NYC startup nabs $50M to expand Wi-Fi connectivity

Gigstreem customers include SL Green, Vornado

Gigstreem CEO Joel McIntyre (Gigstreem, iStock)
Gigstreem CEO Joel McIntyre (Gigstreem, iStock)

Haven’t had internet issues this year? Lucky you.

For those who have been plagued by problems, a New York City startup focused on large-scale connectivity in commercial and residential buildings hopes to provide a solution.

Gigstreem, founded in 2017, just raised $50 million from Crestline Investors, bringing its total funding to $75 million. The company offers “ubiquitous Wi-Fi,” meaning each building operates as its own network (with private accounts for individuals) instead of having dozens of accounts and hotspots form a patchwork of connectivity.

“We create a singular, seamless network,” said CEO Joel McIntyre.

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The investment will help the company expand from six markets to 15 by the end of the year. Prior backers include RET Ventures and LNC Partners.

According to McIntyre, it costs several hundred thousand dollars to install a block of underground fiber in New York City. Gigstreem’s network, in comparison, is a mesh of fiber and wireless installed on rooftops at a cost of around $7,000 per building. “We’re moving away from the idea that it costs millions to put a network in the ground,” he said.

Gigstreem currently has 200 commercial customers, including major landlords like Related Companies, SL Green and Vornado. It services 5,000 residential units, with contracts to service 35,000 across all of its markets.

Although Gigstreem was growing prior to Covid, the firm benefited from the demand for connectivity that spiked as many people worked and learned from home.

“The digital divide is very real. There are massive numbers of children without access to the Internet at home,” McIntyre said.

In California, Starry Internet and Microsoft partnered to provide free internet in public housing. (Related is an investor in Starry.)