Genesis Private Equity invests in ISP business building an impressive Australasian foot-print
Genesis Private Equity ‘Genesis’ is pleased to announce its investment in the fast-growing internet service provider, Freedom Internet Ltd ‘Freedom’.
Genesis’ Fund, Genesis Private Equity No.1 Fund LP, has taken an initial ~ 13% stake, with a further investment scheduled for later in the year which will increase the proportional ownership again.
GPE’s appointee Director is highly regarded Australian telecoms professional, Iain Bartram.
Founded in 2010, Freedom is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) specialising in creating high quality internet networks that enable residents and guests of apartments to access fast internet. Freedom operates in New Zealand and Australia with > 500 buildings serviced comprising ~ 33,000 potential clients.
Whilst the business has a strong presence in the Auckland market, the growth opportunity in Australia is palpable given the demand for high-quality internet services by residents/guests within high-rise buildings in Australian metropolitan cities.
During the last 25 years, more Australians than ever before are taking to living in apartments. The 2016 Census of Population and Housing found that 10% (2.348m people) of all people in Australia spent Census night in an apartment, and at that time there was around one occupied apartment for every five occupied separate houses in Australia, compared to a one in seven ratio, in 1991.
Apartment numbers have increased over that period by 78% to 1.214m dwellings at the 2016 Census, with most of the apartments being in NSW (47%), Victoria (23%) and Queensland (17%).
Freedom’s service delivery and competitive pricing together with the lack of a long-term contract periods resonates well with its customers, and significant property developers are now looking to Freedom to partner them in new build projects.
The Genesis capital being injected has in part enabled an existing shareholder to exit, whilst also funding the growth opportunity in front of the business.
Kieran O’Hagan, Executive Director of Genesis Private Equity Limited, is pleased with the Freedom investment.
“Freedom’s Management Team have demonstrated an ability to grow their business quickly over a relatively short time frame and they’re ideally placed to take advantage of the prescient market opportunity across the Tasman.”
One of Freedom’s requirements of Genesis was to add Australian market experience, skills and connections to the Board.
“We’re thrilled to have helped attract Iain Bartram to the Freedom Board to assist the Company going forward. Iain has operated in the Australian telecoms/broadcasting market for over 15-years at a senior level, including CEO, CFO and Directorship roles with businesses including Virtue Broadcasting, ConnXion and Stripe Radio” says Mr. O’Hagan.
Mr. O’Hagan says, “That experience will now be brought to bear in assisting Freedom penetrate the Australian market further.”
James Bayly, Freedom’s CEO has welcomed the Genesis investment, saying their experience with Genesis has been a positive one. “We were introduced to GPE through one of our existing Private Equity investors and have found Kieran and the team to be a very positive influence on our business. They have challenged us on whether we had enough money to achieve our goals and have since been very supportive in providing a fantastic director with a deep understanding of our industry as well as introductions to grow the business.”
To date, Genesis has assessed ~ 190 businesses over 2 ½ years, and Freedom is its fourth investment
 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017. Census of Population and Housing; Reflecting Australia – Stories from the Census, 2016. [http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/2071.0~2016~Main%20Features~Apartment%20Living~20]. Accessed 6th July 2018.