Hive Five – Nortrak

As we rapidly approach The Hive’s 5th Anniversary, in May 2019, we thought we’d catch up with some of our tenants (old and new) to hear more about them. Tony Norton of Nortrak is our newest tenant…

Introduction

In early 2019, Tony Norton became The Hive’s new kid on the block and is now settling into his office to focus on his latest business venture, Nortrak.

Meet Tony

Tony Norton outside The Hive
Tony Norton

Tony is a man of many talents and business successes (alongside an impressive moustache). Leaving school with no formal qualifications, his energy and entrepreneurial drive helped him found, develop and sell on many companies across various industries, his technical knowledge and expertise expanding along with his commercial portfolio en-route. With a career that has leaned towards engineering and civil engineering – with a recent segue into App development for Apple – he’s become ‘expert by default’ as he modestly states, learning through trial and error to really know what makes people and businesses tick.  

Tony’s always been stimulated by emerging technologies and his businesses reflect this, flourishing at the R&D, early adoption and market growth stages. Tony was a founder of Draincare Environmental, which provided cutting-edge camera equipment to water authorities to help them survey more cost-effectively. He was also founder of ADIEN, industry leaders in the ground-probing radar and underground utility detection market. After building the business up for seven years, he sold it to Pipehawk plc. The kit and methods he developed helped mobile phone networks and the construction and utility industries save time and millions of pounds when planning huge infrastructural projects. They could minimise disruption and learn what was beneath the ground without the need for expensive trial holes or excavation. Applying similar technology, Pipehawk plc also developed mine-seeking technology and had its ground-probing radar used on the TV archaeology show, Time Team. One key idea, multiple applications.

So, what’s Tony’s new venture and why has he chosen to base his business at The Hive?

What does Nortrak do?

“Nortrak focuses on tracking devices for non-powered assets. Many expensive items such as cars or boats have electronic trackers hard-wired in, so they can be tracked in the event of theft or misfortune. Nortrak’s battery-operated trackers are designed for use with assets that do not have their own electricity supply. Our tracking devices are tamper-proof and take advantage of the emerging technologies of very long-life batteries and movement sensors. They can function for up to seven years without needing attention. Lost a shipping container few a few years? Track it down to within three metres with Nortrak. Sample markets for our asset trackers would be agriculture, transport logistics and construction.”

Why The Hive?

When it was time to get premises for his new venture, Tony sought a professional business environment that would reflect the nature of his business. Somewhere he could invite clients of any calibre and not be embarrassed. He says, “I sought the right kind of place for the kind of business I wanted to run. For me and for Nortrak in Weston, that was The Hive.”

Hive horizons

Tony’s business model is to get in there at the beginning, ride the wave while it’s high and know when to get out. Nortrak is in its exciting formative stages, with significant growth on the horizon for the years ahead.

Tony says, “As companies experience significant growth, the logistics grow too. Competition increases, market prices come down, staffing costs increase and everything gets more complicated. Things can start to fray around the edges and the focus can shift from product innovation to business administration. For that reason, I love exploring new markets and working with new and emerging technologies, then selling up and moving on.”

Tony says he’s been impressed with the calibre of the other firms at The Hive. Without revealing too much (like a great magician – and possibly one with a similar moustache), Tony admits that he’s already having conversations with another company based there that’s carrying out advanced R&D in the movement sensor field. With an existing interest in tracking and proximity beacons, this has crossover for Nortrak’s asset trackers. Let the pollination begin.

Tony’s ‘Hive Five’ highlights

  • NSEA events such as Cyber Security events.
  • The Hive’s professional infrastructure.
  • Inclusive office cleaning and maintenance.
  • High-speed internet connectivity.
  • Social gatherings (Cake Wednesday) and networking events.