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Tech nativity: the story of Zafire Group Ltd

December 20, 2022
A photo of a paper plane in mid flight with shadow of a real plane.
From bootstrap startup to global group of companies, business has really taken off for Zafire Group Ltd!

Exactly how did a bootstrap startup specialising in Service Management and Aviation software successfully evolve into a high-performing global group of companies?

In the beginning…

In 1999, the party was just beginning for Zafire Group Limited.  Back then, we were known as Datareason, the brainchild of our founder, Jonathan Slim, and our focus was exclusively on Service Management software.  Fast forward to 2007, after two further acquisitions in 2001 and 2002, and Chris Beling (now our Group CEO) joined the company with a wealth of experience in the Aviation sector amassed during two decades as Menzies Aviation’s Technical Director.  Naturally, if you’ll pardon the pun, business really took off!

Flying high

What’s even more remarkable is that Zafire Aviation soared to great heights from the humblest of settings.  Chris Beling spent two years working from his garage, of all places, to set it up and the big break came in 2008 when two major players in the Aviation industry in Australia took an interest in Zafire’s Global Aviation Software Solutions.  A temporary move Down Under ensued for Chris and Jonathan where they spent three months coding, testing, and giving presentations.  A major national contract was signed in 2009 which saw 95% of the international traffic in Australia choosing Zafire solutions, i.e. nearly every bag departing from Australia was tracked with Zafire’s FirstBag

In the meantime, whilst Zafire focused on growing its Aviation customer base, the company continued to win plenty of Service Management customers.

Group formation heralds an era of global growth

In 2011, Chris Beling acquired the whole of Zafire, heralding an era of global growth.  In the same year, the Group HQ in Banbury, UK was established for this hidden gem of a company whose name, coincidentally, is inspired by the gemstone, sapphire.  Big customers were won year on year for both Service Management and Aviation markets, a highlight being a global contract won in 2012 with one of the world’s most prestigious and beloved national Airlines with an outstanding reputation for safety as well as impeccable customer service.  That contract is still going strong to this day, ten years on.

SaaS Software as a Service

It’s always been important for Zafire to keep pace with the very latest technological trends in the industry and that’s why, over the last few years, the company has adopted a SaaS – Software as a Service – business model.  This modern approach has ensured that Zafire remains relevant in a highly competitive market.

Secrets of Success

However, it’s not just SaaS which has led to the ongoing success of the company.  First-class account management is a point of pride for Zafire and key to customer retention.  All staff are focused on building brilliant customer relations based on a solid foundation of quality assurance and efficiency, as well as mutual trust and respect, of course.


Where next for Zafire Group Limited?  Well, the company will continue to develop the products that are in demand without compromise to their easy deployment.  One of the strengths of Zafire’s software solutions is that they offer flexibility, instead of a ‘one size fits all’ mindset.  Although there are aspirations to win even more big Airlines as customers and challenging targets have been set across all group activities, Zafire intends to continue to do what it does best: compete with the biggest and the best multinationals whilst remaining comparatively compact in size itself. 

A Fitting Tribute

Today, Group CEO, Chris Beling is justifiably proud of how far Zafire has come since 1999.  Sadly, Jonathan Slim, Chris’s business partner and the company founder, passed away in Australia in 2019.  Of course, Jonathan is sorely missed by all, but his legacy lives on.  In Chris’s own words, Jonathan was ‘a lovely human being and a great business partner’ and, to this day, Zafire continues to pride itself in recruiting equally lovely, fantastic staff who go the extra mile for its customers.

In spite of the global pandemic and its devasting impact on the Aviation industry in particular, Zafire Group has weathered the Covid storm remarkably well.  The company is exceptionally fit for the future with high-performing commercial, support, and technical development teams well established, and big customers continuing to be won by our team. 

To find out more about our Intelligent Service Management Software, or our Global Aviation Software Solutions, or to schedule a call with a member of the expert team at Zafire, email Lou Read, or call Lou on +44 (0) 1295 701 810.

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  • About Zafire

    Zafire specialise in developing and implementing software for the Service Management and Aviation industries. We’ve been at the forefront of our industry for over a decade, providing software solutions to some of the world’s biggest organisations.

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Zafire Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 3968255. Zafire Aviation Software Limited is registered in England and Wales. No. 05577742. VAT No. 284 616774. United Kingdom.