SECO's story began in the 1970s in a garage in Arezzo, Italy, where two friends just into their twenties were – unbeknownst to them - getting ready to invent the future. Their names: Daniele Conti and Luciano Secciani.
Ever since childhood, they had shared an innate passion for electronics and a distinct entrepreneurial spirit. As they grew up together, surrounded by electronic circuits and schoolbooks, they realized that their hobby could become something much bigger, something sensational.
Daniele and Luciano’s first professional creation was an electronic car ignition kit, which they sold to a local mechanic. Then came the revelation: there was a market for electronic solutions, an opportunity just waiting for them. This led to the birth of the first SECO electronics laboratory, in April 1979.
An Uphill Battle Early On
Arezzo was in the midst of an economic boom, but the market was still in an embryonic phase and the direction to take was far from clear. The days went by, full of new experiments and mounting expenses. The two young men didn’t have access to much capital and only managed to keep the company alive thanks to the economic support of their parents.
A first opportunity was concealed in the Tuscan city itself, in the jewellery sector. They began producing small systems for manufacturers of goldsmith’s machines, such as generators for galvanic baths and counters for machines used in gold and silver assembly. Incredible as it may seem, demand surpassed supply.
Daniele and Luciano were extremely ambitious, and no longer wanted to limit themselves to this local context. They decided to venture out into the world of transportation to expand and enrich their knowledge and know-how.
In just 10 years SECO had become an established contractor in the electronics sector, but Daniele and Luciano had dreams that were larger still. They fell in love with the first personal computers arriving from overseas and wanted to create one with the SECO name. It wasn’t long before the birth of SECO SYSTEM 210. This first SECO computer was showcased at the SMAU convention, where it was nominated for the “Best Design” award among the most innovative products. This was the springboard for SECO SYSTEM 210, which reached the market that same year.
But now Daniele and Luciano had to answer the obvious question: was there truly room for an entirely Italian personal computer? Suggestive though the idea may be, the thought of undertaking the enterprise of a PC “Made in Italy” would necessarily have brought SECO face to face with some extremely daunting international competition. Yet SECO wanted to aim even higher and was determined to be unique and to explore new territories in which to shine.
In the eyes of the two talented young men, it was clear that the world of computers and electronics was destined to merge. This foresight led to the idea of transferring the experience acquired with the PC to industry, bringing about the creation of the planet’s first Eurocard-format industrial PC.
From that first personal computer, SECO’s path would be continually studded with success stories. 1999 saw the presentation of Ellipse, the first all-in-one touch PC designed to develop, create, and test product prototypes. In 2007 CUBIT was formed, a consortium and synergetic meeting place for the academic and business worlds, founded together with the University of Pisa’s Department of Computer Engineering and the Navacchio Technological Hub.
Just one year later, SECO consolidated its presence in the embedded market: together with Congatec and MSC, it founded the Qseven Consortium and the new Qseven standard module, adopted today around the world. In 2012 SECO was among the founding members of SGET (Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies) and, during the following three years, it initiated an internationalization process with the opening of new offices in Germany, the USA, India, and Taiwan.
Thanks to its partnership in 2013 with AiDiLAB, a spin-off of the Univerity of Siena dedicated to interaction design and IoT, whose acquisition by SECO group would be completed in 2019, SECO gave life to UDOO, the open-source single-board computer designed for the world of makers and professional developers. But UDOO is more than hardware; it’s also a solid community that today brings together over 100,000 digital artisans from around the world.
For SECO this was a year filled with important developments: particularly important was the investment by the fund FII Tech Growth, promoted by the Italian government’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and managed by Fondo Italiano d’Investimento SGR, to help SECO grow in the hi-tech sector and consolidate its market both at home and abroad.
In the following months, SECO undertook a significant materialization. Following the capital increase, Massimo Mauri, the former VP of Eurotech, after working on behalf of SECO and its shareholders to conclude the FII Tech Growth operation, came on as a member of SECO Group’s Board of Directors, taking on a strategic role in support of the company’s development.
An evolved organizational model was implemented for the management of the company’s various areas, through the selection of a team of managers with specific responsibilities, chosen mainly from within SECO and involved in a program of growth and professionalization.
Two important events on the internationalization front allowed SECO to strengthen its presence in strategic foreign markets and accelerate the Group’s overall growth: the acquisition of Fannal Electronics, a Chinese company dedicated to man-machine interaction technologies, and of InHand Electronics, an American company specializing in customized embedded hardware, software, and device solutions for portable, interactive, networked, and IoT applications.
2019 also marked the Group’s 40th anniversary and saw the opening of our new Arezzo headquarters - nearly 97,000 square feet built according to the highest standards of innovation and energy efficiency.
2021 was an eventful year for SECO. SECO Mind was established, bringing together in a single company the Group’s expertise in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and Big Data Analytics - strengthened by the acquisitions of Inspirata, Hopenly, and Oro Networks LLC. SECO Mind launched Clea, an IoT and AI analytics software platform that enables customers to manage their IoT endpoints easily, effectively, and efficiently.
In May, SECO became a publicly-traded company, listed on the STAR segment of the Italian Stock Exchange with ticker symbol IOT.MI. With this historic step, the company raised significant capital resources to invest in further growth and development – accelerating our mission to become a global high-tech leader.
Acquisition of the Garz & Fricke Group
In October 2021, SECO announces the acquisition of the Garz & Fricke Group. The company, based in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Wuppertal and with international locations in Minneapolis (USA) and Chennai (India), is one of the most important system providers for ARM-based embedded technologies in Europe. The group of companies includes the system provider Garz & Fricke, the processor module specialist Keith & Koep and the application developer e-GITS. Here, Garz & Fricke is available to customers as a system provider for turnkey HMIs, SBCs and payment system solutions. Keith & Koep completes the portfolio as one of the leading providers in the areas of electronics development, system integration and the manufacturing of complex electronic products. The offer is rounded off by customized cross-platform applications and software development of e-GITS. At the turn of the year 2022, the Garz & Fricke Group will become SECO Northern Europe and SECO Mind Germany. From now on, SECO Northern Europe will be responsible for the DACH, Scandinavian, UK, Irish and Benelux markets.
The creative vision of electronics in the early 80s has turned out to be extremely far-sighted: today, SECO is a point of reference for high-tech, computer miniaturization, and IoT. Bucking the trend of many other companies, SECO has maintained the majority of its production at its headquarters, in Italy. A winning decision that allows it to offer customers the certainty of reliable delivery schedules, high qualitative standards, and the security of timely interventions in case of project modifications. Since that garage in the 1970s, everything has changed for SECO. But today, as in that distant April of 1979, Daniele and Luciano, with Max’s support and the help of a large, efficient team behind them, continue to stand out and excel in their pursuit of innovation.