On December 19th 1989, First Option Ltd was formed. In those days, FOL was a small software house based out of a small industrial unit in Itchen Abbas. We considered our selves not ‘leading edge’ but ‘bleeding edge’ because it hurt – 24 hour working days, impossible deadlines and creating everything from scratch – including hardware too.  These were the days of IRQ jumpers, serial and parallel ports, and co-axial networking cables. Our PC’s had turbo buttons! Our main fileserver “dumpy” had 250Mb of drive space – how would we ever fill that!  As for networking – TCP/IP was something you bought and loaded separately on to your operating system and the Internet was something that lived on the other side of a 14,400 baud modem plugged in to one PC. It’s been said many times but the smartphone carried in your pocket today, is probably more capable than the huge grey desktops we used 20-25 years ago.

Although we’ve reorganised and broken in to more focussed companies (2007), the spirit of the original company still lives and breathes. That there are still quite a few of us from that original company speaks volumes for the culture that we have maintained. Matt Clarke, the MD of First Option Software first arrived at the doors in 1992, Richard Turner later in 1994, and many staff have been with ‘us’ for over 10 years. This is something we’re incredibly proud of and gives both companies a depth of experience that is often hard to find in other businesses.

We put this down to the variety of work – writing bespoke software for any sector means everyday is a new challenge and, for First Option Technologies,  supporting the IT security channel with its myriad of ever-changing products is equally stimulating. Sometimes we wonder how normal businesses manage with one product or service


For us at First Option Software, our culture and pedigree, grown and nurtured over 25 years is a incredible part of our day-to-day working lives. We’re not flashy salesmen, we’re not enclosed in great glass and steel glossy offices and we’re not bloated with middle management.

Bluntly put, our culture is

  • Dont stiff the customer.
  • Partnerships work.
  • Quote fairly and honestly.
  • Work with the customer’s desired technology
  • Deliver.
  • Enjoy your work.

We’d like to thank all our customers, partners, suppliers and staff – past and present for the last 25 years for a fantastic time. A special nod to Steve Skilton who founded the original company, and whose passion and drive got such a small company in to some amazing projects. We look forward to the next 25 years and wonder if we’ll ever get that hover-board.