Report to: Support Manager
Working hours: Mon to Thursday 9-5.30pm, Fridays 9-5 pm
Report to: Support Manager
Working hours: Mon to Thursday 9-5.30pm, Fridays 9-5 pm
Report to: Commercial Director for Mobile & IoT
Working hours: Monday to Thursday 9.00 – 5.30 and Fri 9.00 – 5.00
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Russell joined FluidOne in April 2018 to lead the next stage of growth and development. He has executive responsibility for the business and its management Board, strategy and future.
With over 30 years’ experience in telecoms and IT, Russell has applied his unique skills to transform FluidOne into an innovative, award-winning business with strong customer service, market-leading systems and platforms. As CEO, he has led a range of customer-centric service improvements using Net Promoter Score (NPS), taking the company from above average to now the highest in the telecoms market, 86 in Jan 2021.
Russell continues to drive the company towards his vision of becoming the best quality Connected Cloud Solutions provider to UK businesses. The first major step on this journey was leading a Management Buyout backed by Livingbridge in Feb 2019. As part of this journey, Russell and the board at FluidOne have made strategic acquisitions and investments to bring quality services and skills to complement FluidOne’s existing offering. The first being the acquisition of PSU Technology Group in November 2020, followed by the strategic investment in Cyber Security Associates.
Russell is married with 4 children (and two Labradors!). He has a blackbelt in Karate and is a long-time supporter of the England Rugby team. He has a love for gadgets and at weekends you’ll find him spending time with his family, or keeping active playing football, indoor climbing and practising karate.
Founded in 2013 by David Woodfine, Managing Director, and James Griffiths, Technical Director, CSA was born in cyber, and the founders boast over 50 years of combined military and cyber experience between them. Previous projects cover a range of sectors including the UK Government’s Ministry of Defence as well as The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, private clients such as the Bank of England and a number of commercial projects.
The rapid acceleration of digital transformation over the last 12 months has been fueled by a need for businesses to be agile and support increased flexibility in order to remain competitive. Many organisations, therefore, have begun to operate in hybrid cloud environments and as the use of cloud infrastructures has increased, so has the threat of cyber security breaches. The next course of action for businesses of all sizes is to step up their cyber security offering and look beyond the traditional firewall to true end-to-end solutions that give their business the resilience it needs to succeed.
CSA prides itself on having developed an advanced toolset that allows it to offer connected cyber solutions, typically reserved only for large Enterprise and government organisations, to businesses of all sizes. CSA’s cyber as a service solution addresses the modern and ever evolving cyber threat that customers are now operating in, consisting of threat monitoring, detection, protection and response via its Security Operations Centre, supported by consultancy services, robust assessments and cyber training. A dedicated team built on a solid foundation of cyber expertise, CSA believes in developing a cyber aware culture within organisations and offers services to help businesses understand the cyber threats they face through educational training, as well as the measures they need to put in place in order to be more cyber secure. Businesses can trust their security to CSA, a dedicated specialist who will both develop the right security and compliance strategy, translating concerns into real requirements, and operate and run an ongoing, military grade SOC.
The investment in CSA’s market-leading connected cyber solutions further enhances FluidOne’s already attractive Connected Cloud Solutions offering as part of its vision to become the best quality Connected Cloud Solutions Provider to UK Businesses. Complementing its connectivity services delivered via its award winning national fibre network Platform One, which helps customers deal with ever complex connectivity choices, FluidOne acquired PSU in October 2020 to add IT Managed Services and Unified Communications to its growing portfolio. The company’s investment in CSA now brings in Advanced Security to complete the Connected Cloud Solutions product set. Combining these services with the connectivity that FluidOne is best known for, will help customers create multi-cloud and multi-connected environments that are secure, safe and simple for them to use.
Commenting on the investment, FluidOne CEO, Russell Horton said:
“When I met David and James I was immediately impressed, they have exceptional cyber experience and their consultancy and managed service toolsets strongly fits with our strategy. Their military background, ongoing government clearance and the way that they have applied this experience over the past 7 years to build their business, gives them a stand out point of difference as a trusted cyber security service provider to businesses of all sizes.”
“With the FluidOne board I saw a great opportunity to invest in CSA to add a high-quality cyber security specialist to the group as a sister company that we can introduce to the benefit of FluidOne customers and channel partners.”
Cyber Security Associates, Managing Director, David Woodfine said:
“James and I identified a gap in the market for providing a true end-to-end cyber security managed service offering, which has the best threat intelligence, combined with consultancy, training and assessments to educate businesses of all sizes on the evolving cyber threat.
