Category Archives: BUSINESSES

Australian cupcake mogul Katelyn Matheson on track to make fortune — before her 21st birthday

WHEN Katelyn Matheson was 18, she decided to earn a little extra pocket money by selling homemade cupcakes at her local farmers’ market.

She made a few hundred dollars after selling 150 cakes after her first day — a fortune for a teenage TAFE cookery student.

But word of mouth spread, and within days she was being inundated with orders and requests via her Facebook page.

Soon, she was baking 5000 cupcakes a week to keep up with demand, and her business, Cake Creations by Kate, was born. Support this industrious girl & buy her products Australia.

“I was still living with mum at the time and I did it all in her kitchen — poor thing; I took over the house,” she said.

“It turned into a massive thing. On Friday nights there used to be cars everywhere on our street with people lined up at our door to pick up orders.

“It started out as a way to earn a little bit of extra money while I was studying but all of a sudden, people were asking about the cupcakes non-stop. I didn’t predict it would get this big.”

Ms Matheson remembers setting up trestle tables throughout her mother’s house one night to hold 4000 cupcakes that had been ordered — that was her mother’s breaking point, and the teen realised it was time to take the business to the next level.

She decided to lease a shop at her local shopping centre, but centre management asked her to trial a temporary, pop-up store first as they were concerned the then-19-year-old was too young to handle the responsibilities of a long-term lease.

They shouldn’t have been.

There was a “20m line” of eager customers waiting from the moment the store opened — and Ms Matheson had completely sold out within an hour-and-a-half.

She signed a lease almost immediately and today Ms Matheson runs two stores with a third set to open in inner-Melbourne’s QV centre this month, and with more pop-up stores to follow.

She’s also established partnerships with corporate and wholesale clients including ANZ, Crown Casino, Myer, NAB, Optus and Telstra and has branched into wedding cakes and party favours as well.

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I’m the luckiest girl is the world to have this amazing lady as my Mum, she is always so caring and puts everyone before herself, she is my biggest fab, she always supports me no matter what & her kind heart and generous natures makes everyone smile around her. Thank you Mum for being the best Mum & I hope all the Mums have a great day and get spoilt with love today

And it seems the cupcake business is a lucrative one — Ms Matheson is on track to make $1.6 million by the end of 2018, well before her 21st birthday.

She said the degree of her success had been “crazy” — but insists getting rich was never her objective.

“It’s absolutely never been my goal and I’ve never lost sight of my passion on this whole journey,” she said.

“I don’t wake up thinking about money. People say I must love making lots of money on big days like Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, but that’s not my goal — I love what I do, creating desserts people love, and I never let money get in the way.

“But it’s nice to be so young and have the opportunity to make some money and be successful. I never came from a really wealthy family and my family always taught me the importance of genuine hard work.”

Ms Matheson said her success had happened so quickly she has had little chance to enjoy it, working around the clock and investing a lot of her revenue back into her company through kitchen supplies and equipment to streamline the business.

And she stressed her phenomenal success has also come with many challenges.

“It definitely hasn’t all been smooth sailing. It sounds like it’s all rainbows and unicorns but it has come with a lot of hardship. Especially being so young, there are challenges when you start making money — I was investing every single cent into new equipment, with one machine costing $35,000,” she said.

“And it becomes harder the more staff you employ. Next week our 20th staff member will come on board and it is hard to manage so many different people, but I’m learning to be versatile and a strong, independent woman.”

She said the secret ingredient to her success has been hard work, quality ingredients and treating staff well.

Ms Matheson’s signature cupcakes include Rainbow, Salted Caramel, Triple Chocolate and Jam Donut.

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Henry Sapiecha

Meet Lex Greensill and the fintech that’s Australia’s newest $2b success story

A supply chain financing company with its roots in regional Queensland Australia, Greensill, has become the country’s next $1 billion-plus unicorn, thanks to a $US250 million ($336 million) venture capital injection from growth equity firm General Atlantic, which also creates the country’s newest top rich listers.

