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Daniel Houden, 2009 Anthill 30under30 winner

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative that was launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. Anthill’s editorial team then trawls through hundreds of applications and identifies and profiles the top 30 Australian entrepreneurs under the age of 30. The process culminates in an event held in Melbourne where the 30 winners network and celebrate. We’ve been releasing profiles of this year’s Anthill 30under30 winners via our Twitter account – youngest to oldest.

Name: Daniel Houden

Age: 26 (b. 1983)
State: NSW
Industry: IT
Company: Task Retail Technology

Daniel Houden started software developing when he barely knew how to use Microsoft Word. Four years later he presented at the Microsoft Conference with his software product, Xchangexec.

“I knew what our clients wanted, so I just had to ‘tool up’ and learn how to program, because that was the only way I could see it happening,” says Houden. He’s now a software architect, system designer, team leader, business developer, client manager, concept marketer… and a 2009 Anthill 30under30 winner.

Using cloud technology and Microsoft infrastructure, Xchangexec is a retail point-of-sale system that can be accessed globally. It has attracted the interest and partnership of industry heavy-hitters such as Dell, NCR, Cisco and Pacnet. He launched the product in 2006 with five people and one office, and now employs 15 staff across three offices. Revenue increased by 300 percent in 2009 and over 400 customers installed the software, including household brands such as Donut King, Michel’s Patisserie and Brumby’s Bread.

“From the time I ran my first dance party at the age of 17, I’ve always been looking for opportunities to create something and make it fly,” says Houden. He started working in the family business but was immediately frustrated by the limitations imposed by selling and supporting a supplier’s products.

So he rebelled and started cracking his own code. At one time it almost destroyed the family unit, but the light finally shone when his first Xchangexec client came on board. The monster he had been creating in the lab grew really long legs.

Last year the company won the Dell Small Business Award, Consensus Software Award and was a finalist for the Microsoft ISV Partner of the year.

When he’s not developing new products, Houden can be found in meetings with Michael Dell.


What motivates you as an entrepreneur?

It started as necessity as my family business had a gun held to its head by our only supplier. This caused me to look at things in a different way. From there, everywhere I look I try and think of better ways to do things and to solve problems. Today I am motivated by the impact my creations have on other people/businesses. I could create one feature in our software that could save small family businesses hours a week, so they can do other things like spend time with their family.


Daniel Houden talks about winning the DELL Small Business Excellence (Australian) Award and his experience visiting Dell.