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T@lecom Secures First Round Funding

An innovative Coventry company is making significant inroads into the provision of low-cost, yet highly effective communications solutions for couriers, helped by Birmingham based venture capital specialist, Midven Limited.

T@lecom’s managing director Mr Jan O’Hara had the idea for a new business to provide couriers and logistics companies with an easy-to-use, hand-held computer that would perform a number of vital functions.

He combined the technical advantages of off-the-shelf hardware, a mobile phone and a screen that can be written on into the new product, which has specially designed software. A courier requests the recipient to sign for a consignment directly onto the screen and proof of delivery is immediately sent electronically over the mobile phone network to his head office, where invoicing and other administration can be completed without delay.

Additionally, the courier can then source turn-by-turn directions to his next point of delivery, thus saying considerably on time. The T@lecom invention’s biggest advantage is, perhaps, the financial savings for users because it costs only around £50 a month against £2,000 from competitors just for the unit. Mr O’Hara has pulled all the components together for the revolutionary equipment. T@lecom has provided hardware tailor-made to requirements, while 02 provide the network in the UK and T-Mobile in Germany.

T@lecom was provided with an investment for an undisclosed sum from the Advantage Growth Fund, sponsored by Advantage West Midlands and managed by Midven. Mr Paul Ainsworth, investment manager for Midven, said that it had agreed the investment for a number of reasons.

“It was a young business, but Jan O’Hara is a very talented entrepreneur and he has assembled an experienced management team around him,” Mr Ainsworth explained. “Additionally, the product was hitting the market at the right time and very much at the right price.”

Mr O’Hara previously worked for a business developing software for the telecom industry, while chairman Dr Olinga Ta’eed is a serial entrepreneur involved in a number of successful ventures.

Operation director Paul Rogerson was operations director for Marconi in various overseas areas, such as Israel and South Africa.

Both Dr Ta’eed and Mr Rogerson had such confidence in Mr O’Hara and his product that they both invested in the company. Mr O’Hara was delighted to secure the financial backing for the revolutionary equipment.

“I found Midven very approachable,” he said. “Paul Ainsworth quickly recognised the potential of T@lecom and he soon set the wheels in motion for the finance. I was very impressed with the speed of the process between our initial meeting with Midven and the investment completion.

“This funding has helped us to expand and customer reaction to the product has been immensely encouraging. Indeed, some large courier organisations are actually approaching us about it.”

T@lecom based at Coventry’s Technocentre, has grown over the last six months and recruited new people.