Queenslander Lex Greensill started his own finance supply-chain company that’s now worth $2.2 billion. John Chapple

Greensill, founded in 2011 in London by Bundaberg-born farmer Lex Greensill, 41, provides businesses in industries from telecommunications to manufacturing with working capital based on their invoices, allowing them to be paid faster and fulfil the work, without shortening payment terms for the buyers.

The capital raise, which is the first for the previously bootstrapped company that had only taken capital from family and friends, values Greensill at $US1.64 billion and makes Mr Greensill and his brother Peter, who runs the family sugar cane and sweet potato farm in Bundaberg, collectively billionaires.

“The business is extraordinarily capital efficient and we’ve invested fully ourselves in growing the business because we wanted to maintain control,” Mr Greensill told The Australian Financial Review.

“The firm is still substantially owned by myself and the staff and I’m very proud of that … Dozens and dozens of our employees have become millionaires on the back of this.

“We weren’t looking to raise at all. General Atlantic approached us and the strength of their experience in multiple markets where we’re looking to grow, combined with the capital and expertise, made it worthwhile. But there are no plans to raise again or do an initial public offering.”

The investment from General Atlantic, which gives it a minority stake in the company, will allow the business to aggressively expand in major markets where it’s only got a small presence – China, India and Brazil – as well as rolling out in Africa.

From Bundaberg QLD to London

Having been raised on his family farm and seeing his parents deal with long payment terms, Mr Greensill worked full time in a law firm after finishing high school and undertook a law degree by correspondence.

After becoming a solicitor, he joined a few start-ups based in Sydney during the dotcom boom, one of which was in supply-chain finance.

This venture ultimately failed and Mr Greensill went on to be involved in a few other start-ups, before making the move to London and eventually starting Morgan Stanley’s supply-chain finance business, before moving to Citibank during the global financial crisis and becoming managing director of its supply-chain finance business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

But Mr Greensill, who has also been an adviser to former British prime minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama, said he became frustrated with the big banks’ inability to adopt new technologies quickly and decided to start his own firm.

“I ultimately decided there was a bigger opportunity outside of the bank because so much of the market was not being served by them and they weren’t adopting technology at the pace I thought they needed to,” he said.

“Our business model is that we work on an industrial scale. We’re low margin and we’re passing through the advantage of the extraordinary access we have to Greensill Bank [in Germany] and capital market financing through to battlers in Australia and the 56 markets we serve.

“Full enrolment online takes under one minute and in terms of accepting legal terms and conditions, it takes just one click. We marry our financial and capital markets technology as one of the biggest bond issuers in Europe, together with access to the enterprise resource planning systems of our customers in order to make credit available.”

‘I’m a farmer at heart’

Greensill bought a German bank in 2013, whose balance sheet it uses to invest in its various programs.

The company is growing at around 300 per cent year-on-year and in Australia it has gone from providing $US800 million in working capital to businesses in 2017 to more than $3 billion in the first six months of 2018.

In 2017 it made a profit of $US32.9 million on $US115.9 million in revenue.

“We see ourselves as the Amazon of the working capital world … We’ve come a long way, but the marketplace we play in is quite enormous,” Mr Greensill said.

“Our market share today is about 0.4 per cent, in a market with the potential size of a $US3.5 trillion asset requirement. That’s the market we’re going after. We want to go from 0.4 per cent to [the full] $US3.5 trillion.”

Mr Greensill’s brother Peter also sits on the board of the company, but day-to-day runs the family farming business, which is separate to Greensill.

While the company was founded in the UK, Greensill is still registered in Bundaberg and Mr Greensill, who was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire last year, has no intention of ever changing that, admitting he’s still a farmer at heart.

“Bundaberg is my home. It’s where I came from and I visited there about eight times last year with my wife and. We have never considered the thought of changing our roots,” he said.

