Summary:

Mavenir Systems makes telecom infrastructure, which isn’t quite as sexy as social media, but nonetheless Mavenir went public the same day as Twitter, raising $55 million to fund its VoLTE technology.

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All eyes Thursday morning were focused on Twitter’s blockbuster IPO, but behind the scenes another tech company made the leap from private ownership to the publicly traded markets. Shares of Mavenir Systems made their debut on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker symbol MVNR.

Mavenir (see disclosure) makes equipment and sofware for mobile carriers that lets them move their legacy voice and SMS services to new LTE networks. It powered MetroPCS’s groundbreaking voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and IP-SMS launch and is working with several other global operators, ranging from Sweden’s Tele2 to T-Mobile in the Czech Republic, to modernize their core communications services.

cell tower illustratedMavenir built its business on 2G and 3G SMS infrastructure last decade, but the company has been staking out its future in enhanced communications services – providing carriers with new features such as mobile video chat and integrated messaging pioneered by over-the-top communications providers. According to Mavenir’s S-1 filing with the SEC, it brought in $73.8 million in revenues, but it recorded a net loss of $15.6 million.

The company priced its shares at $10 last night, well below the $15-$17 range it originally set, and announced it would issue 5.5 million shares, raising $55 million. The stock opened at $11.25, and was trading at around $9.50 midday. The company was backed by Alloy Ventures (see disclosure), Austin Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.

I spoke briefly this morning with Mavenir CEO and President Pardeep Kohli, who downplayed the hype over Twitter (as CNBC pointed out Twitter sucked all of the oxygen out of a room crowded with IPOs this week) and the company’s lowered share pricing. “Our goal all along was funding the company, to establish a foundation for our expansion,” Kohli said. That’s what Mavenir accomplished, Kohli said.

So what’s Mavenir’s next step? It plans to use its funds to expand into Latin America and new Asian markets like China, Kohli said – right now most of its customers are in Europe and North America. Mavenir is in a lot of VoLTE trials with operators, but Kohli expects carriers in Europe and the U.S. to start launching their IP-based voice and messaging services in the next few quarters.

Cell tower image courtesy of Shutterstock user Pavel Ignatov.

Disclosure: Mavenir Systems was backed by Alloy Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in Gigaom. Alloy’s Ammar Hanafi is on the board of both Mavenir and Gigaom.

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