Eyretel raised £22m in venture capital from Apax as a direct result of appearing at the top of last year’s league table. Still, few could have predicted Eyretel’s meteoric rise back in 1990, when 26-year old engineer, Roger Keenan had little more than a business plan to convince investors that his digital voice recording technology idea would fly. Rejected by hordes of venture capitalists, funding for the garage-based start-up came instead from business angels and the Small Firm Loan Guarantee Scheme. Eyretel’s first product was digital software that records phone calls in financial trading rooms, emergency services such as 999, and call centres. The start-up got its first break with an £80,000 order from the US state of Virginia to install the software in its emergency call services. Today the £17.3m company has expanded into multimedia, employs 156 people in six countries, and exports 82% of its products to over 80 countries. It plans to float on NASDAQ in the future.
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