Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

An interview with Andrew Dickinson

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 13-Oct-2022 16:25:10

What was the vision when you founded Jola?

We founded Jola with an experienced team and a tried and tested strategy. At Griffin, we built a channel of over 700 resellers, annual revenues of £24 million and a team of around 130 employees. We had so much fun and success that after the company was sold in 2012 it seemed inevitable that we would work together again. Our philosophy at Griffin was that we were ‘selling with our partners’ rather than ‘to them’ and we continued this approach with Jola.  

Headshot Andrew (Jola R)

Automation, billing and healthy margins are a given. Jola’s vision was to put our partners in control and make them more successful. We felt we understood the needs of their customers and developed unique solutions to help resellers address them. Resellers have higher conversion ratios when they choose suppliers they trust to work alongside them on deals. Innovative suppliers provide differentiated products, which give resellers a higher margin potential.

We started out as a channel supplier specialising in internet connectivity and hosted telephony. When the networks started to allow us to sell 4G products we realised that the biggest opportunity for the channel was in mobile data and so we developed Mobile Manager®. Jola became a multi-award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We built our own global eSIM MVNO, providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, IT Support companies and Telecommunications Resellers.

What does the acquisition signal to the channel market? 

It reinforces the value of mobile data. With 4G+ download speeds of around 300Mb/s available to 90%+ of the population, mobile data is a credible alternative to fixed line, as well as a great 100% SLA, backup story. It is also the only practical solution to replace millions of PSTN lines in the next few years. Only around 20% of resellers sell mobile data but by 2025 every reseller in the UK will have to have it in their portfolio. As is always the case with disruptive technological change, early movers win more market share and ringfence their customers from competitors.

The financial markets value mobile data EBITDA at a higher multiple than fibre and broadband. With self-service, fully automated portals like Mobile Manager®, it is easy to sell, manage and bill.

Every reseller/MSP has at least one significant IoT/M2M opportunity in their existing base of customers, and mobile data aggregators like Jola are helping to find and win them. 

Could you provide some background to the deal and why Wireless Logic?

Wireless Logic is one of the standout successes of the ICT sector and we have long been admirers of Oliver Tucker and his team. It was important to us that Jola remain an independently-run company, focussing as always on the UK channel. 

There is a natural fit between Wireless Logic and Jola, which makes this an exciting acquisition for all involved. Jola will strengthen and focus the group’s routes to market in the UK and beyond, paving the way for further business growth in the years ahead. 

Our 1200+ partners will see no change in the short term and over time they will benefit from a stronger balance sheet, product innovations across the group and more extensive supplier relationships.

Wireless Logic mainly sell direct and Jola has always been exclusively channel-only. Is this an issue?

I have been in channel since it started and my team is channel through and through. Apart from the fact that our partners are contractually and legally ring-fenced, our reputation should be sufficient to answer this question for partners and prospects. 

What are the cross-portfolio benefits of the acquisition and does it provide new areas of business to develop?

Wireless Logic sees Jola as its channel brand. Over time the best solutions and services will be made available to all partners.

More specifically, what will be the channel benefits of the acquisition?

Wireless Logic is a leading global IoT connectivity platform provider that simplifies and automates IoT management for any device, anywhere. With more than 10 million IoT subscriptions active in 165 countries and direct partnerships with 48 mobile networks, the group provides reach into more than 750 networks across the globe and delivers value throughout the IoT connectivity chain. 

Being part of the group our channel partners will continue to benefit from innovative solutions and management portals to help them win lucrative mobile data opportunities and grow their businesses. Wireless Logic has an enterprise value of over £1bn. Resellers and MSPs working with Jola should feel more confident of winning large and valuable deals, even when competing directly with the MNOs

And specifically, what new opportunities do you plan to exploit?

Specifically, Wireless Logic has a much broader pure IoT proposition within the group including a wide range of devices and device management capability.

There are already a great many vertical market opportunities in this space where we are helping partners to win. Being owned by Wireless Logic will only improve our partners’ chances of finding and closing large contracts.

Jola SIMs are being used in tablets, routers, CCTV cameras, lifts, cranes, wind turbines, push-to-talk radios, body-worn cameras, monitoring devices, streetlights, ANPR cameras, yachts, digital signs, personal alarms, door entry systems, smart gates, cameras, buses, coaches and trains.

Our internet connectivity and SIP solutions are used by well-known large corporates and SMEs. We help partners to win new business,  increase ARPU in their current base, and reduce churn.

