In the Beginning
Wesley Clover was the holding company put in place to facilitate the creation of Mitel Corporation in 1972. With a $3,600 loan, Mitel successfully developed and produced tone receiver technology that was used in the telecom industry transition from rotary-dial telephones to touch-tone phones. By 1975, the company had developed the first software-driven, private automatic branch exchange (PABX) telephone system, enabling the company to continue its success on a much greater scale.
The company grew and evolved and continues as a global leader in the business communications systems and software marketplace, serving more than 70 million business users in more than 100 countries.
Newbridge Networks is Born
In 1986, Terry went on to found Newbridge Networks Corporation, with a personal investment of $13.0 million. A small group of seed investors were invited to participate in the funding in 1987. That company grew organically, from no revenues in 1986, to $64.0 million in annual revenue at the time of its 1989 initial public offering. With Terry as the Chairman and CEO, Newbridge continued to grow into a global leader in the data networking industry. By 2000, the company employed more than 6,500 people worldwide and had annual revenues of $2.0 billion. Shortly afterward, Newbridge was sold to Alcatel for $10.32 billion.
Along the way, Wesley Clover developed a unique ‘Affiliate’ model of further investing, leveraging its larger portfolio companies and strategic partnerships to identify and gain early insight into emerging opportunities in the communications industry, and to act upon those opportunities. The first example of this model in practice was the formation in 1982 of Mitel Datacom Inc. With an initial investment of under $200,000, Mitel Datacom developed the first equal access dialer. Within three years, the revenues for this Affiliate company grew to more than $30.0 million, and reached $77.0 million by 2000, with gross profits of approximately 70%.
Trillium Telephone Systems Inc., another Mitel affiliate, was launched in 1983 with an initial investment of $13.0 million. By 1989, Trillium had achieved annual revenues of more than $65.0 million. These two investments set the stage for Wesley Clover to deploy its Affiliate investing model more fully after the formation of Newbridge.
The “Affiliate Program” is Launched
The formal Newbridge Affiliate Program started with a $1.5 million investment in Crosskeys Systems Corporation, which yielded proceeds of $49.8 million over time. Success was repeated with investments in Northchurch Communications Inc., FastLane Technologies, Inc., Cambrian Systems Corporation and Ubiquity Software Corporation, with each company selling for $595.0 million, $149.0 million, $448.0 million and $169.0 million respectively.
These companies all benefited tremendously from the direct involvement of Terry and the Wesley Clover team. As an early and often key investor, he was instrumental in identifying and selecting specific product development opportunities, structuring the technical and business teams, and developing the strategic and go-to-market plans of the companies.
Celtic House Investment Management Company
Between 1994 and 2000, Terry invested $55.5 million in a portfolio of 26 companies through Celtic House, another wholly-owned investment vehicle. Notable investments include Abatis Systems Corporation, Extreme Packet Devices, Inc. and Bookham Technologies Ltd. The Celtic House investment portfolio generated returns on investments (ROI) of more than nine times.
In 2002, the investment team that had been hired by Terry into Celtic House chose to spin out on their own and form Celtic House Venture Partners (“CHVP”). CHVP became an independent fund that was no longer related to that of the original Celtic House. Terry continued as a limited partner in the newly established CHVP, but he did not manage the new CHVP investments directly, and in 2006, he divested himself of his interests in CHVP.
An Impressive U.K. Resort
In 1980, Terry began to diversify his investments. The first step was the purchase of the Celtic Manor in the United Kingdom. Since he took ownership, the simple hotel has been transformed into a major, award winning European resort, golf and business conference destination. For example, the 2010 Ryder Cup Golf Tournament was hosted at the Resort. The resort is a multiple recipient of awards such as the Best Hotel in the UK. And not content to rest there, the 5000-delegate International Convention Center Wales, a joint venture with the Welsh government and other partners, opened for business at the site in 2019.
The Largest Technology Park in Canada
Further portfolio diversification came with the establishment in Ottawa of the Kanata Research Park in 1986. This facilitated the purchase over time of more than 500 acres of premium land and the development of Class A office accommodation with a total capacity of nearly 4,000,000 square feet. Central to that office park, the Marshes Golf Club and the four-diamond Brookstreet Hotel were opened in 2002 and 2003 respectively, providing world-class leisure, meeting, dining and hotel services for local and international patrons.
The Passion Continues to this Day
Terry began using Wesley Clover as a direct investment vehicle again several years ago, and the firm continues to operate as an investment management and holding company, focusing primarily on early-stage technology opportunities. A view of all the company investments over time is shown in this Track Record document. Current activities are listed under the Portfolios pages of this site. Of note, the global Alacrity initiative has been the cornerstone of the most recent team efforts. With locations in operation in Canada, the U.K., France, Turkey, India and Mexico, and others under consideration regularly, the number of funds, start-ups and successful companies continues to grow.