Are Atlassian, Freelancer and Bigcommerce the George Clooney poster boys for Aussie tech? Photo: Reuters
From showbiz to technology, every industry is the same – a handful of George Clooney types enjoy a seemingly permanent position in the spotlight while their less glamorous brethren beaver away in the background.
In the Australian tech world, sexy start-ups such as Atlassian, Freelancer and Bigcommerce are rarely out of the headlines while dozens of long-established, lower profile operators continue to fly under, or have fallen off, the radar.
IT Pro meets 10 of them.
Still going strong in its fifth decade, Hansen set up shop in 1971 and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2000. A billing and customer care software developer for the energy, telecommunications and payTV industries, it has 500 staff, customers in 45 countries and recorded turnover of $63.8 million in 2013.
Task Retail Technology
Privately owned by its founders the Houden family, Sydney developer Task Retail entered the software game in 2000 and now employs 40 staff. It’s carved out a niche supplying point of sales systems to local chains including Donut King and Brumby’s Bakeries and a swathe of large venues and clubs. US customers include Sizzler, Snap Kitchens and Pie Face.
Another 20th century veteran, Sydney-based ASI entered Australia’s fledgling IT distribution business back in 1985 under the trading name Annabelle Bits. Founded by husband and wife team Ken and Maree Lowe, who remain at the helm, it’s a long-standing middleman for multinational vendors including Epson, Lenovo, Seagate and Intel and employs 170 staff across Australia.
Founded by chief executive Danny Wallis in 1991, national ICT consultancy firm DWS hit the acquisition trail in 2006 and has since swallowed up seven competitors in the software and services space including GlobalSoft Australia, Equest Consulting, Strategic Data Management and Groundhog Software. Publicly listed since 2006, its turnover reached $109 million in 2012.
Cloud service provider Bulletproof competes with the likes of Telstra, Rackspace and Macquarie Telecom and has amassed a portfolio of more than 400 clients in the government and corporate sectors, including discount retail chain Aldi. Co-founded in 2000 by internet executive Anthony Woodward, it went public in January this year, following a reverse takeover of Spencer Resources.
Headquartered in Sydney, 30-strong Holocentric has found markets for its Modelpedia document management software as far afield as Iceland and Indonesia. Closer to home, its systems have hit the mark with public sector clients including the Department of Defence, the NSW Transport Management Centre, and household name corporates including Westpac and Qantas.
Managed services provider Brennan has built an $80 million a year business servicing the often-neglected small to medium business market. Founded by Dave Stevens in 1997, the firm has featured in the BRW Fast 100 list seven years running and employs 240 staff nationally.
Short for People, Security and Communications, PS&C has evolved into an ICT mini-conglomerate following the 2013 merger and subsequent listing of five high tech ventures founded by Brad Allan, Adrian Wischer and Kevin McLaine. Employing 300 staff across its three business units, PS&C’s customers include the likes of Westfield, Toyota and Telstra. Revenue is expected to hit $75 million in 2014.
Founded in 1988 and publicly listed in 2000, Integrated Research’s Prognosis software is deployed to keep tabs on business-critical systems, by banks, telcos, stock exchanges and the resources sector in 50 countries. Based in Sydney, IR has branches in the US, Europe, and Asia and employs 200 staff. Revenue reached $48.9 million in 2013.
Established by developer Ben Duncan in 1999, privately owned Atmail has been carving out a niche in the email messaging space ever since. Based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the firm employs 30 staff and has amassed 4500 customers globally, including ISPs, telcos and government agencies.
What unsung high-tech heroes have we missed? Shout them out in the Comments.