Founders: Craig Broadbent, 48 Peter Murphy, 62
Head Office: Victoria
Industry: Information technology
Stonebridge Systems was born out of the global financial crisis, after founders Craig Broadbent and Peter Murphy had a revelation as executives at a software company that dramatically cut staff numbers when the crisis hit.
The pair advised the company against the measure, as companies in Australia were still buying the software and services that they were selling.
The company didn't listen and so Broadbent and Murphy started Stonebridge to address the gap created by the software company’s job cuts.
Right from the start cashflow has been an issue for Stonebridge Systems.
“Growing the business so dramatically without any financial backing has been a challenge,” says Broadbent.
“Banks are little help as they won't lend money unless you put up your house as collateral, which we did.”
At one point, the pair didn’t think they would have the cash to continue.
“We had grown rapidly over a four-month period and one of our customers in Singapore and another from Canada were not paying their invoices in a timely manner,” says Broadbent.
The pair ended up pleading with all of their customers to pay as promptly as possible.
“Luckily we were working with a large insurance company who paid all of our invoices early and averted the crisis,” says Broadbent.
“We then put in place new procedures to make sure our debtors ledger didn't get to that point again.”
The pair haven’t looked back and have now expanded overseas, with the goal of getting more and more of their revenue internationally.
“We have just opened an office in Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam and we have made contact with companies in Brazil and North America, where we think we can partner to grow our business,” says Broadbent.
In fact, things are going so well that Broadbent and Murphy have scrapped their exit plan.
“We originally had an exit plan. However, we are enjoying this so much that we don't know if the original plan will be put in place or not – we may just keep going and keep building!”