“I’m a farmer at heart. Whenever I’m home I jump on a tractor and have a play. I don’t think of myself as a corporate titan.”

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Henry Sapiecha

Domino’s boss scores massive multi million $$$$ pay day from cheap pizza

AUSTRALIA’S best-paid CEO has made his fortune selling pizza, it has been revealed.

A new report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) named Domino’s Pizza boss Don Meij as the country’s highest-earning CEO, after he took home a whopping $36.84 million last year.

The pizza boss made his dough after he exercised options to acquire shares worth $35.7 million.

Don Meij beat out Westfield’s Peter and Steven Lowy, who made a combined $25.9 million in 2017, and Macquarie’s Nicholas Moore, on $25.19 million, for the top spot.

After the news broke, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the pay packets of our company chief executives were “extraordinarily high”.

“As someone who most of his life has worked in businesses that I’ve only owned or been a partner in, I find the amount, the pay rates for people working as an employee for a lot of big public-listed companies extraordinarily high,” Mr Turnbull told 3AW radio on Tuesday.

He said Mr Meij’s salary “seems like a hell of a lot”.

“They’d have to be extremely productive,” he added.

The new figures reveal Aussie CEO’s are enjoying the fattest pay packets in 17 years.

ASCI chief executive Louise Davidson told the ABC the results showed CEO’s were not with it.

“At a time when public trust in business is at a low ebb and wages growth is weak, board decisions to pay large bonuses just for hitting budget targets rather than exceptional performance are especially tone deaf,” Ms Davidson said.

According to the survey, median-realised pay for ASX 100 chief executives rose 12.4 per cent to $4.36 million while bonus payments rocketed by more than 18 per cent.

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Henry Sapiecha

Crystal Car Wash boss Anthony Sahade in a lather over council fine

Crystal Carwash boss Anthony Sahade is used to courtroom soap operas.

Mr Sahade, a Point Piper millionaire who has been in and out of Sydney courts for years over neighbourhood disputes on Australia’s wealthiest street, has most recently been in a lather about a fine from Randwick Council..He was expanding his wash facilites to cater for dogs

The council found an unauthorised dog washing set-up, including a basin and a fence, had been installed at a Crystal Car Wash site in Coogee in March 2015, and ordered its removal.

Mr Sahade then sought and was granted council approval for the dog grooming facility, and refused to pay a $1500 fine for the initial unapproved installation.

The matter went to court and his company Lenjade was convicted and fined $12,000, with $8000 legal costs.

Mr Sahade appealed the decision and last week the Land and Environment Court acquitted Lenjade, ruling there was not enough evidence to prove Mr Sahade directly authorised the development.

During the hearings, Mr Sahade likened managing franchisees to fatherhood.

“I tell my son, ‘You have to be home by 10 o’clock’ but he comes home at 11 o’clock and he uses his discretion and he’s sensible then it’s not a punishable sin. It’s no different to the franchisee having a go at putting a dog wash in to enhance his business,” Mr Sahade said.

“Even though it’s prohibited within the lease it’s not something that’s worth punishing him [for] because he’s doing what’s best for his business and what’s best for his business ultimately profits the whole Crystal Carwash chain.”

It is the latest in a string of legal proceedings involving Mr Sahade.

In 2014, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered Mr Sahade and his son Victor not to “threaten or act in an aggressive manner” towards their neighbours on a battleaxe block on Wolseley Road.

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Senior member Richard Buckley said that, since May 2005, Mr Sahade’s conduct had been “characterised by a lack of civility, arrogance, threatening behaviour, a disdain for the rights of other lot owners and a disregard for the obligations imposed” by strata laws.

The same year, the Federal Court fined Crystal Carwash for underpaying workers by almost $180,000.

In 2012, Woollahra Council took Mr Sahade to court over a staircase at his mansion, which was built without permission.

Two months later, as Mr Sahade and a carpenter demolished the steps, a physical fight broke out with a neighbour.

CCTV footage of the fight captured Mr Sahade telling the neighbour: “You’re a goner”, various courts heard.

