32UPh4Nw_400x400Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy has led a £3.3m investment deal for Ashton-based social WiFi company Purple WiFi.

The funding was secured by the former Tesco boss along with Bill Currie, Iain MacDonald and Bob Willett from the William Currie Group, and Juno Capital a leading Angel Syndicate and will be used to accelerate its rapid international expansion.

In a press announcement today, Sir Leahy explained the move:

“Having been in the retail space for many years, I have seen how technology has and will continue to revolutionise the industry. Purple WiFi is a brilliant example of how additional value can be driven from an existing infrastructure. I’ve been incredibly impressed with what Gavin and the team have achieved to date. I very much look forward to helping them drive global expansion and adoption.”

Purple WiFi allows users to gain free access to a public WiFi network through their existing social media accounts or a short form. The user gets access to family friendly WiFi, while the benefit to the business hosting the service (such as a restaurant, hotel, shop, museum, sports stadium or shopping mall) is that they are rewarded with valuable analytic insights into the profiles and movements of their customers and a sophisticated built-in marketing platform.

CEO, Purple WiFi CEO Gavin Wheeldon said WiFi has now something that is expected, for free, ‘just as we expect access to heat, light and water.’

“But the big question in recent years has been how to monetise WiFi. Purple WiFi has created an innovative low cost solution that gives unprecedented analytics and insights, whilst driving true ROI for businesses. We have seen unimaginable interest and demand for the product, not just within the obvious sectors of retail, leisure and hospitality, but also unexpected sectors such as social housing, education and healthcare, where they want to use WiFi to communicate better and deliver services.”

Purple WiFi’s social media authentication covers an extensive number of global social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Weibo and VKontakte. The login journey and analytics platform are localised into 18 languages.

Thousands of venues globally have already been secured, with strongholds in Europe, Asia-pac and the Americas. Deep technology partnerships have already been established, most notably with Cisco, Cisco Meraki, BT, Telstra and Vodafone, but also many others. A channel organisation, Purple WiFi have distribution agreements with Ingram Micro and Westcon Comstor who are the two biggest in the world, along with a number of country specific ones.

Purple WiFi’s latest investment round was facilitated by Ernst and Young and legals were handled by Andrew Sturge, Partner at Turner Parkinson LLP of Manchester.