Our company has its origins in the ancient days of the internet, the far-off year of 1990.
Mantis Networks is a group of Business Management Software technicians, dedicated to improving your business through the use of our software, whether that is through our B-BBEE products or our Business Box.
It began with a family huddled around a kitchen table. Alasdair Yull, father of both our company and this family, was looking for a new challenge. At that time he was busy consulting but the contract-based nature of the work was frustrating to him. He turned to his son, Michael, and said that all they needed to was create a machine that regularly dropped food from the ceiling, so that their family would be provided for. His son didn’t know how to accomplish that but brought up something a little more achievable. He was interested in websites and believed they would have a future. So Mantis Networks was formed, its name an acronym containing the first letter of each member of the family’s name that helped found it.
Alasdair always said that he was a reluctant entrepreneur, although he had decades of experience working in tech, he never believed he would start a company. But it soon became clear that he had a hidden talent for leadership. Mantis Networks soon grew under his guidance becoming a company with over twenty employees. After more than a decade of work he reached a turning point in his career: Alasdair was asked to build a BEE calculator for a website. He built it first in excel, this later became the prototype for our current software.
Alasdair immersed himself in the complexities of BEE legislation, doing research for his calculator, finally emerging as an expert. Mantis began selling calculators soon after, leading Mantis Networks where it is today as a leading B-BBEE Software provider with the most accurate products on the market.
This, however, is not the end of our story.
Late 2011, Alasdair and Michael moved to the beach town of Salt Rock, Kwa-Zulu Natal in pursuit of a more creative mindset. While the fresh sea air rejuvenated their brains, it kept rusting out their servers, leading to them regularly losing lots of data. This annoyance became the spark that fired off a new direction for the company. Michael had long been interested in Google Cloud and online storage. They were able to purchase this software and found it revolutionary. It became their dream to build a fully digital office. Soon, a search began for a CRM. After many comparisons and tryouts Bitrix was found to be the most versatile.
There was a problem, however. Bitrix did not interface with Xero, their accounting platform. Mantis reached out and found that software was being developed that would solve this issue. Mantis was able to contact the developers and help them with the software’s implementation, creating their very own version of Bitrix, hosted in Cape Town.
And thus was born the Mantis One Business Box, a digital office.
We are still working hard to this day, improving our software and systems. Alasdair finally retired in 2022 but this has not stopped him from being busy; he is chairman of two KZN Child & Youth Care Centres caring for some 150 needy & vulnerable children and also assists with the annual entrepreneurial competition run by the Ilembe Chamber of Commerce.