Connectivity Business Investment Conference | 2018

Conference photos

This interdisciplinary conference addressed the critical financial and business issues impacting the global connectivity industry and explored opportunities in the private and public equity and debt capital markets for investment in this fast-growing sector.

Areas of discussion included vertical market applications that are built on connecting people and devices to the internet through terrestrial telecommunications / 5G networks, sub-sea and land-based fiber networks, small cells / tower infrastructure, suborbital balloons and drones, and next-generation satellite constellations.  With active participation from the conference attendees, this forum produced unique insights on the opportunities and challenges investors will face as they look for an appropriate return on invested capital from the connectivity industry.

Tuesday 19 June, 2018

1:00pm – 1:15pm
Check-in & Coffee Service

1:15pm – 1:30pm
WELCOME: William Jefferson Black, Investment Conference Chair
Managing Director of 
Finance Information Group and Publisher of SatelliteFinanceTransaction Advisors, and Connectivity Business

Connecting everyone and every device to the internet is an ambitious pursuit.  There will be big investment gains and big losses along the way.  Investors see opportunities in 5G, IoT, and broadband constellations that embrace new technologies and approaches.  But it’s not yet clear where the best risk-adjusted returns can be found.  This is the debate.

This conference explored a range of vertical markets, from mobility on land, at sea, and in the air to the provision of broadband connectivity.  We discussed the tension between terrestrial and satellite platforms and, ultimately, we advanced the investment community’s understanding of factors that will shape this industry in the next five years.

1:30pm – 2:20pm
BALANCE SHEETS: Where private capital is being invested
This session looked at venture capital, private equity, economic development funding, and corporate venture capital investments in the connectivity industry.  The discussion explored the current appetite for funding IoT applications, 5G technologies, small sats, high-altitude platforms, LEO constellations, and other communications infrastructure.  The discussion included a review of the key terms that may be associated with private debt placements and considered the outlook for changes in the overall private capital environment.
Steven Sonnenstein, Managing Director, Digital Colony Partners, Digital Bridge Holdings
Matt O’Connell, Partner, Seraphim Capital
Hugo Wagner, Principal, New Space, Orange Silicon Valley
William Jefferson Black
Publisher of SatelliteFinanceTransaction Advisors, and Connectivity Business 


2:35pm – 3:10pm
Kristina Serafim, Director, Verizon Ventures (NYSE: VZ)
Verizon Ventures is a corporate venture investment group that is developing direct and co-investment relationships with compelling technology companies that are advancing the connected society, from devices and content, to commerce, data and the cloud.

3:10pm – 4:00pm
BUSINESS PLANS:The outlook for fleet connectivity
This discussion looked at the mobility market and its various sub-segments and offered perspective on near-term and long-term growth rates. This session largely focused on the reasons growth may be higher or lower in the coming years by looking at the specific demand drivers and cost basis associated with mobility market segments including; aviation, maritime, and ground transportation.

Greg Ewert, President, Connected Car & Intelligent Transport Systems, Globalstar
Azad BadakhshManaging Director, Moelis & Company
Aaron Shourie, Esq., Special Counsel, Sheppard Mullin


4:15pm – 5:00pm

Matt Desch, Chief Executive Officer & Director, Iridium Communications (NASDAQ: IRDM)
Iridium is one of the most exciting mobile voice and data communications companies.  Long known for operating the world’s furthest reaching telecommunications network, Iridium is nearing the final deployment stages for the NEXT constellation, which will deliver a range of high-capacity mobile broadband applications on land, at sea, and in the air.
Interviewed by Steve Kaufman, Esq., Partner, Hogan Lovells


6:00pm – 8:00pm
Reception & Dinner
Columbia Yacht Club

Featuring TR Elliott, a producer of small lots of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley, located in the heart of Sonoma County, California.

Wednesday 20 June, 2018

9:30am – 9:45am
Coffee Service and Opening Remarks: William Jefferson Black

9:45am – 10:45 am
BALANCE SHEETS: Understanding positive and negative sentiment in the equity and debt capital markets
This session considered both the opportunities and challenges issuers face in the public equity and debt capital markets, considered diverging strategies for investment v. cost cutting and capital preservation, and discussed the outlook for a contraction in global equity and debt markets.  Particular focus was given to the basis for negative sentiment in the capital markets, the direction the market may take if visibility and earnings improve, and the manner in which investments will likely be considered in future periods.

