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29 April 2014

International success for hotel communications business

“The company has already grown rapidly and is building a strong reputation not only in the North West, or even the UK, but across the World."


Neil Tolley, managing director of Fourteen IP

Fourteen IP which provides communications solutions for hotels has increased sales by over 80% and grown its international client base, following a £500,000 investment from The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by Enterprise Ventures.

The company provides complex voice and data networks which support telephones, wi-fi and all the other data traffic a modern hotel business requires. In addition to traditional payment methods, Fourteen IP also offers an innovative occupancy-based pricing model, which links costs to hotel occupancy rates.

Fourteen IP was started in 2011 by Neil Tolley and two colleagues who had previously worked together for 14 years. In its first full year of operation, the company posted revenue of £1.2m and delivered projects in hotels nationally and internationally, including sites for the Marriott and Four Seasons chains.

Since receiving the investment, the company has recruited four staff with a further four currently being recruited at its head office in the North West of England, as well as increasing sales by over 80% and growing its client base overseas; winning contracts across Europe, Western Asia and South Africa.

The company has agreements with suppliers including Hewlett Packard, Mitel, Ruckus and Motorola.

Neil Tolley said: "Modern hotels have a real challenge in keeping up with the demands of their guests who carry ever more technology and demand ever more bandwidth. We have worked with HP to provide a unique occupancy-based pricing solution that allows hotels to install the latest networking technology without capital outlay and with a greatly reduced risk.

"Working internationally was something we approached with great care and caution. We've had advice from our local Chamber of Commerce and UKTI about working in different countries, with their varying customs and regulations. There have been challenges and delays with some of the contracts but finance from The North West Fund together with advice from experienced heads has proven to be vital.

"We intend to continue working overseas, while at the same time developing our solutions with our team in the North West. Many of our clients are global, so it was a logical next step for us to look to expand our own business internationally."

Richard Young of Enterprise Ventures, which manages The North West Fund for Venture Capital, said: "Neil and his colleagues are a great example of a management break-out team. Experienced managers are well placed through their relationships within their industry to spot opportunities and become innovators - and when they do start their own business, they can build it very quickly, as the success of Fourteen IP shows. The company has already grown rapidly and is building a strong reputation not only in the North West, or even the UK, but across the World." 

For more information about how you may be able to access funding for your new business please visit http://www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk/funds/venture-capital

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