‘Emergency wi-fi’ firm raises further £500k
A fast-growing company that delivers high-speed internet connectivity to sites that lack the usual infrastructure has secured a further £500,000 investment from the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia.
Trench Networks’ innovative device, Outpost, aggregates connections from all the major mobile networks and combines them to provide a reliable internet service. The business, which started out by supplying construction sites, has recently launched a ‘Wi-Fi SOS’ service for businesses suffering wi-fi outages or moving to sites which lack connectivity.
The latest funding will enable it to take advantage of growing demand for its services and expand its team. The company, which is based in Cramlington, Northumberland has already appointed Damien Murphy as the new Chief Operations Officer and expects to create a further five new jobs for sales, marketing and technical staff in the next 12 months.
The latest funding round is the fourth by the NEVF and brings the total raised by the company to date to £1m.
Trench Networks was set up in 2015 by Kevin Latimer, who had a background in construction IT, and his business partner Claire Hollyman. It now employs eight people and serves clients including Bowmer & Kirkland, Esh Group, Glencar Construction and flooring company Connection Retail.
Its Outpost device is used on a number of high-profile construction projects including the new £800m NOMA neighbourhood in Manchester and the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in Oxfordshire. The business has more than doubled its revenue in the past 12 months despite multiple lockdowns.
Claire Hollyman, the company’s co-founder and Chief Customer Officer, said:
”This is an exciting time for us. We already provide connectivity to some of the UK’s biggest construction firms and the switch to remote working has created increased demand from businesses of all types. The backing from Mercia and the NEVF has enabled us to develop the company to this point. This latest funding will allow us to continue enhancing our Outpost product and support the next stage of our growth.”
Jan Oosthuizen of Mercia Asset Management said:
“Trench Networks has made great progress since our first investment two years ago. Its award-winning technology and rapid deployment times have enabled it to build a strong track record in the construction industry. As businesses of all types become increasingly dependent on internet connections, this latest funding will allow it to take advantage of opportunities in other sectors.”
Muckle LLP provided legal advice to Mercia on the investment in Trench Networks while Ward Hadaway advised the company.
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Mercia Asset Management PLC
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About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£800million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £96million into its direct investment portfolio. Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”.
The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
About The North East Fund
The North East Fund is a suite five venture capital and loan funds which was established in April 2018, to invest £120m in around 600 North East businesses in the period to March 2023. The fund managers provide business development advice and investment finance to small and medium sized enterprises based in the seven Local Authority areas of North East England: Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tyneside, Gateshead Sunderland and County Durham. The programme encourages investment in and the commercialisation of new technologies, including low carbon technologies, as well as stimulating new business creation, private investment and entrepreneurialism in the North East, with a view to creating over 2,500 new jobs. The North East Fund has overall responsibility for the programme, which is delivered through five separate funds, each managed by independent, FCA regulated fund managers. Details of these, and up to date information on the progress of the programme, is available on The North East Fund’s website: www.northeastfund.org
The North East Fund has been established with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds. It is jointly owned by the seven North East local authorities
About the European Regional Development Fund
The North East Fund will receive up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend up to £60,000,000 to the North East Fund programme. The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. For more information, visit: http://www.eib.org/about/index.htm