Does this London firm have the solution to the productivity puzzle?
LondonlovesBusiness.com caught up with Luminet founder and chief executive Sasha Williamson to find out why many London businesses’ internet services are underperforming, and what his company does to help improve performance and connectivity.
· Company: Luminet
· What it does, in a sentence: Luminet is an intelligent managed services provider, offering London businesses a one-stop-shop for all their IT and telecoms services, including connectivity, communications, security and cloud computing.
· Turnover: £4m
· Growth: 41% year-on-year growth
· Founded: London, February 2007
· Founder/s: Richard Robb and Sasha Williamson
· Size of team: 35 employees in one central London office
What problem are you trying to solve?
Luminet is defining a new category in intelligent managed services. A typical London business is rarely using any more than 15% of its network capacity. Despite this, most will be experiencing the symptoms of congestion: rubbish video calls, poor remote access to critical apps, disgruntled customers struggling to get a rapid response, and worse. The answer doesn’t lie in the headline broadband speed of the provider. There is a fundamental difference between broadband speed and quality of service.
Luminet is addressing this issue – it is one of the first telecoms companies to enable the application of intelligence, so that businesses can really see what is happening across their networks – giving them visibility and control over their applications; enabling them to configure policies appropriately to get maximum value from their infrastructure.
How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?
There are 160,000 businesses in our addressable market; 15,105 businesses operate in the City of London alone. We already have 500 customers, from enterprises to startups, across the financial, media, professional services and IT sectors.
We can service all businesses across London, thanks to our wholly owned wireless and fibre network, alongside our data centre assets. We own and operate Ethernet standard-based Wide Area Networks in the London metropolitan area, which enables wireless high-speed data connections over long distances, so location is never an issue – we can offer always on, symmetrical and guaranteed services, with no data limits.
How do you make money?
We make money because of the quality of our connectivity, communications, security and cloud computing product portfolio. The quality of our products is evidenced through our accreditations, awards and best-in-breed technology partners.
Last year, our Fibre-Air service won the ISPA award for “Best Business Fixed Broadband”. Our technology partners are the most trusted in the industry, such as Cisco, Equinix, Gamma, SSE and Microsoft.
Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
It’s the whole team, ecosystem, culture and our values that make Luminet a success.
Who’s bankrolling you?
Luminet was established in 2014 by the acquisition of Vital Group by Urban Wimax. Santander Growth Finance funds us.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
Securing funding requires one skill above all others – preparation. You must be meticulous in your preparation; what the funds are for, how they will be used and the return.
What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
The key to growth is net new monthly recurring revenue additions; I look at this metric every day.
What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
The biggest lesson for me was moving from a high-growth startup to a turnaround business. I’ve learnt that you have to be ready for the next era in your market and pioneer it with great solutions. Even when growth is good you must never rest on your laurels; which is why we have been quick to move beyond connectivity to the application of intelligence. I have learnt that leading, rather than following, reaps the biggest rewards.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
I don’t think I will be alone in admitting that, in the past, I have struggled to get the right work/life balance. When you are starting a business you need to give 100%, which doesn’t leave much room for relaxation and family time. I have learned that in order to grow a business you need to strike a balance – recruiting a trusted and talented team has helped with this by giving me the confidence and ability to take time out for myself.
Which London startup/s are you watching, and why?
We service a number of exciting startups, so I am very privileged to be a position where we can contribute to their growth, by providing them with enterprise technology with a price point and total cost of ownership that is designed for all businesses.
In terms of sectors, I have seen a few Internet-of-Things London startups whose business models seem to have incredible potential – I am watching them with a view to future partnerships.