Borders-based SoConnect swoops on Edinburgh's Netopa

Campbell Fraser (left) and Bob Bazley. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
Campbell Fraser (left) and Bob Bazley. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
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A Borders-based telecom, internet and IT managed services business whose customers include Ted Baker and luxury spa Stobo Castle, has unveiled an acquisition giving it a footprint in Edinburgh as it seeks to grow headcount.

SoConnect, which has 20 staff in Newton St Boswells, said the purchase of Netopa also adds an established IT managed service offering to its existing operations.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SoConnect was founded by chief executive Campbell Fraser in 2011 and now supports the Scottish small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) market and across the UK through a nationwide network of 200-plus engineers.

IT managed service provider Netopa, which has a ten-strong team in Edinburgh, was also founded in 2011 by chief executive Bob Bazley, a British Army veteran who brings more than 25 years’ IT experience including as chief technology officer of Noble Group and as a vice president at Merrill Lynch.

The combined group, which will retain the SoConnect name, is expected to turn over £4 million during its first year of trading. Campbell Fraser remains at the helm and Bazley will join the board while also becoming chief operating officer. Fraser said: “Netopa has built a fantastic reputation among its customer base and the deal is a great strategic fit for SoConnect.

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“Bringing Bob and the Netopa team on board strengthens our offering and gives us a footprint in Edinburgh which will be important as we look to grow the team.”

Growth prospects

Bazley said: “The merger with SoConnect is really positive news for both our team and our clients. We’re excited about the growth prospects for the business, while continuing to develop the quality and delivery of services that we know matters most to the businesses we deal with.”

Fraser said: “For the SMEs we work alongside, simplifying and improving the efficiency of IT and comms infrastructure through the use of cloud technology is at the core of everything we do.

“Increasingly, we are also becoming a strategic, virtual [chief technology officer] for many SMEs who don’t have the resources to have a dedicated CTO in place.”

Bazley added: “Incorporating best-of-class cloud technology and cyber security are integral to business success and competitiveness and we see this trend continuing to grow in the years ahead.”

SoConnect says its team has more than 50 years’ experience in the telecoms and IT industries, while its client base also encompasses the Association of Project Managers and Victim Support Scotland.

It also says it can get an engineer to 98 per cent of UK mainland businesses within two hours.