Home Finance & Investments ‘Emergency wi-fi’ firm raises further £500k from North East Venture Fund

‘Emergency wi-fi’ firm raises further £500k from North East Venture Fund

Trench Networks - left to right: Jan Oosthuizen, Kevin Latimer, Claire Hollyman, Damien Murphy

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, 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 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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