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Broadband firm secures £300k from North East Venture Fund

17 January 2019

Pictured from the left are Jan Oosthuizen of Mercia, Claire Hollyman and Kevin Latimer of Trench, Robert Cooper of UNW and Trench chairman Keverne Watt.

A Northumberland business which has found a new way to deliver superfast broadband to remote sites has secured a £300,000 investment from the North East Venture Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Fund Managers.

Trench Networks, which is based in Blyth, has developed a device which aggregates mobile phone signals from all major networks and combines them to achieve superfast broadband speeds. Its product, Outpost, was designed with construction firms in mind, which often work on outlying sites with no existing infrastructure.

Outpost provides instant access to internet and mobile communications without the need to dig cables or use dongles. Trench Networks rents devices to construction firms including Esh Group, Metnor Construction and Ascent Homes, however they have also been used by holiday parks, businesses which are relocating, and even for offsite broadcasting for a BBC programme.

The funding will be used to purchase parts to create more devices and to build its senior management team. As part of the deal, serial entrepreneur and company director Keverne Watt, the former Managing Director of North Shields packaging firm Jaycare, has been appointed as the company’s Chairman.

Trench Networks was set up in 2016 by Kevin Latimer, who had previously spent 15 years leading IT at Tolent Construction in Gateshead, and his business partner Claire Hollyman.

Claire, the company’s Operations Director, said:
”We welcome this investment, which will enable us to carry out our ambitious growth plans, creating new jobs while continuing to innovate within our core construction market and diversifying our multi award winning site Wi-Fi service to other sectors. The backing from Mercia will bring experience, knowledge and fresh impetus as we push forward with exciting new developments in 2019 and beyond.”

Jan Oosthuizen of Mercia Fund Managers said:
“Trench Networks has developed an innovative product that solves a real problem for remote connectivity. We’re excited to be working with the team and look forward to supporting them to achieve their ambition.”

Muckle LLP provided legal advice to Mercia on the investment in Trench Networks while Ward Hadaway advised the company. Robert Cooper from UNW provided fundraising advice to the company.

The North East Venture Fund can invest up to £1.0million for firms in Northumberland, Durham and Tyne & Wear, particularly those which are engaged in innovation or developing disruptive business models. Funding is available to all companies with high growth potential and also pre-start up enterprises.

© Mercia Technologies 2019

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