Peter Gradwell started this multiple award winning business in 1998 whilst at University and has been a pioneer of Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") telephony in the UK.

Investment date
MAR 2012
Exit date
JULY 2017

Investment Overview

Peter Gradwell started this multiple award winning business in 1998 whilst at University and has been a pioneer of Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) telephony in the UK.

The Bath-based business provides a wide range of cloud-based services to SMEs. From fast, flexible and cost effective global telephony to web and email hosting and virtual cloud based computing, small businesses can be up and running with a full suite of services quickly and efficiently. Gradwell is at the forefront of the development of a fully unified communications model.

Broadband and fibre based communications as well as cloud software are the fastest growing area of business IT and Gradwell’s expertise in this area is considerably more advanced than that of conventional IT companies. As they are a provider and not simply a reseller of the technology they have a clear competitive advantage.

The Growth Challenge

Broadband and fibre-based communication is becoming the standard for businesses of all sizes. Gradwell’s technical excellence has created a strong brand and customer base through the IT industry. With over 12,000 customers, the business is of a significant size.

Following investment, the technical challenge was to implement an entire new hardware platform to give the company the capacity for growth. This was completed mid-2013 and the results have been impressive, with very substantial increases in speed and capacity. The operating systems have been rewritten with new hosting and email platforms implemented.

The other challenge was to transition the marketing focus to support not only technical IT companies, but also to make the Gradwell offer more easily understandable for entrepreneurs with a business who can gain substantial benefits from the technology.

As an investment, the shift towards this technology provides a good underlying dynamic; the use of its own platform means that Gradwell can deliver highly competitive products. The relative size of the business means it continues to be attractive to larger groups within the market space.

Value added by Altitude

Gradwell received a development capital investment of £1.15m. With this, it has developed a full service offering for SMEs and continues to develop a truly unified communications offering.

The partnership with Altitude has helped to deliver a number of clearly defined goals:

  • The hardware platform and financing was reviewed and terms improved.
  • KPIs and increased financial resources have allowed the business to extract critical data to improve both process and monitoring of initiatives.
  • Re-alignment of the marketing strategy is broadening the customer profile and appeal.

A strong relationship which allows Altitude and Gradwell to tackle the difficult issues together in a positive and supportive way has been vital. The company is transitioning from a small business and is well placed in this growing market space.

“Altitude has allowed me to share responsibility. What I’ve got feels like a proper partnership – they have as much vested interest”. Peter Gradwell, Founder & CTO

What Next?

With new investors alongside the company’s new platform, a number of Gradwell Cloud and web development products recently launched together with a full SaaS Microsoft Office 365 offering, driving customer growth will be the key focus during the next phase.

The Exit

In July 2017 Altitude Partners exited from the business in a buy in management buy out to Chiltern Capital, generating a 2.7x return.


“Altitude has let us do the things we set out to do - we wouldn’t have done this otherwise”. Read more...

Peter Gradwell Founder & CTO

In Numbers