Things were tough economically in 2009, especially in the banking sector. So Ted Theodoropoulos decided to quit his job at Bank of America Corp. and turn his part-time information-technology consulting work into a full-time business.
Theodoropoulos has never regretted the decision to go solo. Today, with 12 employees (half of them based in eastern Europe), his company, Acrowire, offers cloud-based services, custom application development, business process improvement and website strategy and development.
Cloud technology has become a “large chunk” of the firm’s work, he says.
Acrowire’s revenue in first four month of this year topped the firm’s total for all of 2011. Theodoropoulos says the company’s sweet spot is providing services to businesses in the shipping, legal and financial-service sectors with annual revenue of $5 million to $100 million. Three-quarters of his clients are Charlotte-based. His oldest and largest client — harking back to his days as a part-time consultant — is shipping company Maersk, whose North American headquarters is in the Queen City.
“When times are tough and companies focus more on efficiency, that’s when we do well,” Theodoropoulos says. “Growth has been healthy and robust, but manageable.”
He says using both offshore labor and local talent helps Acrowire in several ways. “There’s cost-savings but also the availability of quality talent and resources, plus work-flow benefits. The Europeans start work at midnight (Charlotte time), so as soon as we come to work here, we can start building on their work. It’s a ‘follow the sun’ approach.”
Acrowire’s use of Six Sigma techniques also differentiates it from its competitors. “Process improvement and technology mix well,” notes Theodoropoulos, a Six Sigma black belt. “By using Six Sigma, we can understand a client’s business and provide them with tangible dollar savings.”
DID YOU KNOW?
While he was a math major at UNC Chapel Hill, Theodoropoulos started a collections agency to help his mother collect on bad checks she received at her hoagie shop. That’s when he got turned on to IT. He eventually sold the agency to family members. He also has an MBA from UNC Charlotte.