First Software was founded in 1995 as a management buy-out from Oracle Corporation. The Alderley Edge-based company, which has operations as far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and Canada, supplies software to local authorities and housing associations, and has more than 200 customers worldwide. First Software’s products include revenue collection, benefit payment and housing management systems. It packages the systems as First Housing, First Revenues and First Benefits. In 1998 the company, together with partners Oracle and Sun Microsystems, pioneered the concept of the ‘Virtual Town Hall’, which allowed people access to integrated public services. Profits have grown 62% a year, from £1.1m in 1996 to £4.7m in 1999, when sales reached £19.8m. First Software was bought by Northern Ireland-based Sx3, which is part of the Viridian Group, for an undisclosed sum in May 2000.
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