Sheffield tech firm Sitehop awarded £1m funding as it prepares to expand and begin trial in Brazil
Sitehop was founded in 2021 by engineers Melissa Chambers and Ben Harper, and developed a solution for adding encryption to networks for telecoms companies without slowing down performance.
The funding has ben awarded from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), Mercia’s EIS funds and private investors.
Sitehop CEO Melissa Chambers said: “With the surge in demand for video calls and cloud computing, network operators are under pressure to roll out high-speed services rapidly and security is often the last consideration. Because of the impact on performance, many services are being launched without encryption which puts users’ data at risk.
“Our hardware-based solution has none of the disadvantages of current systems and makes the addition of security a ‘no brainer’. The funding will help us to take the final step and bring it to market.”
The company is in talks with a number of international network providers and is set to begin a trial in Brazil before launching the system in spring. The funding will enable it to invest in equipment to support the trial and expand its six-strong team with the creation of 20 new jobs by the end of 2023.
In addition to telecoms and cloud providers, Sitehop notes its solution can be used by companies to create secure private networks at a lower cost by removing the need for physical interconnections.
Dan Thomas of Mercia added: “Almost every aspect of our lives now relies on the internet but the connected world brings with it new risks. Until now there has been no way to provide the necessary security without slowing down response times and affecting quality. Ben and Melissa have found a novel way to address a problem that even the big tech companies have so far failed to solve.”
Ms Chambers was co-founder of Prism Microwave which provided products for wireless infrastructure and was sold to Tongyu Communications in 2016. Ben Harper has worked on cyber systems for companies including BAe Systems and Sheffield-based Curvalux.