CENX gets $9.5M investment from Verizon and Mesirow Financial

CENX, one of the early Ethernet exchange providers, has added $9.5 million to its coffers with a new investment led by both Verizon Investments (NYSE: VZ) and Mesirow Financial Private Equity.

In addition to Verizon and Mesirow, current CENX investors DCM, Highland Capital Partners, and Wasatch participated in the latest round.

The Ethernet exchange provider will use the funding to support its growing customer base of Tier 1 wireless and wireline service provider customers via "increased system, engineering and support resources."

"We have been working with Verizon on the wholesale side, and we have become involved in additional projects that have not been announced yet," said Nan Chen, President and founder of CENX, in an interview with FierceTelecom.

Besides physical interconnection, the main challenge for service providers in purchasing off-net Ethernet access to serve their multi-site business customers comes lies in the back office. To address these issues, CENX provides two essential elements to its exchange participants: one is the physical connectivity points and the other is the OSS integration associated with that.

"In the end we have seen our software part of that play a bigger role," Chen said. "The interconnect part is not that difficult, but the software part is challenging because when service providers migrate from TDM interconnect into an Ethernet interconnect one of the largest challenges is the operational challenge or how the systems of different OSSs can integrate with different carriers."

The Ethernet exchange will serve two primary applications: the migration to Ethernet-based mobile backhaul and purchasing off-net Ethernet circuits for large customers that have presence outside of a service provider's traditional network territory.

With off-net access, Chen said that its ongoing focus on software-based systems will help service providers, all of which have their own OSS systems in place, deliver a consistent customer experience.

"When people talk about interconnect, people always thought of the physical plug in," Chen said. "In this particular situation, we are really talking not only about the interconnection from the systems perspective, but also for helping the order, design, configuring, provisioning, turn up, testing, and ongoing monitoring processes of the Ethernet circuit."

Verizon and CENX are hardly strangers. Last year, the telco established an agreement to be part of the company's Ethernet exchange as a way to expand its Ethernet presence in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

For more:
- see the release

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