WANRack positions its fiber growth path with Grain Management partnership

merger and acquisition
Grain Management has acquired a big piece of emerging fiber provider WANRack to support its investment around mobile data growth and broadband infrastructure. (Image: istocksdaily)

Grain Management has acquired a controlling interest in WANRack, an emerging private fiber optic WAN solution provider for K-12 school districts, illustrating the growing interest venture capitalist firms have in fiber providers.

WANRack said that the capital from Grain Management’s investment will enable the service provider to advance its growth in the private fiber wide area network market.

The service provider, which was founded by former Unite Private Networks alum Rob Oyler, builds private fiber networks from scratch, using the company’s experience in construction management, engineering, permitting, right-of-way expertise and the federal E-Rate program.

RELATED: WANRack to build 10G fiber network for northern Colorado school district

Oyler told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that Grain Management will give WANRack ​additional “capital, sector expertise/knowledge, analytics, and regulatory expertise.”

While he would lay out any specific plans, the VC firm will enable WANRack to expand its network via its own builds or by buying other fiber-centric providers.

“With the access to additional capital it will enable us to continue our explosive growth ​in the fiber infrastructure space via organic growth and acquisitions,” Oyler said.

Like other VC firms like EQT, which acquired Lumos Networks last year, the Grain Management investment team has experience as industry operators and private equity professionals in the communications sector. Grain Management’s investment strategy is focused on supporting companies that provide bandwidth for mobile data traffic and investing in broadband infrastructure.

“We see tremendous opportunity in the fiber space and are excited to help drive the company’s continued success,” said David Grain, CEO and managing director of Grain Management, in a release.

With the dawn of new online content companies and ongoing upticks in mobile traffic, the past year has seen consolidation of not only large fiber providers like CenturyLink and Level 3, but a host of regional provider consolidation. For example, Conterra purchased Network USA while Zayo struck a deal to acquire Neutral Path.