A magistrate dismissed assault charges against the car wash boss.

Henry Sapiecha

Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes confesses to having impostor syndrome

The man in the baseball cap and hoodie may be Australia’s 17th richest individual but is scared of being found out as an impostor.

As a keynote speaker at TEDxSydney, Mike Cannon-Brookes  confessed he suffered from impostor syndrome and most days felt like he did not know what he was doing.

“Have you ever felt out of your depth, like a fraud, and just kind of guessed-slash-bullshitted your way through the situation, petrified that at any time someone was going to call you on it?” he said on Friday.

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“It’s not a fear of failure. It’s not a fear of being unable to do it. It’s more a sensation of  getting away with something, a fear of being discovered, that at any time someone is going to figure it out.

“And if they did figure it out, you’d say to yourself, ‘well, that’s fair enough actually’.”

Mr Cannon-Brookes said when he and his partner, Scott Farquhar started their IT company their main aim was not to wear a suit to work but success brought complications.

Hiring their first HR manager, he did not know what questions to ask and later, attending board meetings in a T-shirt, he found himself  “surrounded by suits, acronyms flying around and feeling like a five-year-old as I write them down secretly in my notebook so that I can look them up on Wikipedia when I get home later”.

“For me impostor syndrome is a feeling of being well out of your depth. Internally you know you’re not experienced enough or qualified enough to justify being there. Yet you are there. And you have to figure a way out because you can’t just get out.”

The Australian Financial Review‘s 2017 Rich List named Mr Cannon-Brookes, 37 and a Sydneysider, as the nation’s 17th most wealthy individual with a personal fortune of $2.51 billion. He co-founded Atlassian , a collaboration software company that helps teams organise, discuss and complete shared work. More than 68,000 organisations – including eBay, Twitter, Coca-Cola, Visa, BMW and NASA – use Atlassian’s products.

Mr Cannon-Brookes joked he had met his wife posing as an impostor.

A weekly commuter to San Francisco some years back, he was in the Qantas lounge when she approached mistaking him for somebody else. He did not disabuse her of her initial impression.

“Classic Aussie bullshit became some sort of forward movement and a phone number … a decade later she is my wife and we have four children,” he said.

Mr Cannon-Brookes thought most successful people “felt like frauds” but the key was to realise they were out of their depth and harness self-doubt as a force for good.

Recently, when South Australia had a power crisis he saw something on Twitter that Tesla thought it could solve the situation so he fired off some tweets only to see the media descend on him as “some sort of expert in energy”.

At the time, he said, he did not know the difference between a AA battery and 100 megawatt battery.

“A chronic case of  impostor syndrome … I remember thinking, ‘I’ve kind of started something here I can’t really get out. If I abandon the situation, I could set back renewables in Australia and maybe look like a complete idiot on Twitter’. All I could do was to not freeze and try to learn,” he said.

He ended up brokering talks between Tesla boss Elon Musk, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and PM Malcolm Turnbull on the nation’s energy shortages.

Henry Sapiecha

 

Ever heard of the Australian Rae family? They just reaped in over $300m

It is one of the richest families in the country, and now the low-profile Rae family of Perth has pocketed more than $300 million from the sale of its New Zealand fuel retailing business to Caltex Australia.

In 2010, the family sold its Gull petrol retailing operations in Western Australia for an estimated $500 million

gull-founder-fred-rae-with-then-new-zealand-prime-minister-helen-clark-in-2007-image-www-money-au-com

Now it has offloaded its Kiwi interests, Gull New Zealand, for $NZ340 million ($324 million) to Caltex Australia.

A few years after the sale of the WA operations in 2010, the Rae family’s fortune was estimated by The West Australian newspaper at $392 million, which has been pumped up significantly with Thursday’s sale.

The family moved into petrol retailing in the 1970s after Gull’s founder, Fred Rae, had spent time working in both the house building game as well as building grain silos.

