The ECI Growth Survey

A farm might sound an unlikely place to hit upon an idea for a fast-growing technology company. However, being stuck in a remote Canadian farmhouse provided inspiration for Nigel Wallbridge to set up Nomad Digital in 2002.

When he solved the farm’s connectivity problems, he wondered if he could do the same on a moving vehicle. Nomad soon became the world’s first provider of wi-fi on trains.

The wi-fi technology works by quickly switching between mobile networks as the train moves – quite a technical and engineering challenge on a vehicle that is moving at more than 100mph.

Reece Donovan, COO

The Newcastle upon Tyne based company now works with 60 rail companies around the world and also provides passenger information systems and train performance and maintenance monitoring solutions for operators. Turnover of £29 million in 2014 is expected to grow by 45 per cent this year.

Reece Donovan, Nomad’s chief operating officer, says train wi-fi has gone from being regarded as luxury by operators to a must-have demanded by passengers. The wi-fi technology works by quickly switching between mobile networks as the train moves – quite a technical and engineering challenge on a vehicle that is “moving at more than 100mph,” Mr Donovan says.

With the technology rapidly improving as the market matures, Nomad, which is one of the UK’s fastest growing private companies, has to move quickly to keep its nose in front.

The business relies on hiring people with an unusual combination of knowledge of both the rail industry and technology, and attracting the right talent is the “single biggest challenge” facing Nomad, Mr Donovan adds.

£29million

60

2002