Bessemer’s Bob Goodman has gotten off to a great start for the New Year. Today Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) announced the $475 million purchase of one of his portfolio companies, Intucell. Keep in mind that he struck a Series A investment of $6 million back in early 2011.
It was the only investment in the company. Oh, and Bessemer was the only investor in the deal.
Interestingly enough, the opportunity could have easily slipped through the cracks. “At Bessemer, we take a global approach,” said Bob. “We invest out of a single fund and get input from our partners around the world.”
As for Intucell, it got its start in Israel. A Bessemer partner in the country, Adam Fisher, saw the deal but was not sure if it was a good one. So he showed it to Bob, who is a wireless expert.
“The company had an amazing technology,” he said, “which helped solve big problems for mobile carriers, such as with the data crunch and network congestion.”
Bob had already been looking at the space and saw that there was severe underinvestment. “Back in the 1990s, companies were started with the goal to sell to the carriers and major equipment operators,” he said. “But this went away after the bust.”
Yet with the surge in smartphones and tablets, the market has suddenly become ripe for innovation again.
And Bob thought a key prospect for Intucell was AT&T (NYSE:T), especially in the San Francisco area (yes, drop calls were a huge problem). “Within a couple days,” he said, “we already agreed to do a trial with AT&T. The results were immediate.”
Bob then structured a contract that resulted in an influx of cash. “By generating revenue early-on,” he said, “we had no dilution.”
All in all, the Intucell deal showed how a VC can provide lots of strategic value. Bob had extensive experience working with carriers and knew who to call as well as how to manange the complex process. Without this, it’s a good chance that Intucell’s growth ramp would have been much less stellar.