Smart50 rank: 25
Founders: Mark Harbottle, 38, Matt Mickiewicz, 28
Head Office: Victoria
A little celebrity buzz can go a long way. Flippa.com says its most successful marketing initiatives involved selling high-profile sites, such as Mark Zuckerberg’s old site facemash.com and retweet.com. When the auction processes go viral, the PR and visitors pour in.
Just two years old, the Melbourne-based business is now the biggest marketplace for buying and selling websites and web businesses in the world.
In the last year, Flippa.com has sold more than $20 million worth of websites, taking its turnover in 2010-11 to just over $2 million. Average annual growth is running at 46%.
The company is part of the Sitepoint stable that recently sold a stake in its former Smart50 member 99Designs to United States venture capital firm Accel Partners for more than $35 million.
But CEO Dave Slutzkin says there are no plans to sell Flippa any time soon.
“Look, we do get approaches, but there is so much low-hanging fruit for us still to pick that we'd be mad to get out any time soon. This is a great long-term business so there's no way any of us want to walk away from it.”
But growth hasn’t been without challenges and like many businesses large and small, Flippa.com has been a victim of hacking.
Slutzkin says while it wasn’t a near-death experience, it required a quick response.
“We didn’t sweep it under the rug. We learnt that customers appreciate it when you’re straight with them and can reassure them.”
Their advice for wooing customers is instructive too.
“We listen maniacally to our customers. This is the by far the most important thing for any business, to understand how you help your customers and how you could help them more.”