Sale of NewWave nets founders millions

A SCOTTISH technology company which provides broadband services to ships has been sold to satellite giant Inmarsat in a deal which has netted its founders millions of pounds.

Steve McCabe had returned from England six years ago to co-found NewWave Broadband in Edinburgh with a business partner.

With just a handful of staff the company built up an order book of more than $100m and has now been sold in a deal worth more than £6m.

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McCabe, who told Scotland on Sunday that the company had benefitted from having a “good business plan in the right market”, is now ploughing some of the proceeds from the sale into a new venture ScotSat.

Together with a number of “silent” investors, the business intends to launch its own small satellite later this year or early next.

“The previous business was effectively wholesaling of satellite capacity but we are now looking to develop some satellite technology of our own,” said McCabe, who is based in Glasgow. “We will still be targeting the marine market but doing something a bit different in terms of what we offer.”

Although McCabe’s career in satellite communications before founding the business had been in England, he decided to launch NewWave in Scotand.

“There was a good pool of young graduates with the skills we needed in Edinburgh,” he said. “They have stayed with us since the business started and I think they will now have a great future with Inmarsat.”

At the time of the sale the company only employed nine staff but is thought to have had some 1,000 vessels using its services.

McCabe said ScotSat would look to employ about five staff initially and is likely to be based in NewWave’s former premises in Hanover Street in Edinburgh which did not form part of the acquisition deal.

London-headquartered Inmarsat, which is valued at £1.8 billion, owns and operates a fleet of 11 satellites providing mobile voice and data communications.