Background to the business

Founded in 2001, Smoothwall is the market leading provider of dynamic web filtering technology for the education and public sectors. With both on-premise and cloud-based offerings it has an established presence in the UK and growing footprint in both the US and international markets. Smoothwall pioneered real-time, content aware analysis that filters incoming web traffic to protect school children and other audiences from inappropriate, illegal, or harmful websites. It serves over 7,400 UK educational institutions and helps protect c.3.5m people.

Tenzing has backed the incumbent senior management team, led by CEO Michael Marks. He will receive additional support from Lisa Stone (Chairperson), previously a director of Ullink, Achilles, Team Systems and SHL, and Richard Hurd-Wood (Technology Advisor), currently Chief Product Officer at Reward Gateway. Christian Hamilton and Rob Jones serve as Directors on the Smoothwall board.


Investment highlights

Tenzing will work with Michael, Lisa, Richard and the team at Smoothwall to drive sales growth and develop new products in the UK, US and international markets, drawing on further support from the Tenzing Entrepreneurs Panel as needed.

In June 2018, Tenzing supported Smoothwall’s acquisition of Future Digital, a digital safeguarding company. The companies have highly complementary product sets, enabling Smoothwall to provide customers with a range of safeguarding solutions, suited to their needs. This acquisition cements Smoothwall’s position as the number one provider of safeguarding technology in the UK education sector and comes as the company continues to grow its presence in the UK and internationally.





Company Website

Date of investment

October 2017




Technology, Media & Telecommunications


Leeds, UK


>90% Customer retention, £14m Revenue


October 5, 2017


Cyber security, Education technology, Live, MBO