Bechtle’s remarkable success as an IT provider has spanned more than 35 years. Founded in Heilbronn, Germany, in 1983, it has grown from a microbusiness to an established international partner delivering future-facing IT. We’re firmly anchored in our local region, yet globally connected. And our 8,000 employees strive each and every day to turn your IT projects into a resounding success.
On 21 July 1983, Bechtle GmbH EDV-Technik is founded as a microbusiness by Professor Klaus von Jan, Ralf Klenk and Gerhard Schick. Operating out of a 70 m² commercial building in the centre of Heilbronn, it focuses on programming and marketing technical calculation software while also selling Apple, BASIS and Victor Sirius computers. In its first abbreviated fiscal year, the fledgling company earns 66,000 German marks.
One of the first Apple computers.
Bechtle’s first-ever offices.
Ralf Klenk consulting with an employee.
Bechtle floppy disk.
One of Bechtle’s first invoices.
In January, Bechtle becomes a certified IBM distributor and moves into 180 m² of new office space. Its staff now totals six people, including Bechtle’s first vocational trainee. Business is humming along, with revenues climbing to some 2,245,000 German marks.
Office equipment of a bygone era.
Computer connections in 1985.
A 1980s office.
IBM products sold by Bechtle in 1985.
By 1989, Bechtle has established itself as the market leader in its region. It moves into a new office building at Europaplatz, doubling its office space to more than 1,300 m². For the third time in a row, Bechtle is recognised as Quality Dealer of the Year by IBM—the last time the title is awarded. Through the hard work of its 37 employees, Bechtle’s revenues surge by more than 50 percent to roughly 13,015,000 German marks.
Bechtle’s office at Europaplatz in Heilbronn, 1989.
Company vehicle advertising Bechtle.
A 1980s office.
A 1980s office.
A 1980s office.
In late 1991, Bechtle’s first catalogue—consisting of 32 black-and-white pages—paves the way for the company’s commerce brand, Bechtle direkt, to cross regional borders. Its systems integrator business focuses on network communications, technical solutions and training, with technical services becoming increasingly important. Now employing 85 people, Bechtle is among southern Germany’s largest systems integrators. Although the hardware market is subject to dramatic price wars, Bechtle’s revenues continue to grow, reaching 23,342,000 German marks.
Cover of the first Bechtle catalogue.
A 1990s training room.
Pile of floppy disks.
Following the bankruptcies of two competitors, Bechtle seizes the opportunity to expand further by opening two offices outside Baden-Württemberg. On 1 January, nine former employees of the IBM systems integrator Computer Martin join Bechtle GmbH EDV-Zentrum in Würzburg. In July, Software Direkt (Maier + Partner) in Chemnitz is added to the fold, representing another stone in Bechtle’s foundation for a Germany-wide network of IT systems integrators. This same year, the Group adopts its Vision 2000, aiming to achieve 100 million German marks and launch an IPO by the turn of the millennium. For the time being, however, Bechtle revenues continue to grow apace, totalling approximately 33,850,000 German marks. Its staff at the time numbers 100 people.
1990s advertisement for the new office in Würzburg.
Würzburg systems integrator in the 1990s.
Würzburg employees in 1993.
Decal for the new office in Chemnitz.
Chemnitz systems integrator.
The same year Amazon and eBay are founded in the US, Bechtle launches its website, www.bechtle.de, making the Group a pioneer in the e-commerce market. Once again, Bechtle grows rapidly, acquiring Pazdera Computer in Karlsruhe and thereby enabling extensive market coverage in northern Baden-Württemberg. Another location, this time in Leipzig, is also added. These new locations bear fruit immediately, driving a three-fold increase in revenues to some 115,200,000 German marks within a single year and boosting staff numbers to 150.
Bechtle is online.
Catalogue issued by Pazdera Computer, a Bechtle Group company.
Karlsruhe systems integrator.
The number of Bechtle locations increases to 13, extending the Group’s broad coverage to Saxony and neighbouring parts of Thuringia. Bechtle also breaks into the ranks of Germany’s top five systems integrators. For the first time ever, it takes its commerce business across national borders, founding Bechtle direkt AG in Switzerland and doubling its staff to 320. Revenues continue their upward trajectory, reaching 170,000,000 German marks.