This development has started gaining real traction, and we were at the point where we were seeking a strategic partner to invest in the business and support us in the next stage of our growth. Meeting the executive team at FluidOne, I could see a fit for our cyber security services in their Connected Cloud Solutions strategy as well as an alignment in both values and culture. This is a very exciting time for CSA, and I very much look forward to working with Russell and the rest of the FluidOne team.”
FluidOne is already a market leader for providing high-quality data connectivity services, including Unified Communications, Mobile and IoT to a loyal customer base. As a Connected Cloud Solutions provider, FluidOne recognised that the only missing piece to the puzzle was advanced security that went beyond firewalls and MPLS network protocol to MDR and endpoint protection. The investment in CSA provides an opportunity for the leading network aggregator to complete its offering with sophisticated cyber security solutions that support its customers with increased agility and keep them ahead of the ever changing cyber threat.
FluidOne customers and partners will benefit from CSA’s connected offering with access to cyber executives, consulting and cyber assessments, whilst CSA’s Security Operations Centre will offer intelligence assessments, protective monitoring services and user awareness training. CSA is also the exclusive MSSP for patented solution AppGuard, an outstanding and effective solution that has never been breached, providing real-time protection against all endpoint and server ransomware and malware.
Following the investment, CSA will continue to be led by the founders, David Woodfine and James Griffiths, and operate as a dedicated security specialist. CSA will maintain company independence when carrying out security services for FluidOne customers, whilst benefiting from advice, guidance and support from the FluidOne directors.
Founded over 30 years ago, PSU is a £6m revenue business boasting a loyal base of over 450 customers, with expertise in solution sales to the mid-market. A team of 38 staff, based in Cheltenham, PSU is led by owner and MD Nigel Davies who has been with the business for 20 years. A strong focus on quality and delivery of excellent customer satisfaction is central to the PSU strategy with an NPS score of 83 for the first half of 2020, which aligns perfectly with FluidOne, who achieved an NPS score of 80 for the same period.
Following an MBO in 2019, backed by leading mid-market private equity firm Livingbridge, coupled with an M&A facility from HSBC, FluidOne has an enviable war chest to support the acquisition of complementary service providers to align with its strategy to be the best quality Connected Cloud Solutions Provider to UK Businesses. PSU is its first acquisition under the leadership of industry veteran and CEO Russell Horton and with a strong pipeline of quality businesses, FluidOne is in a prime position to scale up over the next 4 years.
Commenting on the acquisition, Horton notes:
“Our vision at FluidOne is to become the best quality Connected Cloud Solutions Provider to UK Businesses. Taking our market leading connectivity services, delivered via our national fibre network Platform One, our strategy is to acquire quality businesses with skills in IT Services, Unified Communications and Advanced Security, and combine these with connectivity to help customers create multi-cloud and multi-connected environments that are secure and simple for them to use, whilst delivering a fantastic customer experience from end-user to application.
Having known Nigel for 9 years, I approached him late last year to discuss the opportunity, because, knowing PSU, I felt it would be a strong addition to our portfolio, with complementary services to help enhance our Connected Cloud solutions. The initial lockdown delayed our plans and I am very pleased that we were able to carry out detailed due diligence and a joint business planning exercise whilst working remotely. The customer and staff interviews reinforced what a high-quality business PSU is, with a strong solution set and staff who build great customer relationships and go the extra mile to solve their customer’s problems. I am excited to be working with Nigel and the PSU team to invest in and grow as our centre of expertise for IT Services and Unified Communications, cross-selling into the FluidOne customer base.”
FluidOne already has a diverse range of routes to market with Direct, Channel and Strategic Partners, delivering services via its award-winning national fibre network, Platform One. In Direct the focus is on mid-market multi-site businesses with 50-2,500 employees as these tend to have complex requirements that need a consultative approach and tailored solution sales, which plays to FluidOne’s strengths. PSU is an excellent fit for this mid-market offering with over 60% of its revenue generated by this segment, with customers taking an average of 3 or more product pillars, preferring a single supplier who can deliver end to end. Mid-market customers are often under-engaged and can receive poor service from larger suppliers, such as the carriers or large IT MSP’s, therefore FluidOne can differentiate as a high-quality trusted advisor which is strengthened by the acquisition of PSU.
Nigel Davies, MD at PSU, added:
“Like FluidOne, PSU is rooted in delivering a high-quality service and strong customer engagements via a loyal, expert team. Russell and the FluidOne board have ambitious plans and I am delighted that the PSU team’s skills and services are an excellent fit. When Russell approached me about the potential of acquiring PSU, it was clear that this partnership would be a real boost for PSU, providing greater opportunity for growth, investment and career development than we would have had alone.
