Purple WiFi nets $5 mln

UK-based Purple WiFi, a social login and location analytics platform, has closed $5 million in funding. Sir Terry Leahy, Bill Currie, Iain MacDonald and Bob Willett from the William Currie Group led the round with participation from Juno Capital. Also, the company has added former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy and Ian Kelly to its board.


January 14, 2015: Purple WiFi, the UK-based WiFi social login and location analytics platform, today announced new funding to accelerate its rapid international expansion. The $5m funding was led by Sir Terry Leahy, Bill Currie, Iain MacDonald and Bob Willett from the William Currie Group with participation from Juno Capital a leading Angel Syndicate.

Purple WiFi allows users to gain free access to a public WiFi network through their existing social media accounts or a short form. The user gets access to family friendly WiFi, while the benefit to the business hosting the service (such as a restaurant, hotel, shop, museum, sports stadium or shopping mall) is that they are rewarded with valuable analytic insights into the profiles and movements of their customers and a sophisticated built-in marketing platform.

Purple WiFi has also appointed new board members as part of the process, including: Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco CEO who took the retailer from the third largest in the UK to the third largest retailer in the world, launching the Clubcard during his tenure; and Ian Kelly, Serial Entrepreneur in Telecoms, Energy and other markets.

The large scale investment interest from both the retail and telecoms sectors demonstrates a recognition of the value and potential for WiFi in these verticals; incorporating the future of shopping, showrooming and enhancing customer experiences in-store for retail, and telecoms recognising the need for valid data offload solutions.

Additional investors include: Bill Currie, Iain MacDonald and Bob Willett from the William Currie Group; Jonathan Hammond and Steve Ashton from the beverage distribution industry; Juno Capital a leading Angel Syndicate, including high profile investors such as Sir Nigel Rudd, Chairman at Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (formerly BAA) and formerly Chairman Alliance Boots, and three senior Ernst and Young partners, who facilitated the round.

Purple WiFi was originally established due to a recognition of the world’s growing need for fast, free public WiFi. The service has been purposefully designed to be user friendly, to be technology ‘agnostic’, cloud based and scalable across geographic boundaries. It meets the growing user demand for fast, secure WiFi enabled spaces, with the added value of giving something back to the company who invested in the WiFi.

Purple WiFi’s social media authentication covers an extensive number of global social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Weibo and VKontakte. The login journey and analytics platform are localised into 18 languages.

Thousands of venues globally have already been secured, with strongholds in Europe, Asia-pac and the Americas. Deep technology partnerships have already been established, most notably with Cisco, Cisco Meraki, BT, Telstra and Vodafone, but also many others. A channel organisation, Purple WiFi have distribution agreements with Ingram Micro and Westcon Comstor who are the two biggest in the world, along with a number of country specific ones.

Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco CEO, comments: “Having been in the retail space for many years, I have seen how technology has and will continue to revolutionise the industry. Purple WiFi is a brilliant example of how additional value can be driven from an existing infrastructure. I’ve been incredibly impressed with what Gavin and the team have achieved to date. I very much look forward to helping them drive global expansion and adoption.”

Gavin Wheeldon, CEO, Purple WiFi comments: “WiFi is something that is expected, for free, just as we expect access to heat, light and water. But the big question in recent years has been how to monetise WiFi. Purple WiFi has created an innovative low cost solution that gives unprecedented analytics and insights, whilst driving true ROI for businesses. We have seen unimaginable interest and demand for the product, not just within the obvious sectors of retail, leisure and hospitality, but also unexpected sectors such as social housing, education and healthcare, where they want to use WiFi to communicate better and deliver services. I’m absolutely delighted with this new investment and expertise, which will help us accelerate our product feature set and further build out the team that I am already very proud of.”

View Purple WiFi’s current recruitment drive including a list of available roles here: http://www.purplewifi.net/wireless-careers/

Purple WiFi’s latest investment round was facilitated by Ernst and Young and legals were handled by Andrew Sturge, Partner at Turner Parkinson LLP of Manchester.

About Purple WiFi http://www.purplewifi.com
Purple WiFi provides a fast, secure, Social WiFi solution to businesses wishing to offer free WiFi to visitors. The business is provided with valuable analytical data to enable more effective marketing. Purple WiFi is cloud-based and natively integrates with most leading wireless hardware manufacturers, notably Cisco and Cisco Meraki.

The service is growing quickly across 88 countries with an active reseller base of over 300 in 60 countries. Growth is being seen in all sectors, most notably in hospitality (where people have time to spend online), retail (where footfall tracking is essential), healthcare (offering transparency around service and communication) and entire cities moving towards the Internet of Things.

Purple WiFi is a member of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and has recently signed up with the Future of Privacy Forum, highlighting its commitment to content filtering and minimising access to abusive online content, plus a commitment to consumer privacy rights.