The Kirkland broadband provider plans to use the added funding to continue building out its fiber-optic network along the West Coast. It says it is already expanding that network by 100 miles a month.
When broadband operator Wave launched nearly 15 years ago, CEO Steve Weed thought it would mostly serve residential customers in the “fringe suburbs” — places on the Olympic Peninsula and in Skagit County.
Now, in the latest of a string of funding events, the company has raised $125 million in debt financing to expand its fiber-broadband network, which brings gigabit internet speeds mainly to businesses.
Kirkland-based Wave has been growing like a weed in recent years — this newest bank loan follows a $130 million funding round last year and a $1 billion investment and refinancing in 2012. The company is profitable, Weed said this week, but the extra money is helping Wave keep its pace of building 100 miles of fiber network each month.
“Customer demand is greater than our own ability to fund expansion with our free cash,” Weed said.
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Wave, which has 1,300 employees overall, including about 430 in Kirkland, operates its network along the West Coast, from San Francisco to the Canadian border. It has 5,500 miles of fiber and 460,000 customers across all its services.
Part of Wave’s growth has come from its aggressive acquisition strategy; the company has bought 20 smaller companies in the past 15 years.
Two new acquisitions were announced Wednesday: Newport, Ore.-based CoastCom and Vancouver, Wash.-based SawNet. The small companies have their own local fiber networks, which Wave will take over to speed its expansion.
Wave’s commercial business, which brings gigabit speeds straight to company doors, is its fastest-growing segment. The company also provides residential services, mostly to multifamily buildings and especially those near businesses.
Wave isn’t ready to think beyond the West Coast. It still has tens of thousands of miles to go before it hooks up the majority of businesses in the region, Weed said.
Wave’s latest funding comes from an add-on to an existing bank loan. The company is majority owned by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital.
The broadband operator recently cemented its presence in Kirkland by signing on to anchor an office tower under construction at the Kirkland Urban project, which will replace the Parkplace complex.