Matt Shanahan with his staff and family at Stream Networks
SINCE being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of just 10, Matt Shanahan has been driven to overcome any obstacle put in his way.
So when we he lost his job in 2006, he decided it was a good opportunity to create his own company.
Now, a decade on from that day Stream Networks looks set to record a £3m turnover and employs 15 people at its Newbury offices.
Despite his success, Matt, who lives in Wash Common with his wife, daughters and springer spaniel Scout, admits that he wasn’t very academic at school.
“When you get to my age you review things and I think having diabetes has made me who I am today,” says the 42-year-old.
“It is quite a traumatic thing to live with and I think it definitely shapes you. It isn’t curable and I have to inject myself every day, so it is always there.”
He grew up in Bucklebury and went to primary school in the surrounding villages, before moving on to The Downs School in Compton.
He then moved to Pangbourne College, where he spent three years, leaving with four GCSEs. He then started a business course at Newbury College and soon found himself working for an IT company in the town.
“That job involved selling computer components,” Matt explains. “The job moved to Woking and I moved with it and have stayed in IT ever since.”
Matt then worked in a variety of roles, for a number of companies over the years before finding himself out of a job in 2006.
“At that point I decided that I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore and I spent a year doing consultancy and working on setting up my own company,” he says.
“Then, in 2007, with no money left to pay the mortgage, I set myself a goal – get some investment by September or go out and get another job.
“But I persevered and by the end of September I managed to get some investment from one of my old customers, for a 50 per cent share in the business.”
The business started trading the following month and by April 2008 had turned over £50,000, working from Matt’s garden shed.
By the following year turnover was up to £220,000 and the company moved to an office in West Mills Yard, employing three additional people. It has continued to grow ever since.
Matt bought out his original partner in 2010 and the company, whose clients include Bremont Watches, Gardner Leader and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, began investing in its own network infrastructure. It then moved to its current, larger premises in 2013.
The company, which offers business communications provision, has achieved ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accreditation.
It also has G-Cloud 9 approval, which is a government purchasing framework that allows Stream Networks to sell cloud services to governmental departments.
“We will keep investing in the people and the infrastructure and continue to grow while remaining in control of our own future,” adds Matt.
“I have a responsibility to all of the staff here to run the business in a way that ensures that everybody has a job and they are looked after workwise and personally.
“We have had a pension scheme and health insurance scheme in place for many years now and we have just introduced a share option scheme for staff.”
Outside of work Matt is a keen runner and triathlete, who says sport is his way of relaxing after a tough day at the office.
He has undertaken a number of marathons, half marathons and triathlons and completed a 10km swim in aid of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
A team from the office has also taken part in a number of Boys Beating Cancer events over the past few years.