Friday, July 19, 2024

7 Aussie Entrepreneurs to watch in 2020

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John Hammond
John Hammond
John Hammond is the lead editor for Business News Ledger. John has been working as a freelance journalist for nearly a decade having published stories in the New York Times, The Plain Dealer, The Daily Mail and many others. Fergus is based in Detroit and covers issues affecting his city and market news.

Australian entrepreneurs are on the rise and need to be noted for their achievements to date. Many of these entrepreneurs’ achievements speak for themselves having now established major operations. Whether they are simply getting their hands on major funding, identifying and capturing new markets or simply dominating current ones – there are always a few entrepreneurs who manage to stand out from the pack.

Here, we take a look at those who have managed to achieve significant success over the last few years.

1. Scott Farquhar: Atlassian

Now 38 years old, Scott Farquhar represents one half of the team that created Atlassian. As of 2018, Farquhar has a net worth of AU$5.9 billion. He co-founded Atlassian in 2002 with Mike Cannon-Brookes, which develops software for developers, project management and content management. They’re current July 2017 revenue reached AU$833.6 having almost doubled from November 2015 highlighting the continued rapid growth of the business.

Their success can be highlighted by their employee acquisition having secured major Silicon Valley names such as Jay Parikh, a former Facebook engineer whilst also managing to win the 2014 award as Australia’s best place to work.

In December 2015, following much speculation, Atlassian launched their initial public offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ stock exchange with a market capitalisation of US$4.73 billion. In the years following they managed a number of significant acquisitions with the purchase of Trello in January of 2017 for US$425 million.

The main reason we think Farquhar is an entrepreneur to watch is that both Farquhar and Cannon-Brookes like to play the long game. Most recently they launched a competitor to the web chat platform Slack, called Stride in September of 2017.

2. Ruslan Kogan: Kogan

Founded in 2006, Kogan has been growing rapidly since its inception reaching $70 million in just its seventh year. Now, as of financial year 2017, Ruslan Kogan is managing to pull in a huge $289.5 million dollars. This figure is up 37.1% from the previous year highlighting the continued development of the business.

By 2015, Kogan had a well-established empire offering consumer electronics, Mobile plans and insurance across health, travel and pets. Seeking more growth he launched Kogan Pantry in January of this year with the aim of competing with the likes of Coles and Woolworths. Whilst only offering non-perishable goods like cleaning products, confectionary, toiletries and pet food, the online service offers prices that are 50-60% below that of the major supermarkets.

It is easy to see the similarities with Amazon of this major Australian online retailer but Kogan is forging his own path and most recently won the 2017 Startrack ORIA’s People’s Choice Award for large retailer.

With global retail domination at the front of Kogan’s mind and rapid growth over the last financial year continuing, it appears there will be no slowing down in the near future.

3. Lucas Bikowski: SEO Shark

Founded in 2004 by Lucas Bikowski, SEO Shark has grown to be one of the premier digital marketing agencies in Australia. The success can be highlighted by its quick awarding as a Google partner signifying SEO Shark’s worth as a successful digital marketing agency.

In 2018 the revenue has begun to actively push away from the AU$10 million mark and is now firmly sitting at the pointy end of Australian digital marketing agencies. Its most impressive growth has come in the last 12-18 months accumulating numerous new clients and seeing a strong revenue growth of over 45%.

Mr Bikowski recently said that “whilst early development was relatively slow, we believe that a high-quality of SEO service is more important than anything else.”

We understand that many people have had bad experiences in the digital marketing landscape previously and want to ensure that they have a better experience with us.” Mr Bikowski said in relation to the prominence of black hat SEO techniques.

With a rapidly expanding client base and a growing reputation as one of the most successful digital marketing agencies in Australia, it won’t be long before SEO Shark begin to expand into international markets.

4. Patrick Grove: Catcha Group

His Catcha Group now holds more than US$1.2 billion in assets, including websites iCar and iProperty both listed on the ASX. As the CEO and co-founder of Catcha Group, Patrick Grove has now managed to take a huge five businesses from start-up to IPO between 1999 and 2016.

Mr Grove is certainly not short of accolades either, having been named as one of Asia’s best young entrepreneurs and also placed in top 50 Global Achievers by the Australian Trade Commission.

Having noticed the increased Asian interest in Australian property markets he has expanding his iProperty website to Australia and saw his net worth exceed half a billion dollars in 2016 at US$587.

And Mr Grove attributes one simple strategy to his success, “When I was growing up I looked at the wealthiest people in Asia…it was just someone who took an idea from the West and brought it to Asia”.

Mr Grove says that he has simply done the same by investing in what works.

5. Jessica Wilson: Stashd

Jessica Wilson grew up 500 kilometres north of Sydney near Coffs Harbour and now, at just 26, she is dominating the online fashion world. The tech-entrepreneur saw an opportunity whilst visiting fashion events in Sydney and across the world – how do people access a range of clothing brands online without visiting each individual store?

The app uses a Tinder-like method where customers are able to swipe right for the items of clothing that they like. The real drawcard is the fact that everything can be bought at the one checkout with one user experience.

Having only launched in 2014, Stashd is now making in-roads in the online retail space. A recent 2016 deal with TenCent, a Chinese online marketplace, has opened a new door to the Chinese market that Wilson hopes will see significant growth.

However, Wilson isn’t just hoping to develop partnerships with the Chinese brands but wants to open a portal that makes it easier for Chinese millennials to purchase Western clothing.

With her business still so young, we believe that if Wilson is able to monetise her also ready tech and relationship-savvy nature then she is sure to go big and global with her online fashion retail space.

6. Simon Hackett: Internode

Simon Hackett is one of Australia’s greatest tech entrepreneurs. In the early days of dial-up internet, he founded Internode that provided Australians with access to internet through various regions. Now, having sold Internode to iiNet for AU$105 million in 2011, Mr Hackett is an avid investor is new tech start-ups.

In 2014 he launched EV Race Systems, an electric vehicle venture along with Rudi Tuisk, a former director at Tesla Australia. Hackett has also invested in a flight planning application called Avplan as well as taking a 40% stake in UltraServe, a cloud-based ecommerce services provider.

Amongst his other investments are;

  • BlueChilli Group, a Myer family technology company
  • Redflow, a battery storage developer of which he was CEO from 2016-2017

These investments, amongst numerous others highlight Hackett’s entrepreneurial desires and it is sure to be another big year for him in 2018.

7. Nicola Mills: Pacific Retail

Nicola Mills has readily established herself having won the 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. The program, designed to help female business leaders with scaling and developing a market leading business, recognises a very small group of women.

As founder and CEO of Pacific Retail, Mills launched her sushi franchise, Wasabi Warrior, into Asia and has plans to further expand the chain into Dubai and Singapore. She currently has stores in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

She says that one of the drivers for her business is healthy food for children across schools and other easily accessible outlets. Mills has also said that it is children who have been the biggest drivers of her sushi business and hopes that it continues to be so.

With revenue ticking over the AU$6 million mark in 2016, continued growth and the recent acquisition of Sushi Ginza in 2014, her 51 stores across Australia is nothing to ignore either.

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