It built its stake in the fiercely competitive fuel industry by sticking to a low-cost strategy, which in New Zealand has seen it rolling out unmanned petrol stations, helping it carve out a handy 5% share of the market from the majors.

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Gull New Zealand is an independent fuel importer and distributor, which brings with it a fuel import terminal at Mount Maunganui, on the north island, and the company’s petrol stations and retail outlets.

Caltex has established a large fuel import centre at the recently closed Kurnell refinery site in Sydney, while also establishing a buying and trading arm in Singapore to supply its Australian operations.

The New Zealand acquisition “optimises Caltex’s infrastructure position, builds trading and shipping capability, grows the supply base and enhances Caltex’s retail fuel offering through low-risk entry into a new market”, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

It was acquiring the company on a multiple of 8.2 times the forecast earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation for 2017, it said, which will decline to around 7.5 times taking annualised synergies into account. The acquisition is expected to increase earnings per share from the first full year of ownership.

Gull operates 77 retail sites in total, of which it controls 55 sites. Around a third of those are unmanned. It also operates a further 22 supply sites. The company sells about 300 million litres of transport fuel annually.

The Mount Maunganui terminal is the largest facility of its type in New Zealand, with total storage of about 90 million litres. Its retail network is concentrated in the northern half of the north island of New Zealand, and “is well placed to profitably grow via new to industry and/or new supply site expansions”, Caltex said.

Caltex would retain Gull’s brand, management and employees, it said.

Gull has a reputation for being a low-priced market competitor by operating a large number of unmanned outlets with payment by Eftpos or credit card, with no retail outlet. Its outlets are concentrated near its import terminal, with negotiations in the past with rival importers to acquire competitively priced wholesale product blocked when it has sought to expand onto New Zealand’s south island.

The bulk of the country’s population is located on the north island, with Christchurch the largest city on the south island.

The purchase by Caltex follows a period of upheaval in the New Zealand market following the exodus of US group Chevron, which operated the Caltex brand in New Zealand. This was bought for $NZ785 million ($750 million) by Z Energy, which now has close to 50 per cent of the local market.

Ratings agency Standard and Poors said the purchase “will enhance Caltex’s regional supply base, adding scale to its trading and shipping activities”.

“We view New Zealand as being a low risk market for expansion of retail fuel assets,” it said.

 

Australian start-ups X 13 to watch in 2016 with more to come.

Every investor dreams of getting in on the ground floor of the next Atlassian. Invest in a few start-ups and exit with an initial public offering – it’s as easy as that, right?

The future for Australian start-ups has never looked brighter, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month announcing a $1.1 billion innovation package, including tax breaks for start-up investors, changes to crowdfunding legislation and initiatives to turn Australia into an innovation powerhouse.

These initiatives are definitely going to help more start-ups launch and grow, and make it far more attractive for investors.

Malcolm Turnbull has made start-ups a priority.image www.money-au.com

Malcolm Turnbull has made start-ups a priority. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

But investing in start-ups is still a risky proposition.

Reliable data is hard to come by for Australian-funded start-ups, due to the relatively low numbers of funded businesses and the time it takes to get a return.

In the US, Correlation Ventures released a study of 21,000 funded companies that either failed, were acquired or had an IPO during 2014-15. Sixty-four per cent of companies failed to return all the capital invested, with many of those being complete wipe-outs. The remaining 35 per cent delivered returns of five to 100 times.

Last year I reviewed hundreds of applications and pitches for some of Australia’s top incubators and accelerators, including the CSIRO Accelerator, The University of Sydney’s Incubator and Telstra’s muru-D Accelerator.

Here are 13 start-ups to watch in 2016:

Early stage start-ups

Persollo

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What? Platform for enabling e-commerce for small merchants across social networks without setting up sophisticated, expensive e-commerce sites.

