Former Genie Systems finance chief Craig Brown believes he has learnt from the failure of his erstwhile employer and now knows the magic formula to help firms prosper.
Brown has set up a business to advise start-ups, Surestart Consulting.
Auckland-based Genie was forced into receivership by creditors last October. It has since been bought by private Sydney technology investor Smarter Capital, headed by Marcus Cake, and renamed OrderWare Solutions.
Brown blames a lack of venture capital brought about by an IT downturn, reinforced by September 11, for the company’s demise, rather than poor management. It was a common theme for IT companies. Genie had gone a long way down the market to raise funds, but like other companies, found it could not close the deals.
Brown is confident his Genie experience will hold him in good stead. “You can say we have learnt most of what we need to know to avoid it happening again.”
Orderware Solutions employs Surestart on a part-time basis but to date Brown has no other clients.
He says following Genie’s purchase by Smarter Capital he felt it was “time to start a new page” in his career. Brown, who was finance chief at Genie for 18 months, also points to auditing experience in London for British Airways and Lloyds Insurance. He took Lower Hutt-based MAS Technologies, now called DMC-Stratex, to list on the Nasdaq market in June 1997 and gained branch reporting experience working with its South African, Australian and Asian branches.
Brown says there are many firms in New Zealand on the same growth path at DMC-Stratex, getting systems in place, enjoying their first overseas deals and appointing external boards of directors.
He says he can help them put financial systems and controls in place to prepare them for growth and expansion into worldwide markets. For instance, intellectual property needs to be protected with enforceable licences and help is needed to prepare rigorous financial models for attracting venture capitalists.