They are young, smart and hungry for success.
Meet SmartCompany's Hot 30 Under 30 class of 2012 – a group of entrepreneurs aged 30 years and younger, drawn from 30 of Australia's fastest-growing SMEs.
These 30 young people are well on their way to becoming Australia’s next generation of top entrepreneurs.
Nearly every business on the list has a revenue of $1 million or more, showing that the Hot 30 are already well on the way to achieving their goals.
Many of the entrepreneurs have made their name in technology but they come from a wide range of industries, from super foods to social media, cleaning to cloud computing, from a service that walks dogs to another that sells dog beds online.
There is plenty of inspiration to be found in the stories behind each business, with many of this crop of entrepreneurs starting businesses from their parents’ kitchen table or garage and then building them into the multi-million dollar enterprises they are today.
It hasn’t been a smooth journey to the top; they have had to survive the global financial crisis along with other challenges like the herb growers who overcame lost crops and the Queensland tank manufacturer which is still going strong despite the devastating Queensland floods.
Now they’ve made it into our Hot 30 Under 30 list these entrepreneurs have no intentions of sitting back and resting on their laurels.
Whether their goals are to double in size, expand internationally or take on the established industry giants, this is a group of entrepreneurs with big plans for the future.
Watch out, this won’t be the last you will hear of the class of 2012.
1. Jonathan Barouch
Jonathan Barouch swore he would not do another start-up after selling his online florist business Fastflowers in early 2011.
His latest business, Roamz, aims to disrupt the local commerce sector by using social media data to deliver relevant, real-time content to users. Roamz has raised $3.5 million, and its iPhone application has been downloaded more than 110,000 times since entering beta testing last October.
But the main investment has been in the data processing systems that make sense of the massive streams of data moving through social media, which has helped Roamz attract the interest from some of the biggest brands in the US.
2. Kaylee Boccalatte, Wesley Boccalatte and Stephen Trail
Age: 25, 28 and 23
Business is strictly a family affair at Nu-Tank, the tank manufacturer started by Kaylee Boccalatte, her husband, Wesley Boccalatte and brother Stephen Trail in 2008.
The trio are second-generation manufacturers and had spotted a gap in the Central Queensland market for clean, reliable and strong water tanks and poly products and jumped.
Three years later, business is booming, despite Queensland’s recent floods and fragile consumer confidence. Revenue in 2010-11 was $3.96 million and average annual growth over the past three years has been just over 256%.
Kaylee Boccalatte says the last few years have been tough, but Nu-Tank has succeeded by keeping a close eye on the bottom line.
“We watch the figures in all areas, from leads generated, leads converted, production and delivery to ensure that the company maintains at the least breakeven point,” she says.
3. Andrew Branson and Richard Branson
Company: IF Telecom
Ages: 27 and 29
While Andrew Branson says it is “unfortunate” that he and his brother Richard are not related to the British billionaire Richard Branson, that has not stopped the Australian Branson brothers from building a booming telecommunications company.
The pair started IF Telecom when Branson, who was working in a sales role in the telecommunications industry at the time “saw a gap in the market”.
“Big business was being catered for but small business was being completely neglected,” says Branson.
“We started it very much through a frustration of seeing that, and we believed we could do better than the big guys.”
IF Telecom now has an annual revenue of $5 million and employs 18 staff with a target of $6.5 million in revenue for this year.
Andy says the brothers’ age has been of some benefit to IF Telecom.
“It allowed us to look at our industry in a different way than perhaps the older generation,” says Andy.
“If it has been a benefit, it has been most with the staff and trying to build a fun, vibrant culture to work in.”
“We aim to continue as much growth as possible and continue being innovative with products and keep as many happy customers as possible.”