gradwell-at-Bristol_Business_Show_2Based in Bath, Gradwell is best known for being a leading business internet provider. Domain name registration, website building, hosting and design, and VoIP are also part of the company’s offering, which prides itself on customer satisfaction and market-leading quality.

We spoke to Nick Thompson, Gradwell’s operations director (pictured below), about the company, its founder Peter Gradwell, its involvement with the South West tech scene and why the company is sponsoring the SPARKies awards 2014.

TechSPARK: Nick, when and why was Gradwell founded?

Nick Thompson GradwellNick Thompson: Peter Gradwell founded the business in 1998 whilst studying at university and semi-supporting himself as a web designer. He realised how difficult it was to find substantial web hosting in the UK, and decided that if he struggled to find the services, others would too.

He also wanted to solve his own challenge of not being able to connect to his colleagues and friends via phone as easily and as affordably as he would like. His researching of the technology led to the formation of the business which took shape and has evolved into a trusted name throughout the industry today.

On a side note, Peter’s parents are entrepreneurs and it was logical that he might follow in their footsteps. It’s exciting for us to see that ‘unipreneurs’ are on the rise, considering that’s where Gradwell started. Gradwell is real proof that young business people can be inspirational and should never be overlooked.

TS: Now that he’s recognised as one of the leading young entrepreneurs in the internet and telecoms fields, is Peter still hands-on as far as the company is concerned?

NT: Gradwell is a busy place: it’s a fully fledged and established business with lots of customers and a team of around 70 staff. We also sponsor lots of events, so yes, Peter has a hectic schedule (what MD doesn’t?) and certainly hasn’t taken a back seat.


Grad all over: Peter Gradwell (left), chats to Huw Williams, former Head of Business Banking for HSBC 

He maintains a presence in the office throughout the week and ensures the company vision filters throughout the team; he also delivers monthly company updates on how Gradwell is doing, achievements and any future strategic project developments. He often meets with suppliers, talks to customers and engages with team members on a daily basis. It’s his name and brand so it is logical that he cares a lot about how it all works for our customers.

TS: What are Gradwell’s foremost products?

NT: Our trusted award-winning VoIP services are what we’re mostly known for, but we’re also making waves with our fibre broadband which boasts pretty impressive speeds. Our customers asked for better broadband options so we found a way to provide it.

“Bath is a prestigious city with an innovative tech community, so it was a natural choice for a growing telecoms company”


We’re always putting effort into research and design to optimise our services for our customers; technology changes all the time and we want to offer the best web solutions possible for them.

TS: Other than the fibre broadband, what other new products are under development at Gradwell?

NT: We launched our first cloud-based solution – Gradwell Cloud – earlier this year, into which we’ve recently incorporated backup and storage to provide a full suite of cloud services. When combined, our VoIP, broadband and cloud packages really give SMEs all the technology they need to run their business.

TS: Which sorts of companies does Gradwell work with most?

NT: Our services are primarily used by UK SME businesses, but one of the most interesting things about Gradwell is the diversity within our client base. We provide services to all types of organisations – local realtors, wine merchants, taxi drivers, business parks, and everything in between.

Many businesses want to run their company using technology that is affordable, reliable, and gives them peace of mind and minimal hassle all while being supported by a company that really cares. Gradwell works hard to do all of these things.

TS: Why did Peter decide to locate the company in Bath?

NT: Bath is a prestigious city with an innovative tech community, so it was a natural choice for a growing telecoms company. Gradwell also has a significant client base here in Bath and we love to support community activities as well as the local tech scene. The city really does feel like home. We had the choice to relocate recently, but opted to move to a property more centrally located, so we’re here to stay!

TS: What are the best things about being based in the South West?

NT: We’re proud of our South West heritage and the region is a thriving community, in terms of both business and the people who live here. The South West covers nine regions and seems to have its own identity, which is fully represented in our office as we have team members from all over the surrounding area. That’s not to say the rest of the UK isn’t just as lovely, but we are lucky to be based in an area people really enjoy visiting. We’re surrounded by a mixture of history and innovation, which is a wonderful thing.

TS: What are Gradwell’s recent successes and achievements?

NT: Winning Best Business ITSP (Small Enterprise) at the 2014 ITSPA VoIP Awards was a great achievement for us this year. From a solutions perspective, launching Gradwell Cloud has been a highlight. There’s still more to do to market it fully but the solution has come together nicely and we’re quite happy about it as a new service for SMEs.

“We’re always putting effort into research and design to optimise our services for our customers’ needs. Technology changes all the time and we want to offer the best web solutions possible”


We’ve also been lucky to exhibit at some really great events this year, such as the South West Expo, Bristol Business Exhibition and the Convergence Summit South, all of which give us the chance to connect with existing and potential customers. It’s always a pleasure to interact with customers face to face.

TS: What advice would you have for any entrepreneur or startup looking to follow in your company’s footsteps?

NT: Believe in yourself and your vision; always have a plan; design your services around your customers and applaud your clients. Be passionate about the market you’re involved in and connect with others in the industry. All companies face challenges along the way but its all part of the process and you’ll learn something valuable from every situation and make it even better.

TS: Gradwell is sponsoring this year’s SPARKies awards. What made you decide to get involved?

NT: Bath, Bristol and the surrounding area has so much to offer to the tech world, so it’s fantastic to see awards that focused on the talent the community has right on its doorstep. We’ve been connected to the SPARKies for quite some time and are happy to participate in this year’s event. We’re really looking forward to reading the nominations and attending the awards night.

Many thanks to Nick for taking the time to chat with us. Follow Gradwell on Twitter and check out their blog for the latest company news. You may as well come say hi to us on Twitter too while you’re there.