A matter of necessity
2004: three co-workers came up with an idea to save the company they worked for from being closed down, and Wireless Innovation was born. The three friends were directors at a network timing, components and wireless solutions company. The company had a variety of technological verticals, but, as Jeff Martin, former Commercial Director at Wireless Innovation says, “the owner hadn’t cut his cloth and adjusted the shape and size of his company as one of the market verticals decayed.
“Wireless Innovation was born out of necessity.” Jeff and the other directors found themselves in an over-staffed, over-stretched organisation, being threatened with closure from the bank. The three decided a radical solution was called for: the company needed to be split up. They took their idea to the owner and the bank, and with the help of a family friend, who became a fourth shareholder, they completed an MBO, taking the rights from the satellite and wireless division.
The new shareholders left town, owing the bank a lot of money, with just their desks and the belief they could grow their little part of the business into something successful. Ten members of staff, trusting in the new shareholders’ vision, came with them. As Jeff says; “[this] was our most important asset, because they had the knowledge to deliver what we needed to.”
Five years of double-digit growth
Wireless Innovation assisted clients to retrieve data from remote locations to a central site. The company worked at a global level, including enabling equipment on the Antarctic ice shelf to transfer data back to Cambridge for analysis. Jeff likes to describe the company as helping experts in the collection and analysis of the data with the transfer of the data – "the blurry bit in the middle" – that they don’t understand. “We ride in on our white horses and say, ‘well, we’ll take the pain away’.”
For 13 years the shareholders were enjoying their jobs, developing the company into a leading global provider and a recognised pioneer in wireless data communications. The company experienced five years of double-digit growth when the Managing Director dropped the bombshell.