Innovation

First Freelancer.com, now OzForex will go public this year in a big Aussie tech IPO – so who’s going to be next?

Patrick Stafford /

Australian tech success story OzForex will float on the ASX before the end of the year, in yet another sign the local industry is maturing to a point where online retailers and technology businesses will finally realise significant returns.

The news comes just days after entrepreneur Matt Barrie announced his “eBay for jobs” site Freelancer.com would float before the end of the year on the ASX.

Both announcements help the perception the local tech industry has continued to mature.

SmartCompany understands OzForex is quite advanced in its IPO process, with a prospectus expected to be lodged early next week. The IPO process was approved by the board yesterday.

Current shareholders Macquarie Group, the Carlyle Group and Accel Partners, the latter of which pledged between $70-$110 million back in 2010, will see solid returns worth nearly $500 million.

The company will be offered at a 21.7 times multiple.

OzForex has experienced a significant few years of growth. Founded back in 1998 by Matthew Gilmour, the business is profitable and operates in several countries. Neil Helm currently serves as the company’s chief executive.

Fairfax has reported both Gilmour and co-founder Gary Lord are set to reap more than $80 million each from the float.

Back in 2010, the business attracted an investment worth between $70-110 million from Accel Partners, which also has investments in local groups 99designs and Atlassian.

Helm said the business had global ambitions. “We’re strong in the southern hemisphere, but we want to grow into the Asian market,” he said at the time.

While details are scarce about the OzForex listing, the news undoubtedly portrays the local tech market in a positive light. Combined with the Freelancer.com announcement, it seems more tech businesses are gathering courage to take the next big step.

But Freelancer.com and OzForex aren’t the only ones working on taking their businesses to the next level – there are plenty of businesses lining up their ducks for a punt on the public market.

So who are they? While these companies haven’t yet made official announcements, it’s likely they’re gearing up for an IPO of their own:

Catch of the Day

The online retail store started on eBay but has since grown into a powerhouse with more than $300 million in revenue.

The diversification of the business into new categories, like group buying and groceries – and even wine, is a good indication of the vision of its founders, Hezi and Gabby Leibovich.

But the biggest hint of a float is an $80 million investment from James Packer in 2011. Sooner or later, the billionaire will want to see a return on his money.

Kogan

Ruslan Kogan has always had big ambitions. The company is turning over more than $200 million, and eventually he wants to make the online retail empire into a $1 billion business.

Which is why it’s not surprising at all that Fairfax reported earlier this week Kogan is looking at prospective buyers for a shares deal, and possibly even an IPO.

Kogan will go public. It’s just a matter of when.

Atlassian

The software company founded by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar back in 2002 has grown into a huge empire. Both men are on the BRW Young Rich list with a collective fortune of $550 million.

An IPO has been a possibility for some time. An Accel investment worth $60 million in 2010, and recent board appointments of Facebook and Symantec talent, suggest going public may come sooner rather than later.

Aconex

The online software group has been a huge success, growing worldwide with most of the company’s projects coming from outside of Australia.

Founders Leigh Jasper and Robert Phillpot have always said an IPO is a possibility. This week, the pair told BRW the company is preparing for exactly that.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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