Young entrepreneurs aim to shake up telecoms market

A Doncaster-based business run by two young entrepreneurs who met at University has set its sights on entering the premier league of UK telecoms companies, following investment from Finance Yorkshire.

Oliver Bryssau and Henri Wust launched Origin Broadband in 2011 during their final year at the University of Hull after Oliver became frustrated with the “rubbish” network access he received from his supplier.

Origin now supplies phone and broadband services to businesses and homes across the UK. Customers include the NHS, local authorities and Doncaster Racecourse. Turnover is forecast to grow to more than £3m this year.

Finance Yorkshire has invested £350,000 of development capital from its Equity Linked Fund in Origin Broadband, alongside extended facilities from HSBC and additional support from Finance for Enterprise.

Oliver said: “We started in 2011 with no staff. Now we have 40 and that figure will rise to 85 by the end of this year. We need to grow as quickly as possible. We are projected to become a £100m turnover business within the next five years.”

The funding package will provide working capital to help Origin Broadband add more firepower to its sales team and roll out its B2B marketing plan. 

The company is a registered supplier for the government’s broadband Connection Vouchers scheme, which provides small and medium-sized companies with a voucher worth up to £3,000 for faster, better broadband.

Oliver said: “We have been one of the top suppliers of Connection Vouchers since the scheme was launched and, before it runs out we want to let every company know how they can access this money to boost their connectivity.

“Our team has been phenomenal. We’ve worked very hard to ensure we hire the best people, and our performance as the top supplier for Connection Vouchers in South Yorkshire demonstrates the dedication and hard work of our people. It will be a priority for me to continue to find the best people in the industry as we scale up our operation”.

Finance Yorkshire investment director Paul Gower said: “Oliver and Henri have quickly developed Origin Broadband to a point where it is already one of the largest network suppliers in the region. We see tremendous potential in this business and look forward to supporting them as they add more customers and realise economies of scale.”

Michael Reeder, a principal with the FD Centre, the UK’s leading provider of part-time finance directors, has worked with Origin over the last six months to help secure the funding.

Origin Broadband was also advised by law firm hlw Keeble Hawson in Sheffield. Finance Yorkshire was advised by Walker Morris.

Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 10,196 jobs across    Yorkshire and the Humber, increased turnover by £309 million and generated private sector  leverage of £179 million.

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

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Paul Gower of Finance Yorkshire and Oliver Bryssau and Henri Wust of Origin Broadband

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