KORE to acquire Twilio’s IoT business

KORE Group Holdings signed a definitive agreement to acquire Twilio’s IoT business unit as part of its mission to build the world’s first “IoT hyperscaler.” KORE bills itself as the leader in IoT Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS).

Terms were not disclosed, other than Twilio will receive 10 million shares of KORE common stock, which makes them one of the largest shareholders for KORE, representing about 11.5% of KORE’s shares.

KORE went public in 2021 through a transaction with Cerberus Telecom Acquisition Corp, or special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). KORE shares, at $1.36, were trading up about 10% this morning.

“KORE is thrilled to augment our best-in-class IoT CaaS offering with Twilio's IoT talent and customer portfolio,” said KORE President and CEO Romil Bahl in a statement. “This acquisition represents exactly the kind of investment we have said we are willing to make to become an exciting top-line growth company, and specifically, we will benefit from the world-class digital experience and developer community Twilio has built for its IoT business.”

One of the things about Twilio that really wowed the folks at KORE was its digital-first mindset, said Rajesh Gupta, KORE SVP of Customer Experience and Global IoT Managed Services Operations. “The digital community that they have created is just mind-blowing,” he said.

According to a blog by Twilio Head of IoT Taylor Wolfe, Twilio’s IoT business supports millions of devices in the field today through both its connectivity and device builder products. Twilio incubated its IoT portfolio over the last six years, launching its first product, Programmable Wireless, to general availability in 2018, according to Wolfe. It has since launched many other products including the flagship Super SIM.

The combination of KORE’s OmniSIM and Twilio’s Super SIM will go a long way toward solving global connectivity in the IoT space, according to Gupta. He declined to say how many people from Twilio will join KORE.

“Our vision as a company is to be a leading hyperscaler,” he said. “Today, I can say proudly that journey is accelerated.”

In the cloud space, KORE has a solid relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and it recently announced an alliance with Google Cloud to bring IoT capabilities to global businesses, Gupta said.

KORE has partnerships with 44 carriers around the world. A lot of connections were lost due to the shutdown of 3G networks, and Gupta acknowledged that was a setback but dismissed those problems are largely in the rear-view mirror. “The past is behind us as far as 3G is concerned,” he said.

KORE’s strength is rooted in its IoT platform that simplifies global connectivity, according to analysts at LightShed Partners. That’s an advantage over telco competitors who largely attempt to sell applications on their own network. An enterprise can go to KORE and get all their connectivity needs met rather than having to negotiate with multiple carriers.

In a press release, KORE said completion of the Twilio IoT acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including, among other things, the negotiation and execution of certain ancillary agreements.

KORE is scheduled to host its fourth quarter and full year 2022 earnings call at 5 p.m. Eastern time today.