Credit is due to David Blechner for the vision, entrepreneurial spirit and energy that have driven the growth and development of Star Computer Group since its formation more than 40 years ago.

David Blechner

 Joined forces

Having worked for NCR in the UK, David set up and ran his own consultancy and software house in Germany where he met Jack Schumann. Jack also had his own business, providing management consultancy and software services in Germany, Austria and France.

David and Jack joined forces to found Star Computer Group in 1973, with the idea of bringing affordable computerized accounting services to a wide range of organizations, from the sole trader upwards. At the time, a mainframe computer - with less processing power than today's average smartphone - took up huge amounts of climate controlled space, needed highly skilled programmers and operators and was beyond the financial reach of all but the largest of organizations.

1973 & vat

The partners' solution was to set up a computer bureau operation, renting processing time on a mainframe computer owned by one of the UK's largest package holiday companies, and sharing the cost across Star's customer base.

When the UK finally joined the European Community on 1st January 1973 and Value Added Tax was introduced from 1st April that year, organizations had to deal with its unfamiliar complexities. Jack and David were already well-versed in VAT through their experience in Germany, so they seized the opportunity to provide a computerized accounting service in the UK, initially to firms of accountants and their clients, and subsequently to industrial and commercial companies.

David Blechner and Jack Schumann

New concept

This concept of offering a computerized service was new to the UK accountancy profession and the bureau turnover grew slowly to begin with - yet three years later, they were providing their service for over 500 clients of 100 accountancy firms, together with around 100 direct commercial users.

By then, technology was moving at a tremendous pace and David and Jack, who had become co-chairmen of the rapidly expanding group, recognized that the development of the business microcomputer had reached the stage where the availability of low cost in-house computing power was a potential threat to the bureau business.

Mael 2000

So they decided to complement the bureau service with Star's own branded microcomputer systems, pioneering the provision of in-house turnkey computer systems complete with standard software packages. The first of these, launched in January 1978, was the Star Mael 2000 desktop microcomputer with a single VDU and floppy disk storage.

Mael 2000
Star Computers

Star Auditor

This was followed by more powerful minicomputer systems - the Star Auditor range which led to the group setting up its own engineering division to handle assembly, installation, preventative maintenance and repair of the hardware. This was the foundation of Star's engineering, technical, development, consultancy and support services at the heart of the group’s culture and ongoing commitment to clients today.

Star Computer Group plc

Keen to fund continued investment and expansion, David and Jack decided to take the group public. In 1981, Star was one of the first IT companies to float on the USM (Unlisted Securities Market), and subsequently became a PLC (Public Limited Company) with a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

London Stock Exchange
Pizza Express

Pizza Express

But by 1993, Star decided it was time to relinquish its listing, instead choosing to focus attention on its operating businesses. This was achieved first via the acquisition of PizzaExpress, the upmarket restaurant group and then the management buyout of the current software solutions business. Both companies continue to flourish nearly a quarter of a century later!

4 decades on

Now, over four decades since it was founded, Star's geographic spread is considerable, with loyal and highly experienced staff - many of whom have been with the company for several decades - supporting customers in over 60 countries across 19 time zones, from offices in Watford near London in the UK, Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, and Chicago.