High-tech firm in Portsmouth relocates due to expansion

Loadbalancer.org's husband-and-wife team Malcolm Turnbull, far right, and Karen Turnbull are pictured here with Peter Outen, centre manager at Portsmouth Technopole

A technology company which makes website browsing and buying ultra-fast for millions of us is to relocate within Portsmouth due to expansion.

Loadbalancer.org, led by husband-and-wife team Malcolm and Karen Turnbull, has expanded so much that it has outgrown its home of seven years at Portsmouth Technopole, the serviced office and business support centre at the city gateway to the M275.

The company, which saw Malcolm diagnosed with leukaemia just as the business was getting off the ground 13 years ago, has acquired the freehold of Compass House, a 9,400 sq ft premises at Compass Road.

Loadbalancer.org sprung into life when Karen provided £400 seed investment – she saw first-hand the commercial potential from Malcolm building his own hardware version of motorway fast lanes, known in the IT industry as loadbalancers.

He said: “I couldn’t afford to buy one with the right specifications to meet my robust requirements, so I designed and built a loadbalancer myself. It is an IT version of DIY, with plenty of patience required.

“Soon we found ourselves selling them to a keen market, with our bespoke software at the heart of what we do.

“Loadbalancers are crucial to e-commerce – they distribute online traffic across servers so that there are no snarl-ups, lagging and costly website crashes.

“As a browser, you get ultra-fast speeds so your online experience isn’t one buffering frustration after another.”

The company now has 22 staff in the UK as well as offices in the USA, Canada and Germany.

Customers include household names such as O2, BT, BBC, hotels giant Premier Inn, Mercedes Benz, fashion e-tailer asos, Vodafone, beauty products manufacturer Estée Lauder, drinks giant Barcardi, fashion chain River Island, the NHS, Selfridges & Co.

Portsmouth-based Wiggle, the online cycle, run, swim & triathlon shop, Hampshire County Council and the University of Cambridge are also clients.

Malcolm said: “We’re sad to be leaving Portsmouth Technopole, which has been our business home for seven years, providing us with phenomenal support which helped us grow.

“However, as the Technopole’s operator, Oxford Innovation, says, the whole idea is for firms like Loadbalancer.org to flourish on site and then fly the nest when they have grown too big for the space.”

Centre manager Peter Outen said: “What Malcolm and Karen have achieved here is incredible and they leave us at the beginning of March with our very best wishes for the future.

“Loadbalancer.org is an inspirational example of a start-up which has scaled up at the Technopole to become an early-stage, and then mature, success story.

“The firm’s relocation frees up 1,400 sq ft on our third floor for the next ambitious start-up to follow in the footsteps of Karen and Malcolm.

“Their story is one where adversity has been overcome. From starting out with a modest loan of £400 and Malcolm’s illness in 2003 and 2004.

“Malcolm and Karen never lost sight of their business goal and, with Malcolm making a full recovery, Loadbalancer.og has become a superb example of a Hampshire business enhancing the functionality of websites millions of us use every day.”

There are 37 registered firms, with nearly 200 people employed between them, at Portsmouth Technopole in Kingston Crescent.

An office package includes telephone answering and message services, reception services, mail handling, use of meeting and conference rooms and access to networking events, workshops and business support.

The centre, owned by the University of Portsmouth, is run by Oxford Innovation, which operates 20 similar innovation centres across the country on behalf of freeholders and local authorities.

Oxford Innovation turns empty property – old or new – into thriving serviced offices to meet the support needs of start-up or growing firms