Why? When I first saw the founders six months ago, this was little more than a business plan and they had not started building the service. Fast-forward to December and they have a slick product, have recruited hundreds of business customers in a few months, and are processing transactions. Things don’t normally happen so fast in finance and payment processing. Great team and they have been selected for Telstra’s muru-D Accelerator.

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Simpla

Simpla co-founders Shamir Karkal, CFO, and Josh Reich, CEO image www.money-au.com

What? Simpla is a content-management platform that makes it easy for non-technical website owners to edit web-page designs, text, images and video by clicking and editing in their browser, without the requirement to understand how to code or all the tools normally needed to download, modify and upload code.

Why? Really slick solution that completely replaces the technical and antiquated tools and systems needed to modify web pages. Business web pages are still a growth area, however, web-page design and construction is overly complicated and it’s virtually impossible for most business owners and employees to modify their pages without the assistance of developers.

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Drive Yello

Johnny Timbs- Co-Founder at YELLO Pty Ltd image www.money-au.com

What? Delivery service for restaurants and fast-food businesses to outsource their delivery capability.

Why? Normally, one avoids Uber-style businesses, except Drive Yello has traction, is going after business customers and the team is led by an experienced founder with an exit under his belt already from a previous business. Our guess is that it will pick up a lot of drivers and riders who don’t qualify for Uber because they don’t have a suitable vehicle.

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Later-stage start-ups

Coinjar

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18: Asher Tan, CEO and co-founder of CoinJar poses for a photo on July 18, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. CoinJar is Australia's leading bitcoin platform. (Photo by Paul Jeffers/Fairfax Media via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Asher Tan
Asher Tan, chief executive and co-founder of CoinJar.

What? A bitcoin exchange based in Australia and now in Britain.

Why? I am a customer and it’s a pretty good experience. They have managed to combine bitcoin with local banking services, including connecting to a local bank account and a local EFTPOS card provider. Have raised significant funding and are one of the few bitcoin providers that have managed to connect bitcoin to the real banking world.

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Invoice2go

What? Invoicing app for mobile businesses, tradies.

Why? Although this business was established early last decade and probably shouldn’t be called a start-up any more, it spent many years trying to develop the right solution before it found product-market fit. It managed to get mobile invoicing right in the last two years and shot to prominence, raising $50 million in venture capital funding in the past 18 months. It now has 200,000 business customers sending 1 million invoices a month.

Founder of Invoice2Go, Chris Strode image www.money-au.com

Founder of Invoice2Go, Chris Strode. Photo: Daniel Munoz

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Bugcrowd

Casey Ellis-Founder and CEO-bugcrowd image www.money-au.com

Casey-Ellis-Founder-and-CEO-bugcrowd

What? Crowdsourced security testing for business owners, application developers and corporations.

Why? Real and pressing problem for most corporations, cost of security breaches can be extreme, high-profile breaches are becoming commonplace and reputational or transactional losses can bankrupt companies. Application and security testing is very difficult, most businesses are unable to manage this on their own. No one company or consultant can handle this for them. By building a community of 22,000 security consultants, they are able to provide testing for developers.

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Envato

envato founder cian ta'eed image www.money-au.com

Envato co-founder and executive director Cyan Ta’eed. Photo: Pat Scala

What? Created a marketplace for web designs, WordPress Themes, plug-ins and other digital assets.

Why? Probably one of the most successful Australian start-ups never heard of outside the web development and start-up community. Envato bootstrapped its way to $50 million a year in revenue and has more than 5.5 million customers and developers.

Straw poll from a few of my Twitter buddies

Steve Baxter: Shark Tank investor and entrepreneur @sbxr

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Go1

Andrew-Barnes-left-and-co-founder-Chris-Eigeland-of-GO1image www.money-au.com

Andrew Barnes (left) and co-founder Chris Eigeland of GO1

What? Online training platform for businesses.

Why? Great team including a Rhodes Scholar, lots of early revenue and they have been accepted into Y Combinator, which is the start-up equivalent of an Australian singer making it into the finals of American Idol.