They plan to cross-sell PSU solutions into the FluidOne customer base, complementing their existing connectivity services, with the aim to materially grow the PSU business unit moving forward. They also bring a wider choice and expertise in connectivity and mobile services for our PSU clients. The plan is to keep the team in Cheltenham and grow it as a centre of expertise for IT Services and Unified Communications. The PSU team will act as overlay sales for these services into the FluidOne base and lead the implementation and support of these services. I am staying with the business in the role of Technical Director for IT Services and am very much looking forward to working with Russell and the rest of the FluidOne team.”
FluidOne would like to extend thanks to their advisors Andrew Sproule Corporate Finance Director at BDO for financial due diligence, Arpinder Dhillon Corporate Partner at Harrison Clark Rickerbys for legal support and Patrick Woodrow Partner at Fairgrove for customer due diligence.
Established in 2006, London based FluidOne is a communications service integrator, serving the connectivity needs of thousands of business customers and several hundred managed service partners. FluidOne’s national fibre network, Platform One, interconnects the wholesale services of every leading cloud service, datacentre, mobile operator, broadband supplier, fixed-line operator and telephony service provider into a common service network, creating a single platform of pre-integrated services. FluidOne’s DASH customer portal makes these aggregated services easy to compare, easy to choose, easy to consume, flexible in use and as powerful and reliable as each customer requires.
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An accomplished entrepreneur with strong sales skills and expertise in change management, James will be leading the existing Sales and Marketing teams at FluidOne. He will also be responsible for developing a cohesive strategy across current and future business divisions, to drive continued growth, product diversification and cross-sale opportunities. Working alongside the executive directors, Russell Horton CEO, Chris Rogers Co-Founder and COO, and Hemant Patel CFO, in his new role James will play a key part in delivering against the company’s five-year target.
“We are very pleased to have been able to attract someone with the quality and broad experience that James possesses to join our Board,. He will be an integral part of the team to help achieve our new 2020 vision and five-year plan. We look forward to supporting him in shaping the Sales and Marketing strategy and to build on our existing talent to ensure we have a best of breed sales and marketing engine as we continue to grow. We have a series of acquisitions in the pipeline that will complement our existing services, including IT services, UC and Advanced Security and James’ role as CRO is key to the execution of our vision as we scale the business.”
“I’m delighted to be joining the team at FluidOne! Having taken time before joining to meet with the Board and understand their vision and the business, I believe FluidOne has a great platform and a fantastic opportunity in a dynamic, growing market. My extensive experience in connectivity and UC, leading teams to deliver consistent organic growth, coupled with an in-depth knowledge of private equity, all puts me in a great position to support Russell and the FluidOne board to deliver on their vision. I am fortunate to be joining at an exciting time for the company, with ambitious plans and a strong M&A pipeline.”
James’ appointment will support Horton and the FluidOne board on its journey to become the best quality Connected Cloud Solutions Provider to UK businesses, building upon their existing position as the most connected network aggregator in the UK. Businesses in the UK are already operating in multi-cloud environments and the complexity of these environments is increasing as businesses evolve on their digital transformation journeys. FluidOne sees a gap in the market to support businesses from end user to application by adding IT Services, UC and Advanced Security to its existing portfolio, through acquisition and organic growth. These Connected Cloud Solutions will enable businesses to choose the best of breed applications to keep them agile and competitive, providing the end to end service for secure single sign on, data integration, connectivity, cloud and end point security. FluidOne is uniquely positioned to deliver these services and this comes at a crucial time for businesses when agility and fluidity is essential to success.
Established in 2006, London based FluidOne is an award-winning network aggregator, serving the connectivity needs of hundreds of business customers and approx. 200 managed service partners.
FluidOne’s software defined national fibre network, Platform One, interconnects the wholesale services of every leading cloud service, datacentre, mobile operator, broadband supplier, fixed line operator and telephony service provider into a common service network, creating a single platform of pre-integrated services. FluidOne’s DASH customer portal makes these aggregated services easy to compare, easy to choose, easy to consume, flexible in use and as powerful and reliable as each customer requires. Led by CEO Russell Horton the management team invested alongside Livingbridge to acquire the business in February 2019.
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Roy leads FluidOne’s finance organisation, focussing on providing the group with a platform to enable its growth plans as well as taking a leading role in FluidOne’s buy-and-build acquisition strategy.
Roy has a proven track record in fast-moving, commercial CFO roles within private equity-funded businesses across a range of sectors. He has specialised in originating and executing corporate transactions, with a focus on delivering shareholder value through effective post acquisition integrations. A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, Roy’s earlier career roles include M&A Director at a FTSE 100 company and over 10 years within the corporate finance advisory arm of a ‘Big 4’ accountancy and advisory firm. During this time, Roy was involved in a wide range of corporate finance transactions, with transaction sizes ranging from under £1m up to £5bn.