Eric Newell, Becky Newell, and Cody Marshall started Stoneridge Software, a Microsoft Partner firm, in 2012 in their hometown of Barnesville, Minnesota earning a revenue of $100,000 that year. In 2017, just five years later, this small town start-up exceeded over $16 million in revenue behind steady year over year growth. “We’ve been able to achieve this by setting out to make a difference in the market by consistently delivering successful business software implementations. What differentiates us is our process-centric implementation approach and our team’s product knowledge and tenacious nature,” explained Eric Newell.
The Journey to Stoneridge
As a child, Eric Newell had the aspiration to be an international businessman. After graduating high school in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Eric received a bachelor’s degree in management, French and economics from the University of Minnesota Morris. Upon graduating, Newell accepted a position as a regulatory analyst for a Fergus Falls company, which led to him realizing his passion. “After learning my role and improving some processes, I wanted to do more for the company. I decided to help digitize forms and applications around the office. I really enjoyed creating these efficiencies and this combined passion for business and technology has continued to drive my career,” stated Newell.
In the late 1990s, Becky Newell (Eric’s wife) began working for Great Plains Software in Fargo, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2001. Soon after, Eric became employed by Great Plains/Microsoft in 1999, working on the Microsoft Dynamics products. “Over the course of the next 13 years, I moved through the company in different IT and customer support roles… I was often called in to resolve project implementation problems that had become very challenging and complex. I enjoyed finding solutions to these situations and realized that many of the problems could have been avoided with a different approach and actions earlier in the project.” explained Newell.
The decision to start Stoneridge resulted from a combination of factors. “My experience at Microsoft was rewarding, but there weren’t any other roles within the company that I wanted. While helping customers overcome their implementation challenges I noticed that there was a need for more knowledgeable and more effective partners,” stated Newell. This led Newell act on his long-time dream of running his own business. Although the Newell’s had to answer a myriad of questions about what seemed like a risky decision leaving Microsoft, the two of them and Cody Marshall jumped into the market as a Microsoft Partner and were fortunate to quickly gain a following of customers.
The Key to Success
A unique approach to business software implementation and a team of outstanding consultants has been the advantage that Stoneridge has brought to the market. “In our first year, we grew from 3 employees to 18… Over the next year, our growth continued to multiply as we added well-known customers like Hallmark and Famous Dave’s, along with more top talent. Now at 80 employees, Stoneridge continues to grow in clients and team members. The company aims to be a revolutionary in the industry and continues to look for ways to provide efficiency and value to clients. For example, when Microsoft launched Dynamics 365, which includes customer relationship management (CRM) software, Stoneridge was prepared for this release. They had already begun to build its CRM practice in order to offer clients expertise in this area and a full suite of technology for every aspect of a business.
Currently, Stoneridge has two office locations, in Barnesville, Minnesota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. “We think it is a great opportunity to be a successful business in a small town… The community is supportive, our building, which is a former opera house, has a great story and it is great to have everything you need within walking distance,” stated Newell. The future of Stoneridge includes expanding into the agriculture industry with software solutions.
Learn more from Eric Newell and Stoneridge Software as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.