By Ben Simmons

Business VoIP telephony and Internet provider Gradwell has today announced a significant “4x4” expansion plan — four times larger in four years — supported by a £1.15 million investment from regional equity fund Altitude Partners LLP.

Gradwell was founded in 1998 by Dr Peter Gradwell, whilst studying at the University of Aberystwyth, as a means of offering small businesses his proprietary ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ (VoIP) system. Now based in Bath, Gradwell has a turnover of £5m, a team of 60 and serves 12,000 UK Small Businesses.

The investment from Altitude Partners will enable Gradwell to significantly scale its technology and expand its customer base.

“It is really exciting that after more than 12 years of steady growth we are able to cement our position as a leading supplier of VoIP and broadband to small businesses,” says Peter Gradwell. “The company has grown enormously in the last 12 months (now employing 60 staff); we’ve become a true 24/7 business and now with Altitude Partners on board we have a firm foundation to leap forward and provide the most useful VoIP platform on the market.

“There is a huge opportunity to encourage businesses to follow the consumer lead in adopting VoIP instead of more traditional phone systems. VoIP makes a company’s phone system cheaper and more useful for a business.

“I’m delighted that Altitude Partners has agreed to support this growth with a £1.15 million investment. After a rigorous selection process, we felt that Altitude Partners shared our ambitious vision and would offer the business invaluable advice and support as we continue to expand.”

Simon White of Altitude Partners adds: “Gradwell is one of the most established and innovative businesses operating its own platform in the VoIP telephony market. The company is expanding at a rapid rate as more businesses discover the benefits of using VoIP for their telephony requirements. As an investor in regionally based growing businesses across the South, this investment fits well with our strategy.

“We are pleased to be backing Gradwell’s dynamic team, who have a comprehensive knowledge of this burgeoning industry and a clear vision for the growth of their business.”

Ahead of agreeing the investment with Altitude Partners, Gradwell received Corporate Finance advice from Shaw and Co LLP. Jim Shaw commented:

“We are very pleased to have advised Gradwell on this transaction. The team at Gradwell has established a fantastic platform and the partnership with Altitude Partners will better place the business to take advantage of the opportunity to grow in the expanding VoIP and broadband markets.”

Legal advice was provided to Gradwell by Veale Wasbrough Vizards and to Altitude Partners by Bond Pearce LLP, with due diligence from Francis Clark.

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