Cornish Wireless Internet Service Provider Secures £50m Investment
Superfast wireless broadband provider Wildanet has secured £50m investment, which will allow the company to continue to expand its broadband network across Cornish communities and create up to 98 new jobs. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) portfolio company has secured funding from the Gresham House British Strategic Investment Infrastructure Fund LP (BSIF).
Wildanet was established in 2017 by Ian Calvert, with the ambition to establish a high-tech, low-hassle, fast broadband solution for hard-to-reach rural areas which would guarantee broadband speeds. Fast forward three years and the Liskeard-based company can now deliver its service to over 65,000 premises across Cornwall.
Ian Calvert, CEO and Founder of Wildanet commented: “We were really pleased to receive this investment which will enable us to accelerate our expansion plans. This is exciting news for residents and businesses in Cornwall as we’ll be able to provide more of them with access to reliable, fast broadband whilst creating new jobs in the county. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund have helped the company develop to a point where we are ready to accelerate the growth of our network which this new funding will enable.”
Ralph Singleton, Head of Funds Cornwall at The FSE Group adds: “We have been working with Ian and his team for over two years now and have had the pleasure of seeing the business grow and develop during this time. Their technical skill, customer service and branding have all been excellent. We have seen them go from an early-stage business to raising one the largest investments into Cornwall in recent years. This level of private investment alongside the support of CIOSIF demonstrates the work and the opportunities that our funding can go on to create. We look forward to them delivering their expansion plans and are delighted to continue supporting the company through the next stage of their development.”
The £40m CIOSIF provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2million, to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund manager, The FSE Group.
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said: “CIOSIF has been a real catalyst for attracting additional investment into Wildanet and helping the company realise its growth ambitions. We wish Ian and his team all the best in this next stage of their development.”
LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, added: “Over the last two years CIOSIF has invested £1.35m in Wildanet, helping to establish the business as a credible provider in a competitive market and giving other investors confidence. This deal is a terrific achievement and puts the businesses on the cusp of significant further growth.”
CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.