Smart entrepreneurs dominate the new rich
The business builder is back, reveals this year's BRW Young Rich. The list of 100 Richest under 40 is dominated by smart young people who have started and built solid businesses, mainly in technology, property, retail and financial services. "There is certainly less money from people investing in businesses on the stock exchange, less of the financial engineers and more entrepreneurs," Young Rich editor, John Stensholt told SmartCompany.The big surprise has been the stimulus package which has helped Australia's retail entrepreneurs sail through the recession. But overall wealth was down. The cut off point to make the list is now $15 million, down from $20 million last year and the combined wealth on the list fell 4.5% on a year ago to $5.8 billion.
For those who want to get rich try the following industries: 21 of the rich were in the technology sector, followed by 15 in property, 13 in sport, 12 in financial services and 11 in retail. There was only one Young Rich in manufacturing, media and telecommunications.
Stensholt says the recession has produced a class of entrepreneurs who have learnt a lot of lessons and could apply them quickly. "They are also focused on building their businesses not lifestyles: their cash is going back into the businesses," he says.
The entrepreneur who celebrated the biggest rise on wealth was Adelaide property developer Ross Makris whose wealth was up from $70 million to $420 million due to rising value of his shopping centre assets.
And also in property was the debut of Melbourne property developer Ashley Williams, a partner in Evolve Development group with Fairfax chairman Ron Walker. They sell affordable apartments in inner city suburbs and residential lots in fast growing outer suburbs. He is valued at $120 million.
Winners of the SmartCompany awards pepper the list in key industry segments of technology, property, financial services and retail. Stephen Baxter and Bevan Slattery who started the undersea optical fibre cable project through listed company PIPE Networks saw their wealth rise form $62 million to $74 million. They survived the downturn by keeping a very strict eye on costs. Their accountants are their partners and they listen to their wives. "Both our wives told us we could only have $50,000 each for the new business (PIPE Networks). Neither of us could put our houses on the line so we were very focused on making a profit from day one," Slattery told SmartCompany.
Vaughan Bowen, founder of M2 Telecommuniciations debuted on the list at $19 million after putting his life savings into the company that had a turnover of $202.7 million in 2008-09 with $7.5 million net profit.
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, who started Atlassian and is now one of Australia's largest software exporters with revenue of $45 million, and are valued at $64 million, up from $50 million last year.
And Leigh Jasper and Robert Philpot, founders of online document management company Aconex saw their wealth nearly double from $39 million to $63 million. Last year private equity firm Francisco Partners invested $107.5 million for a large stake in the company.
Meanwhile, Brisbane coffee entrepreneur Philip Di Bella from Di Bella Coffee debuted on the list with a fortune of $14 million is now worth. His secret: no secret really - exceptional customer service.
There were only 13 women on the list this year. One is Carolyn Creswell who jumped from $20 million to $24 million as her Carman's Fine Foods widened its distribution through the tough times, supplying hospitals and 360 supermarkets in the US and last month received its first order from large wholesaler Kehe Food Distribution.
Jo Hogan, a cosmetics entrepreneur opened 12 new stories in the past year selling Mecca cosmetics and is now worth $35 million (last year $31 million). And Natalie Bloom who started selling cards from her parents home under the company name Bloom is valued at $29 million, a small slide from last year's $31 million.
Biggest rise on wealth: Adelaide property developer Ross Makris whose wealth was up from $70 million to $420 million due to rising value of his shopping centre assets.
Impressive debut: Melbourne property developer Ashley Williams, a partner in Evolve Development group with Fairfax chairman Ron Walker. They sell affordable apartments in inner city suburbs and residential lots in fast growing outer suburbs.