A former Equanet account manager who was made redundant when Kelway acquired the firm has set up his own reseller which he hopes will grow to rival some of the UK's largest.
The IT Box is a Bury-based start-up VAR which focuses on selling hardware and infrastructure to the public sector and is headed up by Dean Mason (pictured).
Mason worked at Insight and PC World Business before he moved to Equanet in 2011 where he stayed until he was made redundant last year.
He claims to have turned down offers of work from other resellers in order to branch out and be his own boss.
"I managed the NHS accounts and I thought ‘do I really want to go and pick this up again [for someone else]?' I thought ‘no, I've done it long enough to know what I'm talking about and how to get on frameworks and sell'. So it went from there and I literally set up from my bedroom."
Mason now operates from a small office in Bury as a one-man band but hopes to hire about five people in the coming years – one or two apprentices and the rest more senior staff.
Since the business started trading in September it has turned over a six-figure sum. Mason said he eventually hopes to rival some of the other big channel firms based in the Manchester area.
"There are a lot of big boys up here and I am hoping to join them," he said. "There's Insight – who I used to work for – and Kelway with the old Equanet business in a nice office in the city centre. But we've not got the overheads they have got and I've got the opportunity to grow here too."
The IT Box already works with distributors such as Tech Data, Northamber and Midwich and stocks about 50,000 products on its website.
He said that although his business focuses heavily on hardware, he is not concerned what impact the ailing PC market might have on trade.
"[Customers] are always buying something – it's not like they are just not buying anything," he said. "There is always new technology and we've seen a lot go down the tablet route and mobile computing so far."
Former Equanet colleagues also facing the axe were asked by Mason to join him in his new venture, but many were not brave enough.
"I asked one or two but they said it was too big a risk," he said. "They got offers from elsewhere with salaries and commission. But I wanted to go for it. A lot of people said I am crazy... but I have not looked back whatsoever."
We caught up with the Atea chief exec at CRN's European Channel Leadership Forum in London
Andy Gillett has been appointed GM for the UK and Ireland
UK is one of two countries to see rollout of vendor's newest subscription service