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Dave Stevens - From builder to buyer

James Henderson | June 7, 2017
In founding one of Australia's MSPs in Brennan IT, Dave Stevens explains the process of progression.

Dave Stevens (Brennan IT)
Dave Stevens, executive chairman of Brennan IT

In starting out in a loft in the inner west of Sydney, Balmain was the founding home of Brennan IT.

Built to service the Australian mid-market by four tech experts and enthusiasts, two decades later the one-time start-up now operates 6km west, slap bang in the central business district of Sydney.

During those 20 years, the business has blossomed into one of the leading managed services providers in Australia, still working closely with many foundation customers of 1997.

"You have to be delusional."

Said with a wry smile, with an undertone of truth, Brennan IT executive chairman Dave Stevens is no stranger to building a business.

In founding Brennan IT, Stevens has cemented his place in the channel through the creation of an industry leader, one that has amassed over 1,000 customers across a multitude of industries.

"Every entrepreneur is delusional," added Stevens, when delivering the keynote address at the ARN Judges' Lunch 2017 in Sydney. "You have to work off the belief that everything will work out and that you have to just keep trying and smashing through the barriers."

In short, it's about seizing the moment as an entrepreneur.

"When I look at the market, I ask, how can you make this better?" Stevens explained. "What is wrong with a particular technology in the industry or what makes customers constantly complain?

"If you've ever tried to catch a taxi at 3pm in Sydney then you'll know that the taxi industry for example has a huge problem. With those obvious things, there's opportunity to dive in and have a go as an entrepreneur.

"That's the kind of innovation that works best for Brennan IT, finding things that look wrong and then fixing it. Someone has to fix it."

Yet Stevens - who was inducted into the ARN Hall of Fame in 2015 - acknowledged that while appetite for entrepreneurship remains high in Australia, challenging market conditions remain for those looking to create the next high-flying technology start-up.

"Growing up in an industry that was growing up itself has provided an insight into how to change over time," Stevens observed. "But in looking back and in seeing how the market has changed, it was easier back then as things were different.

"It's harder now because over time the expectation of value has moved up markedly, and our ability to realise value has dropped. I think we are in a bit of a bubble right now and there will be a correction coming."


M&A mania

With an arsenal of capabilities around cloud computing, networking, unified communications, business transformation, security and digital disruption, Brennan IT continues to bring smart strategies to the industry, built around big and practical ideas.


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