Smart50 rank: 6
Revenue: $138 million
Founders: Adam Schwab, 34, Jeremy Same, 35
Head Office: Victoria
Year Founded: 2010
AussieCommerce, parent company of DEALS.com.au, has powered up this year’s Smart50 list moving from ninth place to sixth place as a result of the online juggernaut’s exponential growth.
Revenue has tripled in the last 12 months from $45 million to $138 million and the number of staff employed almost doubled from 130 to 250.
What started out as a corporate accommodation business is now eight websites strong and has defied negative trends in the group buying industry.
“Against immense competition in the e-commerce space, we have continued to innovate and grow at a substantial rate (while at the same time, increasing profitability),” co-founder Adam Schwab says.
When Schwab says immense competition, he means it. At one point, AussieCommerce had 80 direct competitors, which Schwab says led to significant margin compression and effectively a “race to the bottom” with a lot of competitors operating unprofitably.
Schwab says the first few years of AussieCommerce’s existence “were in a sense an extended near-death experience”, but the closest the business “came to the edge” was in 2012 after it acquired Ouffer and TheHome in the space of two weeks.
“Both businesses were heavily indebted and not yet at scale, and it took a period of approximately eight months to fully integrate the businesses,” he says.
“There was a period of several months where our cash flows came under strain until we were able to fully synergise the businesses and deliver strong profit growth.”
“Three years later, we have a handful of competitors still remaining and we’ve become the largest player in the space by maintaining really close cost control and expanding into new areas of e-commerce,” Schwab says.
“We’ve also been lucky to have an incredibly talented and loyal team for the past four years.”
Schwab’s advice for fellow entrepreneurs is simply “always stay paranoid”.
“We’re never satisfied with what we’re doing and always looking to do things better,” he says.
AussieCommerce wants to evolve its offering and is looking at a number of acquisitions as well as organic enhancements.
“We’re about to bring brandsExclusive onto our technology platform, which will allow for cross-selling across all our brands, and also significantly increase our suite of product offers to flights, tours, cruises and insurance products,” Schwab says.
“At the same time, we’re investing heavily on native mobile applications for both iOS and Android to ensure an amazing user experience.”
Schwab describes e-commerce as “constantly evolving” both locally and globally, in terms of product mix and user experience, especially with the switch to mobile commerce.
“This represents a great challenge but also a fantastic opportunity to increase both market share and market size.”