that inside the airport. Managing that territory and supplying the in building/in facility coverage is really their sweet spot for growth because as more and more people migrate to an always on 4G connection, being able to maintain that becomes crucial to the carriers, and that also means the importance of WiFi handover because WiFi is far cheeper to deploy than 4G/LTE or WiMax, and far more reliable, robust and stable..all you need is more bandwidth, or as we say, Pipe.
Congrats to Dave, Christian and all the rest at Boingo. I always enjoyed the relationship, and never hestiated to be paying for what has been a service that has helped my business grow, allowing me to work just about anywhere. My whole team is happy that we helped get you there to exit, now our 23rd in less than 9 years..just like 22 others with the part we played.