Tom Minichiello, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer & Secretary, Westell Technologies (NASDAQ: WSTL)
Vaibhav Lohiya, Director, TMT Investment Banking, Deutsche Bank
Chris Moon, Managing Director, Head of Telecom & Media Finance, ING Bank
William Jefferson Black
Publisher of SatelliteFinanceTransaction Advisors, and Connectivity Business


11:00am – 12:00pm
Will shifting spectrum and cost dynamics materially change the industry?
This session dove into the industry’s cost structure and looked at opportunities for margin enhancement, or erosion, in the near term and during the next capital investment cycle. The discussion considered opportunities for driving down operating cost structures including spectrum pricing and licensing, small cell deployments costs, orbital launch, and creative infrastructure sharing approaches.
Hank Zbierski,  Founder and CEO, IsoTropic Networks
Matt Kolpin, Director, Corporate Development, TDS ( NYSE: TDS )
Mark Brady,  Managing Partner, Clarke Belt 2.0
Saumil ParikhTransaction Advisory Services, EY 


12:00pm – 12:50pm

12:50pm – 1:30pm
Steven Pickett
Chief Executive Officer, RigNet (NASDAQ: RNET)
RigNet is a leading global provider of connectivity services for remote locations, including energy facilities and maritime vessels.  Since being named CEO two years ago, Steve Pickett has led RigNet through three acquisitions and positioned the company to provide a range of communication services and advanced applications including video conferencing, crew welfare, asset monitoring, data services, and cybersecurity.
Interviewed by Joseph Radecki, Managing Director, KPMG


1:45pm – 2:45pm
BUSINESS PLANS: The outlook for wireless broadband and 5G connectivity
This session considered the investment theses for terrestrial and orbital broadband connectivity in various sub-segments of the industry including; fiber infrastructure, data centers, OTT delivery platforms / apps, and adjacent opportunities including content distribution and customer data sets.  This session debated the metrics investors should be tracking to monitor small cell and tower penetration, the development of LEO constellations, and the advancements in antenna and relay technology, compression technology, and high capacity data centers.
Paul Posner, Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Carnegie Technologies
Bruce Chesley, Senior Director, Strategy, The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA)
Dave Rehbehn, Vice President, International Division – Hughes, an EchoStar Company (NASDAQ: SATS)
Enda Hardiman
Managing Partner, Hardiman Telecommunications
Brian Weimer, Esq., Partner, Sheppard Mullin


3:00pm – 3:40pm
David Neumann, Chief Executive Officer, PCTEL (Nasdaq: PCTI) 
PCTEL is a leading global supplier of precision antennas for small cells, enterprise Wi-Fi access points, fleet management and transit systems, and in equipment and devices for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The company also provides wireless network test and measurement tools, with a focus on LTE, public safety, and emerging 5G technologies.

3:55pm – 4:55pm
TERM SHEETS: Shifting M&A dynamics and the outlook for consolidation
This discussion looked at recent M&A activity, reviewed the basis for past and future consolidation, and debated the characteristics that may shape deal activity in upcoming quarters. This session considered valuation trends and changes in the cost of capital, take-over premiums, the environment for antitrust / competition reviews, and looked at the methods in which M&A may advance opportunities for software-driven value creation and vertical application growth in 5G, mobility, content, wireless broadband, and other connectivity markets.
Nic Volpi, Partner, Permira Advisers
Adam Boscoe, Corporate Development, Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB)

Michelle Kley, Esq., SVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Maxar Technologies (NYSE: MAXR)
Jason Tofsky, Managing Director, TMT, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Dara Panahy, Esq., Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy


4:55pm – 5:00pm
Closing remarks

This conference was designed for institutional investors, venture capital firms, private equity investors, commercial bankers, economic development bankers, investment bankers, equity analysts, entrepreneurs, board members, chief executive officers, heads of strategy and corporate development, chief financial officers, general counsel, and senior corporate executives with responsibility for financing, M&A, and strategy.