Three years ago, Charles Muirhead dropped out of college and borrowed £20,000 seed capital from a record producer friend to set up Orchestream in the basement of a funeral parlour. Since then, and initially on promise alone, the 24 year old has attracted some high-calibre investment from the likes of US business angel Esther Dyson and Acorn computer founder Hermann Hauser. He has also pulled in further funding of $8 million and is in the process of securing financing totalling $16 million.
Muirhead has come up with a simple idea that could have huge repercussions and save companies millions. He has developed a software that will reduce congestion on the internet by giving priority to important and time-sensitive data and documents. It's the internet equivalent of air traffic control at Heathrow, he says. Without the software, companies are forced to buy more expensive bandwidth to guarantee the speedy delivery of urgent documents.
The software recently won the best-of-show award at the internet's leading trade fair in Las Vegas.
Orchestream is expanding rapidly and Muirhead has plans to float the company on Wall Street. In the meantime, he is commuting between London and the US, talking with the major internet hardware manufacturers about compatibility to ensure the software can become part of the standard internet package.