H20 Networks Ltd., based in St Asaph, has outperformed hundreds of hopeful new businesses to reach the regional finals of the 2007 HSBC Star-Up Stars Awards.


The national contest, now in its seventh year, is designed to seek out the most promising new businesses in the UK and to recognise the entrepreneurs behind them.


H20 Networks, started two and a half years ago, is now hoping to clinch one of the top titles and take a share of the Awards’ prizes, worth £85,000.


‘Using the past to connect the future’ should be the maxim for H20 Networks Ltd, which is using a mix of 19th century and 21st century technologies to build up its business. There’s no stopping the growth of this innovative business and plans are in place to promote its offering throughout the UK and expand internationally.


The St Asaph based company, has pioneered and developed its unique FS Focus (fibre optic cable underground sewer) System to set up IT and telecoms networks with virtually unlimited bandwidth in the UK’s 360,000 miles of sewers.


The FS Focus System offers a fast and cost-effective way to lay fibre optic cable and link up any location without the high costs and disruption caused by traditional cabling methods.


But the revolutionary aspect of FS Focus is the way it’s installed. Traditionally, deploying cable would mean digging up roads, which is time consuming, expensive, harmful to the environment and a pain in the neck for local residents and businesses.


By using the existing sewerage system, H20 Networks have cracked the problem, laying cable quickly and efficiently with minimal surface impact.


Launched in January 2005, the business has gone from strength to strength, forging agreements with the water companies and winning a number of high profile clients including two universities and a borough council.


The company promises to use the past to connect the future. The technology is proven and will revolutionise businesses and communities everywhere including internationally, with enquiries already coming in from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, North America and Europe.


H20 Networks is one of 20 companies to secure a place in the West, Wales and Northern Ireland regional finals of the 2007 Start-Up Stars Awards. Their entry will now be considered by a panel of local business experts who will select 10 top new businesses to represent Wales in the national judging session.

Enterprise Ventures has completed a further investment in H2O Networks Limited.

H2O Networks has pioneered and developed a unique concept, the FS Focus System, to deploy fibre optical cable in the UK’s waste water network. The company’s cost effective and environmentally friendly method allows health, education and manufacturing organisations to set up secure IT and telecom networks, without the traffic disruption associated with traditional methods.

Enterprise Ventures first invested in the company during late 2006 to finance the company’s growth plans and this follow-on round of funding will support the company’s ongoing development, the recruitment of sales & support staff and its relocation into Lancashire.

Since EV first invested, H2O Networks has completed successful installations of its concept at Edinburgh’s Napier University, in partnership with Scottish Water, and at Bournemouth Borough Council, amongst others and is currently in talks with a number of potential customers.

Wayne Thomas, Investment Director at EV, says, “Since we originally invested, the business has made significant commercial progress and is making major headway in both the public and private sector. The further funding provided will allow the business to consolidate its position in these markets and recruit additional staff to drive the business forward. The business has attracted considerable interest from both the commercial and financial communities and discussions are underway regarding a potential IPO of the business in early 2008”.

Commenting on the investment, Elfed Thomas said: “The market dynamics are ideal for us as there is currently a huge lack of investment in infrastructure across the UK. We’re looking forward to further developing our offering with the help of EV and are excited about the future.”

Operating from offices in Preston and Leeds, Enterprise Ventures manages a range of venture capital and private equity funds offering syndicated funding packages of up to £2 million to new and existing companies based throughout the North of England and the Midlands regions.

Elfed Thomas, Managing Director completes London to Paris Bike Ride in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Elfed Thomas, Managing Director at H2O Networks was one of 88 riders who set off from London on Saturday 8th July the day after the Tour de France to complete the London to Paris Bike Ride. All of the 88 riders were raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The route covered 470Km over 4 hard days of cycling. The route on the first day was the longest cycling from London to Dover the route crossed the Tour de France route twice. On the last day the riders had a police escort through the Champs Elysee to the finish line beneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower.

Thomas said “It was an amazing experience, cycling down the Champ Elysee with people clapping and cheering it was incredible. In total we all raised over £110,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support such a worthy charity”