World leader in "cloud native" communications software
Metaswitch is a world-leading software business based in the leafy heart of Enfield in north London. Formed in 1981, the company describes itself as the “world’s leading cloud native communications software company.”
Translated, that means its complex software for the telecommunications industry is a critical element in the equipment of telecom equipment manufacturers as well as the networks of the operators, underpinning their most advanced data and voice services. (If you want to learn more about “cloudification,” “network-functions virtualisation” and “software-defined networks” - the stuff in which Metaswitch is a master - then read this article in The Economist.)
There are many reasons to admire this 34-year-old company. Its revenues in 2016 were $142m (it uses dollars because more than 90% of its sales come from outside of the UK).
It has expanded steadily and continues to grow. The company has offices in USA, Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong and Singapore. With more than 1,000 customers, its roll-call of clients include Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, Verizon and Deutsche Telekom.
When it was founded, it was wholly owned by its employees as an Employee Benefit Trust. Two US VC firms (Francisco Bank and Sequoia Bank) invested in the business in 2008 but approximately 40 per cent of the company is still held in the Trust for its employees and families.
Its current headquarters were custom-built in 1989, blending in with the nearby church, green and historic properties of leafy Enfield Chase, but staff now operate from three premises in the area. Physical expansion is on the cards. Approximately 200 of its 800-strong worldwide workforce live in the borough, and half of those are within walking or cycling distance.
Metaswitch is committed to growing its own talent; the company hires approximately 40 graduates and takes on 50 interns every year.
“There’s no secret sauce,” says company accountant Derek Brooker. “We recruit carefully, have a genuine meritocracy, invest heavily in the development of our people, and think long-term.”