A software entrepreneur’s rapidly-expanding firm is looking to net sales of £1m.
The business, which has developed school fund management software, was set up in the garden shed of CEO Janis Green’s Bedfordshire home in 1992.
She said: “Back then, there were two of us, a programmer and me. I opted to set up in the shed as we had three young boys, so it was the only place to get some quiet time. It served as ‘the office’ for 10 years.”
After Green’s business partner retired in 1995, she decided to relocate to the North East to be nearer her parents.
“I found an office in St Thomas’ Street and hired my first employee but outgrew the space in a few months. We relocated to Charlotte Square and spent the next five years growing steadily as a business,” said Green.
However, in 2011, her firm, Pebble, outgrew its office and moved to Media Exchange.
She said: We have now grown to 21 staff since our first employee in 2005.
“Growth over the last three years has achieved 30% increased turnover year on year. To achieve our target of £1m will require an ambitious 35% increase in our current year. As at Dec 31 we are 16% through our financial year and 17% of our target, so with continued effort we’re confident of having a landmark year.”
The Ouseburn-based firm is currrently working with schools in North Tyneside on new software to transform the way parents pay for school trips and make the report-creation and the auditing process easier.
Janis Green said: “We are working with over 2,000 schools in the UK and more recently Dubai. We have a product that assists schools in applying for funding they may be unaware of.
“Our latest development enables two-way communication between a school and parents, allowing financial information and other documents and forms to be shared. Rather than a parent having to call the school or visit, they will be able to receive instant updates on payments they have made, see money owed, as well as download newsletters or consent forms for out-of-school activities.
Pebble has also rolled out its services to North Tyneside Council’s Catering Services and gained a new contract with West Sussex local education authority.
Green anticipates staffing levels to increase to 25 in the next 12 months. “We have employed apprentices in the past, two of whom are now full-time employees,” she said.
Green’s son, Ryan is MD overseeing the firm’s operations as it expands.