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Cohort Solutions

Paul Jones (left) and Mark Fletcher's Cohort Solutions aims to look after foreign students image www.money-au.com

Paul Jones (left) and Mark Fletcher’s Cohort Solutions aims to look after foreign students

What? Provides a comprehensive service for overseas students attending Australian universities, including health insurance, telecommunications and foreign exchange services.

Why? Significant traction with more than 10,000 customers, each of whom have to transfer $20,000 to $30,000 from overseas every six months as well as handle all sorts of other banking and logistical issues.

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Pocketbook

Pocketbook co-founder Bosco Tan image www.money-au.com

Pocketbook co-founder Bosco Tan. Photo: Louie Douvis

Mick Liubinskas, Entrepreneur in Residence at Telstra’s muru-D Accelerator @liubinskas

What? Personal finance app that brings together all of your banking, budgeting and credit cards and automatically categorises the transactions on each of them.

Why? Probably the only Australian personal finance app that has managed to get integration working with all of the major banks, very slick app and significant transaction.

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Lawpath

Norton Rose Fulbright managing partner Wayne Spanner (l) and LawPath's Damien Andreasen are teaming image www.money-au.com

What? Online legal service that provides standardised legal documents for common transactions as well as access to hundreds of lawyers for customised solutions.

Why? This model has been very successful in the US and the team has significant traction.

James Alexander, chief executive of Incubate, Sydney University @jamesasyd

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Basketball Forever

Alex Sumsky from Basketball Forever image www.money-au.com

What? World’s largest online basketball community

Why? A total of 850,000 Facebook followers and 20 million views a month make this one of the most popular sports sites in the world, originally founded in Australia and run by a very small team they are in the process of working out how to monetise the business but they have massive user adoption.

Nicole Williamson, country head at Lanzatech @nicolewill100

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HerFashionBox

Kath Purkis co-founder of Her Fashion Box & founder of Le Black Book image www.money-au.com

Kath Purkis co-founder of Her Fashion Box & founder of Le Black Book

What? Monthly fashion box subscription service.

Why? Very new business has managed to achieve significant traction with 30,000 boxes shipped to customers.

Mike Nicholls is responsible for developing new technologies and prototyping products from the Invention Development Fund patent portfolio at Intellectual Ventures. He is a Telstra ICT Industry advisory board member, blogger at Startup88.com, and mentor at CSIRO Accelerator, muru-D and incubate.org.au. Follow Mike on Twitter @mikenicholls88. Follow MySmallBusiness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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This is not intended as financial advice. Mike Nicholls has no financial interest in these start-ups. Some surveyed in the straw poll may have interests in the start-ups they mentioned.

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Henry Sapiecha

I am now of the quiet active searching mind in the twilight of my years

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Henry Sapiecha

Atlassian: the Australian millionaire factory. Story in videos & pics.

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Atlassian surges in debut

Shares of Australian business software maker Atlassian soar in their Nasdaq debut.

They’re known as the “Royals” and “the chosen ones” — the select few invited to be in New York on Thursday morning to ring the bells celebrating the opening of the stock exchange and Australian tech darling Atlassian’s massive IPO.

About 40 Atlassian employees — many of whom were hand-picked by co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar in the company’s early years — celebrated overnight as they became multi-millionaires and Atlassian became a company with a market cap of $US5.74 billion ($7.9 billion).

Atlassian, a leading provider of collaboration software for teams with products, opened for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market image www.money-au.com

Atlassian, a leading provider of collaboration software for teams with products, opened for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market on December 10, 2015. Photo: Christopher Galluzzo

By the end of Thursday’s trading in the US, however, more than just those 40 became millionaires. Former Atlassian employees say more than 100 staff are now either millionaires or multi-millionaires.

It’s also understood the shares of a number of staff who joined in recent years are now worth six figures.

“There are going to be a hundred people who are going to be millionaires today — at least on paper,” a former Atlassian employee, who didn’t wish to be named, told Fairfax Media.

