Making an impact in Kettering

“Whilst we are running and growing a profitable business, it has never been about making money for us. It has been about building relationships and working in the right way with other businesses to co-manage their IT infrastructure and technical needs.”

Talking to Steve Curtis, Founder and Technical Director at Monkey Tree Hosting, it is hard not to be impressed.

Jodie Lockley, Head of Marketing at Newlands Shopping Centre with Bradley Mayhew, Sales Manager of Monkey Tree Hosting
Jodie Lockley, Head of Marketing at Newlands Shopping Centre with Bradley Mayhew, Sales Manager of Monkey Tree Hosting

Steve started out teaching himself how to create websites 10 years ago. He then offered this as a service to a few clients, along with some hosting.

What makes this even more remarkable is that Steve was only 11 years old at the time. He continued to do this all through school and then, at the tender age of 16, straight after completing his GCSEs, he set up Monkey Tree Hosting with his brother David.

Steve says: “I didn’t want to go to college or university. I wanted to carry on with what I’d been doing and develop it further. After talking to my brother, we decided that he would come on board as an investor and partner and we set up Monkey Tree Hosting as a limited company in September 2012.

“There was no real reason behind the name Monkey Tree Hosting. We knew we wanted ‘hosting’ in there and, ideally, a three-word company name. It was as simple as me being outside and looking at a tree and I came up with it. People now comment on how memorable it is.”

Part way through the company’s second year in business, the brothers joined networking group BNI. There they met entrepreneur Paresh Parmar. Paresh saw something in Monkey Tree Hosting and wanted to get involved. He soon became the company’s third director.

“I call Paresh ‘my angel’,” reveals Steve. “His business acumen and experience has been invaluable. He really boosted the business and took it to the next level.”

Since then the business has grown exponentially at a rate of 1-200% year on year.

In July 2017, the business moved into a new 2,000 sq ft office on Brooklands Court in Kettering and has grown rapidly since. The company has gone on to work with several local businesses, including IT and web companies, to provide hosting that they can then resell on to their clients.

Monkey Tree Hosting has also diversified to offer hosted, secure desktop platforms for businesses to enable remote working, VOIP telephone systems, email exchange, domain registry, and cloud technology and data security services, including advice from specialist GDPR advisors.

“Because we own several of our own servers in secure data centres in the UK, we can provide a wide range of IT and communications solutions now. This means we can get to know each business we are working with and provide the correct, bespoke solution or service for the end user and offer informed advice,” explains Steve.

“Whilst we are running and growing a profitable business, it has never been about making money for us. It has been about building relationships and working in the right way with other businesses to co-manage their IT infrastructure and technical needs.”

One example of this, is a five-year contract with the Newlands Shopping Centre in Kettering to provide MonkeyFi, a free WiFi network to shoppers who visit the centre.

“The WiFi service we replaced was achieving broadband speeds of 1 – 2 Mbps and regularly kicking users offline. It simply couldn’t cope with the volume of users, which is around 30,000 a day according to our usage reports. Now with MonkeyFi, it is 50 – 60 Mpbs. We can do this as the MonkeyFi is backed to leased lines from a single trusted provider.

“We are really excited by this contract. We get to show tens of thousands of people in Kettering what we can do. It is a really exciting project and showcases the next generation of WiFi and what is possible.”