With more resources available to you, what role will innovation play in the Jola strategy going forward?

Our ability to innovate is one of our success stories at Jola.  On average we launch a new product/product extension every month.

We were first to market with a real-time automated portal and we continue to lead and innovate in this important area. Partners bidding to win mobile data opportunities for M2M and IoT solutions such as 4G SIMs in tablets in the public sector or Multinet SIMs in smart water meters are being asked very specific questions about their portal. End-users want to know how real-time the data is and how automated the portal is. 

End users do not want multiple supplier portals to deal with, they want the ability to order a wide range of technologies from multiple network operators in a single portal. They want direct access to activate SIMs, add bolt-ons and share data across accounts. They need access for their end users to be able to monitor usage in real-time. Suppliers who can offer real-time, automated portals are better placed to win the deals.

We invented an intelligent 4G solution for digital signage, which arrives on-site plug-and-play, will work anywhere with an electrical socket, can be managed remotely via a portal and prevents hackers from gaining access to the digital content.

MSPs save money on site surveys, as we use un-steered multi-network SIMs which will connect to the strongest 4G signal anywhere. They can be rapidly deployed to multiple sites globally, will arrive pre-configured with the Jola App, allowing auto-configuration. There is no need for manual configuration on site, saving valuable time and set-up costs.

Apart from innovative Layer 2 LTE offerings for ISPs and unique big data tariffs, Jola recently built a new, fully redundant, highly scalable IP edge network specifically designed to deliver high performance and secure mobile data services. Jola Partners’ critical services now enjoy protection from DDoS attacks and super-high speeds globally via the Cloudflare network. Cloudflare’s 121 Tbps worldwide network blocks an average of 86 billion threats per day.

How will your extended global capacity benefit channel partners?

Wireless Logic was named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed IoT Connectivity Services, worldwide.  This placement is a validation of Wireless Logic’s leadership stance in the global connectivity sector. They are a leading global IoT connectivity platform provider that simplifies and automates IoT management for any device, anywhere. Over time global solutions may be added to Mobile Manager to enhance our global Multinetwork proposition.

What are your shorter-term goals and objectives in terms of the channel, business growth and strategy in general?

Our strategy hasn’t changed, we are planning to build our partner base and help them win lucrative mobile data deals. We continue to add 10-15 new partners every month, these include some of the largest resellers, aggregators, ISPs and MSPs in the world.

Where do you see Jola in three-five years’ time and how will you get there?

In five years' time, we will be supporting more than 2000 active partners, selling into every country in the world. Our IP will be used throughout the Wireless Logic Group and we will have leveraged their buying power and productised a number of their unique products for the channel.

Are there any gaps in the portfolio to fill?

We have a wide portfolio of unique and differentiated products, however, we continue to innovate and via the Wireless Logic Group will have access to relationships and new solutions that will benefit Jola partners.

What trends are you seeing/tracking in the market that interest you most and what is the significance of these in terms of how you will steer Jola in the future?

Demand for M2M and IoT is a focus for Jola and our partners, as end-users need more than the MNOs can offer them directly. It is a great opportunity for companies like Jola to innovate with solutions managed in a real-time portal, designed to meet specific needs of M2M and IoT solutions in multiple vertical markets globally.

Mobile data is a critical part of the PSTN/ISDN replacement portfolio. Resellers cannot 100% address the needs of their customers without partnering with a channel-only mobile data aggregator and we hope they will choose Jola. Being part of the Wireless Logic Group only strengthens our hand in this respect.

Can you explain your growth statistics?

We have been growing year on year since we started Jola back in 2014. In the last 12 months, we have seen revenues surge by 80%, EBITDA double, BGF exit and we became part of Wireless Logic Group.

We have had our best year ever for signing new partners with over 1200 resellers and MSPs now choosing Jola for their mobile data and intelligent connectivity.

We have recently closed the books on our seventh full year and won Megabuyte’s Emerging Star award for the Best performing Telecoms Services company for the second year running. We continue to grow and to invest in people, products, platforms and processes. We have a fantastic team here at Jola who are dedicated to supporting our growing partner base. It is great to see so many Jola partners building profitable revenue streams from our unique mobile data solutions

Any other comment?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners and our fantastic team, who made all this possible. I would also like to thank Pinsent Masons who supported us legally throughout the process and have a lot of knowledge and experience in the ICT space.

For further information about Jola, request our Partner Pack.



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