The London Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2019 Corporate Icon Award will be StarTech.com.
From the basement of a house in London, Ontario to a global leader in IT connectivity: it’s been a long but exhilarating journey for StarTech.com and its founders Paul Seed and Ken Kalopsis.
Back in 1985, when StarTech Computer Accessories was born, technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is now. Entrepreneurs to their core, Paul and Ken looked for ways to build a business around problems faced by technology users of the time. Their first products were keyboard dust covers and monitor anti-glare screens.
As the number of tech devices on the market grew exponentially, so did the need for products to connect them. Paul and Ken identified an opportunity to become the IT industry’s trusted advisor for device connectivity. Specializing in “hard-to-find”, the company grew its product line to offer the industry’s broadest selection of connectivity products including adapters, cables, docking stations and hubs supporting over 200 different technologies and connectors.
StarTech.com’s success stems from much more than its products offering. Customers continually comment that a key reason they turn to StarTech.com is the people who work there, their responsiveness, support and all the ways they make their jobs easier.
An early leader in Internet marketing, the company changed its name to “StarTech.com” in 1999. This name change reflected the importance its founders placed on the Internet to the company’s growth. This was a pivotal moment in the company’s history as it allowed it to reach customers in new markets. Its most rapid growth came in the US where it opened its first distribution centre outside of Canada in 2001. From there, the floodgates opened with expansion into Europe and its first European distribution centre in the UK in 2004.
In recent years, StarTech.com has grown its workforce to approximately 300 employees in London, ON and has also expanded into Asia, Australia and South America with close to 450 employees globally. The company now has operations in 20 markets and five continents around the globe and further expansion on the horizon. Its products are sold by over 60,000 resellers worldwide and are used by over 80% of Fortune 500 companies.
StarTech.com was included on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the US for 11 consecutive years and the Growth 500 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies for six consecutive years, demonstrating the company’s continued success. The Branham Group recently ranked StarTech.com as the eighth largest ICT hardware and infrastructure company in Canada based on revenue.
Being a leader in the community has always been a priority for StarTech.com. The company has developed a culturally diverse workforce led by a female president, Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, a rarity in the traditionally male dominated tech industry. Paul Seed has been a United Way board member, served as campaign chair in 2011 and has supported the organization for many years. Through its annual campaigns, StarTech.com and its employees have raised close to two million dollars to date and routinely has over 70% employee participation in charitable payroll deductions every year. StarTech.com supports over 40 other charities and non-profit organizations globally and encourages its employees to give back to the community by offering a paid volunteer day each year.
In 2014, StarTech.com partnered with The Ivey Business School at Western University to establish a new executive education program for London and region business people called Understanding Your Customer. The program was designed to help participants gain deeper insight into their customers and use the knowledge to grow their own businesses. To date over 60 local businesses and organizations have benefited from this resource.
“StarTech.com has grown to become a global company but London will always be home,” says StarTech.com CEO and founder, Paul Seed. “It’s really rewarding to see a company that started so humbly in the basement of a house, evolve into what it is today. While the business was founded by two entrepreneurs it is our amazing team members, past and present that have really driven our success. I look forward to continuing our journey with them and supporting our community, in London and around the globe.”