New location in Freiburg. (Ralf Klenk and Rainer Weyh)
With the addition of another five offices, Bechtle is now represented in 18 locations across Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony. The Group establishes its own installation centre, and Bechtle direkt also founds a subsidiary in the UK. The investment firm BWK GmbH acquires an interest in Bechtle and remains Bechtle’s second largest shareholder to this day. Revenues total some 250,000,000 German marks, generated by 510 employees.
Bechtle AG launches its initial public offering on 30 March at an issue price of 27 euros. Demand for the new share greatly exceeds supply and the Bechtle share oversubscribes twelve-fold. This injection of capital is put to good use expanding the Group into France and Belgium while also establishing an additional location in Dresden and acquiring five further system houses. Thus strengthened, the Group boasts 30 locations, 1,680 employees and revenues of approximately 955,000,000 German marks.
Bear and bull figurines.
Bechtle newspaper advertisement.
Bechtle moves into its new headquarters in Neckarsulm, located at the eponymous address Bechtle Platz 1. The Group’s share is also taken up in the German technology index TecDAX. Bechtle takes over Swiss-based ARP Datacon Group—one of Europe’s largest IT e-commerce providers—marking the start of a multi-brand e-commerce strategy. In addition, Bechtle direkt ÖA is established to cater exclusively to public-sector customers. Ralf Klenk takes over as Chairman of the Executive Board while Gerhard Schick becomes Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Bechtle reaches a significant milestone, surpassing 1 billion euros in revenues through the dedication of its 3,178 employees.
Dedication of Bechtle’s new headquarters.
Sign at Bechtle Platz 1.
Executive Board standing in the foyer.
Family & Friends Day.
Family & Friends Day.
ARP Datacon catalogue.
Four acquisitions in as many countries reinforce both Bechtle’s systems integration and e-commerce segments. The Group’s ARP brand continues to expand internationally, establishing a new online shop for France, while subsidiary Comsoft direct leads Bechtle further into the software licensing market. The Executive Board raises its earnings guidance three times—a testament to Bechtle’s profitability. Revenues advance by more than 13 percent to 1.38 billion euros and pre-tax earnings gain 29 percent to 59 million euros. Bechtle’s workforce continues to grow as well, numbering 4,250 employees.
Bechtle celebrates its 25th anniversary and continues its success story with another record-setting year. While the systems integrator business enters the Austrian market, the e-commerce segment expands into Ireland through Bechtle direct, which is now represented in ten countries. Founder and long-time Executive Board chairman Ralf Klenk steps down after 25 years at the helm. Revenues rise to 1.43 billion euros and staff increases to 4,405 employees.
ChannelPartner Award: Best System House.
Expansion of Neckarsulm headquarters.
In the midst of the worst economic crisis of the post-war era, Bechtle remains confident in the Group’s ability to prevail, establishing yet another e-commerce subsidiary—this time in Portugal, Bechtle’s eleventh country. Group headquarters are also expanded to accommodate 1,000 employees. Vision 2020 sets the course for Bechtle’s future, aiming to achieve 5 billion euros in revenues and 10,000 employees. In 2009, however, Bechtle’s revenues amount to 1.38 billion euros and its workforce totals 4,354 employees.
CCI business forum.
2009 Executive Board.
With its newest subsidiary in Poland, the e-commerce brand Bechtle direct is now present in twelve European countries. Bechtle also acquires the iits group of system houses (taking over four locations in northern Germany) as well as HTH Consulting GmbH, located in St Pölten, Austria. CAD software specialist Solidpro Informationssysteme GmbH, which has nine locations throughout Germany, also joins the Bechtle Group. Revenues reach a record-breaking 1.72 billion euros, and the number of employees rises to 4,800.
2010 Competence Days.
Gerhard Schick honoured by the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Bechtle’s marathon team.
This entire year is focused on laying the foundation for Bechtle’s future. Major events include further acquisitions, new locations in Ulm and Augsburg, as well as a new e-commerce company in Hungary. In addition, the brand-new Bechtle Remarketing GmbH subsidiary adds another dimension to Bechtle’s portfolio. Over 500 employees are added to the payroll, bringing the total to 5,970. They are offered more opportunities than ever before to develop skills, acquire qualifications and attain certifications. Bechtle also receives several awards recognising its performance and customer satisfaction. Construction to expand Bechtle’s headquarters is completed, increasing the building’s capacity to 1,650 employees.
Strategic alliances with IT suppliers PC Connection in the United States, Atea in Scandinavia and the Baltic states, and Lexel in New Zealand and Australia set the stage for truly global service.