University spin-out company Kelvin Connect acquired by Airwave

Kelvin Connect, a University of Glasgow spin-out company which specialises in mobile data capture systems, has been sold to the UK emergency services’ communications provider Airwave Solutions Limited for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

The company, which was established in 2002, provides an integrated and fully mobile solution for information management and business process improvement for police officers and healthcare professionals.

The technology allows data to be recorded on custom-designed electronic forms while on the move, rationalising back office systems, saving time and improving data quality while dramatically reducing information processing costs.

Borne from research at the School of Computing Science at the University, Kelvin Connect now employs several of the post-graduates who took the company’s technology from the lab to the market.

As part of the deal, Kelvin Connect, which is based in Charing Cross, Glasgow, and employs 30 staff, will remain an independent and autonomous entity and will retain its own brand and the employees that have built the company up.

Meurig Sage, technical director of Kelvin Connect and a former research assistant at the University, said: “It has taken us eight years to get to where we are; this is a great opportunity for us to move the company forward into a new stage of development.

“I’ve been involved with Kelvin Connect from the development of the software in the School of Computing, through being the original managing director, to my current role as technical director. I’m happy that the company will retain its identity and the team we have in place.

“The success of this spin-out is due to the way in which we took our time to demonstrate the effectiveness of our software before rushing to find further funding. Once we were profitable then we could attract further investment.”

Simon Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Kelvin Connect, said: “The acquisition of Kelvin Connect by Airwave represents a great result for the company and an opportunity to take it forward with access to far greater resources.

“It confirms of the quality of the products and services we offer but also the pressing need for them by customers under great pressure to reduce costs. For our police customers particularly, we believe our solution offers a real answer to the hard question of how to reduce costs without losing front-line officers.

“From the University of Glasgow’s point of view, the sale represents a very successful exit from this spin-out company and at a very difficult economic time for business.”

Simon will step down as CEO after taking the company to exit to pursue new entrepreneurial activities but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Philip Gray, senior lecturer in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow and principal investigator on the original research project from which Kelvin Connect was spun out, said: “With this acquisition my role, and the involvement of the University, comes to an end. We are delighted the technology we developed within the School has been commercialised so successfully.

“It has demonstrated the level of skill within the School and the applicability of our research in the real world. We wish Kelvin Connect every success as it goes forward.”

It is expected Airwave, which had made a £1m investment in Kelvin Connect in 2008, will announce future plans for Kelvin Connect in the coming months.

In negotiating the acquisition Kelvin Connect was represented by McDonald Henderson Solicitors in Glasgow.


For more information, contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email stuart.forsyth@glasgow.ac.uk

First published: 11 April 2011

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