Senacon future in doubt

Senacon future in doubt

Senacon, an Australian software development company that specialises in accounting and e-business software for the SME market, is rumoured to be on the rocks this week after running out of funding.

According to one source, Senacon's 20-plus staff was reduced to just three in recent weeks after the company ran out of venture capital funding. At present, both Senacon's office and toll-free numbers are disconnected.

Senacon rose to prominence last year after Perth-based couple Chris and Anne Percival moved their four-year old software development to the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. The software promised to fill a major hole in the SME market where accounting and e-business software was generally too expensive for small enterprises. The company received over $4 million in private funding by September 2000, and was able to hire a strong team of staff. It then appointed Tech Pacific as its distributor to attack the retail market.

Senacon's products sit on the retail shelves of chains like Harvey Norman and Harris Technology, other SME-focused retailers such as Officeworks, and smaller independent resellers.

George McKay, proprietor of Duncan Computer Services in South Australia, said he was not too concerned about the company like many of his peers, as Senacon's presence in his store never had the chance to move beyond the odd sale of its $10 demonstration pack. "I was surprised that someone would try and take on Quicken and MYOB in the first place," he said. "I don't think there was any room for anyone else."

A software purchasing manager at a large retail chain, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Senacon products had missed the mark as they were not completed products when released for sale (in that the point-of-sale modules were not in the first release). The source also believed Senacon's distributors would bear the brunt of the collapse, as several resellers were quick to return stock.

ARN has been unsuccessful in contacting the software developer. Senacon's investment partner, KPMG, and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission were unable to disclose any further information.

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