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar (right) and Mike Cannon-Brookes image www.money-au.com

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar (right) and Mike Cannon-Brookes. Photo: Trevor Collens

They added that the Royals had been “going out on lavish dinners and celebrations” while in New York in recent days and were already discussing how they should splurge their cash, and whether it should be on luxury cars.

Many are also considering investing their money in Australian start-ups, or starting their own.

“Mike and Scott’s legacy will be beyond Atlassian,” the former Atlassian employee said. “They want to make billionaires in Australia that are going to invest in Australian companies — the next wave of start-ups

Those likely to make the most from the IPO are those who joined between 2002, when the company started, and 2008. That’s when Atlassian offered employees the chance to buy shares at a much lower price than $US27, the price shares were trading for on Thursday as the market closed. For employees who were offered — and purchased — shares at 50 cents several years ago, their stake is now 5300 per cent more valuable.

While some employees chose to hedge their bets and sell some of their shares last year for $US16 to T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer Investment Capital in a financing round, many are understood to have held on to most of them.

When Atlassian received that financing, which valued the company at $US3.3 billion, Mr Cannon-Brookes declined to specify how many millionaires his company had made at the time, but said it was “not double digit”.

“That number [of millionaires] blew both Scott and I away,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said at the time to The Australian.

“That was probably the biggest achievement to come out of this [new investment] and [something] we hadn’t thought about.”

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian — as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would say — or, in this case, to be an Atlassian employee.

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Henry Sapiecha

‘The richest database I’ve seen’: why AussieCommerce bought Jeremy Reid’s PinchME

pinchme Jeremy Reid image www.money-au.com

Jeremy Reid has managed to attract stellar investment despite still serving an ASIC ban. Photo: Louie Douvis

Its revenues might be negligible in the context of a group tracking toward $200 million revenue this financial year, but AussieCommerce co-founder Adam Schwab thinks the Australian arm of product sample distributor PinchME can turn his e-merchant into “a media company”.

AussieCommerce began negotiations before Christmas with PinchME’s now New York-based founder, Jeremy Reid, who despite still serving a two-year ASIC ban on providing financial services following the collapse of his hedge fund-of-funds Everest Babcock & Brown, managed to attract stellar backer for his sampling start-up: Kerry Stokes, the Liberman and Smorgon families, Toll Holdings founder Paul Little, SEEK co-founder Andrew Bassat and advertising heavyweight David Droga.

That group will continue to part-own PinchME’s US business, which now employs 25 people in New York and according to president Adam Caplan, has completed 200 campaigns and shipped four million samples for brands including Johnson & Johnson, P&G, Unilever, L’Oreal, Revlon, Coty, Pfizer, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, and Kellogg’s.

The eight employees of PinchME Australia are already installed at AussieCommerce’s offices at Wynyard in Sydney, and its 500,000-strong database of subscribers are a source of wonder to Schwab.

“The fact that you’re giving these people free samples means they’re incredibly engaged,” Schwab says.

“The open rates on PinchME emails are twice or three times what you get at a typical e-commerce business, and the information they’ve gathered on subscribers is the richest I’ve seen.”

Its multinational clients pay PinchME to provide narrowly targeted sampling campaigns, and the fact that each sample is accompanied by six questions – which the subscriber must complete if they want another freebie – means the ability to segment its database is always improving, Schwab says.

“The more targeted the offer, the more powerful. PinchMe is going to be a great complement to [group buying platform] Spreets that we bought last year,” Schwab says.

Of particular interest to Schwab is the full-fledged marketing campaigns which PinchME can produce alongside the sample deliveries.

“This acquisition turns us into a media company,” he says, pointing out that revenues from AussieCommerce’s original flash sale and ‘daily deal’ activity is now “a single digit percentage” in terms of the overall group.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed. PinchME Australia’s revenues are not known however it’s understood to have not yet turned a profit since its 2013 launch.

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Henry Sapiecha