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The top 10 Australian entrepreneurs to watch in 2013

feature-tech-entrepreneurs-200Every year a new crop of entrepreneurs seem to rise above the fray. They score funding for their businesses, or win a new contract doubling the size of their company, allowing them to hire 100 new employees.

These are the top players. They’re receiving venture capital, expanding internationally and are making the most of technology to improve their business models. They’ve either hit on a good idea, or are at the beginning of a good one.

There are plenty of entrepreneurs in Australia making the most of their position. But we’ve put together a list of business owners who are set to make a big impact in 2013. These are the entrepreneurs to watch over the next 12 months:

1. Matt Barrie – Freelancer

The concept of the Freelancer business is a simple one – a directory of jobs open to freelancers of any sort. This type of crowdsourcing has been popular among design-based sites for a while, but what sets Freelancer’s creator, Matt Barrie, apart from the pack is his insistence the company expand into something even bigger.

The 38-year-old Barrie is a tough leader. As he recently told LeadingCompany, a work-life balance is not on his agenda. “We hire a fraction of the people who apply,” he says. “We set a pretty high bar; we have a rigorous exam.”

It’s working. Freelancer now counts $50 million in revenue and 4.3 million users. Barrie recently told SmartCompany he wants the site to be “the eBay of jobs”. A global aspiration has been key to Australian tech success stories – this could very well be the next one.

2. Josh Guest – b2cloud

Josh Guest is the founder of B2Cloud, a company which makes its money by both building apps, and reworking dodgy apps that have been created outside of Australia.

Guest has an extensive web design background, building a company when he was in high school. He built B2Cloud after starting off with just a few apps, then ramping up production from there. The business actually started as a blog, the idea being a place where people could write about technology. From there, the business worked on a contracting app and continued on.

The app market is changing all the time, with hundreds of thousands of apps available online at once. Guest intends to build up his business by working with companies who have already had apps built for them, but are of a lower quality.

B2Cloud is already turning over $1.5 million. With an eye on the quickly changing market, Guest could be expected to boost that number in the year head.

3. Jack Fitzgerald – Ship 2 Anywhere

Jack Fitzgerald moved from studying logistics at university to actually starting his own business within the sector. The company attempts to make the parcel shipping business easier by delivering instant quotes.

With so much activity happening in the parcels market, it seems a good time to work on helping businesses ship their goods. The business turned over $1 million last year, and Fitzgerald says the business is set to double that in 2013.

4. Tom Waterhouse – Tom Waterhouse

Tom Waterhouse always had the upper hand entering the gambling market, coming from a family of bookmakers. The son of bookie Robbie, and trainer Gai Waterhouse, Tom has put a lot of his effort into maintaining his online betting agency, TomWaterhouse.com.

Launched in 2010, the business is now one of the largest corporate bookmakers in the country. With tens of thousands of account members, and revenue in the hundreds of millions, Waterhouse also has big plans to take the business international very soon – all this at 30 years old.

5. Amanda Lintott – Career Driven

Amanda Lintott started her recruitment company, Career Driven, after working as a lawyer for several years. It wasn’t a great time to start a business – just before the global financial crisis – but that hasn’t stopped her from reaching success.

Specialising in the automotive sector, the business focuses on finding salespeople for dealers. She recently told SmartCompany there were a few growing pains – such as setting the wrong price for services – but Career Driven has already reached $2 million in revenue.

Lintott has some big plans for the year ahead, including expanding into motor shows and interstate. Specialised recruitment companies have often done well in tough markets, and Lintott’s venture is off to a good start.

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