Smart city specialist Connexin’s £80m capital raise as Hull team prepares to go big

Smart City specialist Connexin has secured £80 million in investment as it gears up to build programmable communities of the future.

The Hull-based business has raised the funds via global equity house Whitehelm Capital, as it commits to the growth of digital infrastructure in the UK.

Taking a leading role in the roll-out of the internet of things, Connexin aims to improve quality of life, reduce pollution and protect resources.

An employer of 30 in a city it is already helping turn smart, the founding duo aim to drive that figure towards 100 in the coming years, as they kick on from the Henry Boot Way base.

The investment will support the expansion of the business and build resilience in order to meet the expected growth in demand for smart networks in UK cities and their connecting infrastructures, enabling better connectivity, as well as smarter, more efficient service.

Furqan Alamgir, founder and chief executive of Connexin, said: “Now more than ever, we have been taught by the pandemic the true value of technology and the societal benefits that it has for citizens. At Connexin, we’re building sustainable, programmable infrastructure for today and tomorrow. This financing further validates the digital transformation we have delivered within cities, communities and the utility sector through our leadership and innovation in the smart infrastructure and IoT space.

 “We are extremely excited to be working with the Whitehelm team and look forward to continuing our commitment to building programmable infrastructure of the future that will address future challenges, drive economic savings, promote a better quality of life and create environmental improvements.”

Furqan Alamgir addresses Connexin Live, held at Hull’s Bonus Arena, where expert speakers from across the globe were brought to the city’s new venue to discuss how to use the power of data to improve the wellbeing of citizens.

In 2019, Connexin delivered the UK’s first purpose built Smart City Operating System for Hull City Council and this year helped Amey implement Connexin’s CityOS platform to improve highway maintenance services across Sheffield. In partnership with Cisco and Newcastle City Council, Connexin has also helped deliver the UK’s smartest street, which was announced at the Great Exhibition of the North.

“This investment isn’t just about Connexin, it affects every community,” Mr Alamgir said. “Everyone deserves clean air, tidier streets, safer roads. By allowing all communities to have access to our digitally connected infrastructure, it enables connected devices to “speak” to one another which paves the way for amazing things.

“We create solutions for councils that can monitor air quality and communicate this information with people who suffer with breathing conditions to help  prevent asthma attacks and reduce hospital admissions. We’ve also helped the utility sector with smart metering for leak protection for better water performance to help tackle the problem of 3.1 billion litres of water lost each day due to water leakage.

“With this investment, we can replicate the success we have in building smart communities across the country. It’s how we all want to live by just being smarter.”

From its humble origins as an idea borne from a discussion about expensive roaming charges between two Hull-educated graduates over pizza on a return from travelling, the business has evolved from a £1 voice platform to help pay for student debts.

Expressing his delight to team up and deliver digital infrastructure in the UK, Tom Maher, head of business development at Whitehelm Capital, said: “At a time when connectivity has become more important than ever, we have identified a significant need to invest in regional networks and support local communities.

“Connexin’s long and successful track record in providing connectivity services to these local communities, businesses and municipalities make it a perfect partner.

“Founders Furqan Alamgir and Alex Yeung have an outstanding track record in developing digital infrastructure and we are looking forward to a successful partnership. In addition to the initial commitment of up to £80 million, Whitehelm has earmarked further capital for investment through the partnership.”

Launched in 1998, Whitehelm has invested in more than 100 companies since inception and has more than £3 billion in funds under management, from Yorkshire Water to Sydney Airport.

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Governing body slashes costs by $80m a year in wake of COVID-19 crisis

The players will share in some of the pain, with a small drop in the salary cap expected in 2021. However, most of the savings will come through running a leaner and more efficient head office.

“There will be considerable cost savings,” ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said. “It will be substantial; we’re not mucking around on the edges.

Peter V’landys claims the NRL will remain a compelling product despite cost cuts at head office.Credit:Getty Images

“What the board and the game needs to understand is that this is a once-in-a-generation chance to get your cost structure right.

“What COVID has proven to us is that the cost structure isn’t right. The clubs were making accumulated losses of $33 million per year. That’s not sustainable.

“We need to make sure that we run the game viably, so the days of spending and spending and spending are well gone.

“You won’t attack every problem by throwing money at it; you have to come up with better strategies.

“That’s what the game has done [previously], it has looked at itself and thrown money at it and hope it fixes itself. Sometimes the return didn’t eventuate, even though they threw a lot of money into it because what they wanted didn’t come to fruition.”

Clubs will have a handbrake applied to spending in the form of a cut to the football department cap. Currently, the figure is $6.17 million a year, although that is expected to drop to about $5 million. The decrease should make clubs think twice before committing to coaches on lucrative long-term deals that are rarely completed.

However, the biggest savings will come from greater efficiencies at Rugby League Central.

“[Spending] has to come down substantially, there’s not two ways about it,” V’landys said.

“Andrew Abdo is doing an excellent job in identifying the areas we can do immediately and other areas we can do gradually.


“But no one will notice the difference. The services will be the same. We don’t regard it as cost cutting, we regard it as being efficient – doing the same thing for a lesser price.

“The fans won’t notice any difference. What our aim is with all the changes is that nobody notices any changes other than an improvement in the entertainment value of the game.

“Nobody will notice any difference because we will get the same output for a much lesser price.”

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