A group of former Bristol-based mobile tech pioneers have chosen the city as the first overseas base for the US firm where they now work.
The bosses are setting up an office for Chicago-based software developer Velocent Systems, which works with some of the world’s most dynamic mobile networks, at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. The move will allow the fast-growing firm to tap into the area’s reputation as a forward-looking tech centre and leading hub for mobile technology
For the pioneering firm’s chairman and CEO, it will be a return to the city that proved fertile ground for their previous business. Paul Magelli and Ian Herbert-Jones were co-founders in 2002 of Bristol-based global mobile telecommunications infrastructure innovator Apertio – which became one of the city’s most successful tech companies.
The pair launched Apertio with around £500,000 of seed capital, building it into one of the world’s leading suppliers to fast-growing mobile networks such as Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
Apertio was bought by mobile handset giant Nokia Siemens Networks for £100m in 2008 by which time it employed 180 people in Bristol and a string of offices around the world, including Chicago.
Paul joined Velocent as chairman in December 2011, having left Nokia Siemens Networks the previous September. Ian joined Velocent as senior vice president for worldwide sales and marketing last year and was appointed CEO this March.
The company works with mobile network providers such as Slovenian group Si.Mobil to ensure customers’ experience of mobile broadband data. Using ground-breaking technology, Velocent identifies any network problems that may be affecting the customer experience and advises mobile operators on how to resolve the issues. As more people use their mobile devices to exchange data, images and video, ensuring the network’s effectiveness is becoming vital to operators.
Velocent gives its customers real-time data, reports and alerts distilled from the ever-growing amount of subscriber, service and network data.
Velocent is opening its office with eight people, including another former Apertio boss Stephen Douglas, now Velocent’s vice-president solutions, and hopes to employ around 20 by the end of the year.
Velocent vice president of marketing and product line management, Jagadeesh Dantuluri, said: “We want to get closer to our UK clients and the Bristol and Bath region was the obvious choice for our new office because it is a hub for highly-skilled software engineering professionals in the telecoms industry.
“We considered other areas, including London and its suburbs, but we felt that Bristol and Bath presented greater opportunities for us to grow.
“We have ambitious growth targets so it’s crucial we are in a well-connected location where we can attract the best employees and also be part of an exciting technology hub. We feel that the Bristol & Bath Science Park offers us this opportunity.”
The company is moving into the park’s Innovation Centre for early-stage and high-growth companies and is now 85% full.
Science Park chief executive Bonnie Dean said: “Velocent’s move to the region is a real testament to its strengths in this sector and its excellent connectivity to the rest of the country.
“There is a vibrant entrepreneurial community at the Science Park, which will provide Velocent with useful and interesting connections. This is particularly important for a company that has not worked in the UK before as they will benefit from the support network that the park offers.”