Brenda Stallings’ Jasper-based information technology firm has come a long way since it was launched out of a music store she opened in the 1970s.
And with recent expansions into the Indianapolis and Louisville markets, Matrix Integration—which bills itself as a strategic IT infrastructure partner—has plans to go even farther.
The 75-employee company has annual revenue of $30 million and is shooting to grow that to $100 million by 2027. Three-fourths of that growth will come from the Indianapolis market, points a bit farther north in Indiana, and Louisville, said Nathan Stallings, the son of the founder and president of the growing company.
“That’s what we call our big, harry audacious goal,” Nathan Stallings said.
The company has what some might consider strange roots. It was founded in 1979 as a Radio Shack franchise in Jasper. It operated alongside Brenda Stallings’ music store, Sound of Music, which sold sheet music and instruments along with tapes and CDs.
Soon, the computer firm's revenue had surpassed the music business as Brenda Stallings expanded into computer education in the 1980s—training lots of K-12 school teachers among others—then growing into telecommunications equipment and systems integrations. Matrix Integration emerged as the company moniker in 1997.
“At some point we realized for us to grow as a company, we had to go beyond Jasper,” Nathan Stallings said.
The company’s growth strategy included narrowing its focus and ratcheting up its expertise in computer hardware and systems integrations, Stallings told IBJ.
In 2005, Stallings opened an Indianapolis branch of the company in a small downtown apartment where he lived. The company grew out of the apartment to an office in Carmel and then migrated in 2015 to a larger office in Fishers where it is today.
Overall, the company has carved out a niche working with mid-market companies with 200 to 4,000 employees in the government, education, manufacturing, financial services and utilities sectors. The company also has a division that focuses on companies and institutions with fewer than 200 employees.
In Indianapolis, the company has a strong niche working with state and local government entities on IT infrastructure, Stallings said.
The company moved into Louisville in 2001 through an acquisition and has seen strong growth there recently.
“Indianapolis and Louisville are our biggest market areas,” Stallings said. “A lot of that has to do with population and density.”
With increased opportunity has come increased competition for the small Jasper company. Matrix officials are undaunted.
“There tend to be a lot of secondary offices for bigger IT integrators in Indianapolis. We offer more local resources and engineering,” Stallings said. “You can’t believe how many of our clients tell us how happy they are just to have a local [infrastructure] engineer.”
Matrix hasn’t spent a bunch of money on marketing in the bigger markets where it has migrated. “We do a lot of education-based marketing; meetings and events, and we use social media and rely on referrals. That’s worked well for us.”
Stallings thinks Matrix moved to Indianapolis at the right time.
“The environment for growth in Indianapolis has been extremely important,” Stallings said. “The city is nurturing business and business growth in all kinds of new ways. It’s been a really good environment for us to grow our company.”