Buying and Selling

Naomi Simson seeks adrenaline in quest for global growth

Matthew Elmas /

selling business

Shark Tank investor and renowned Australian entrepreneur Naomi Simson. Source: Supplied.

Experience entrepreneur Naomi Simson will look to take a bigger bite out of the highly competitive online travel space with the acquisition of extreme sports-focused experience retailer adrenaline.com.au.

The Big Red Group (BRG) co-founder inked a deal with Adrenaline Pty. Ltd. to acquire the e-commerce platform late last week for an undisclosed sum.

Making the purchase public yesterday, Simson says the move will scale up the business to better compete with online travel giants such as Expedia and Tripadvisor.

“We’ve been investing greatly in our technology platforms and this demonstrates our go-to-market strategy in terms of leveraging that and being competitive against the big giants,” she tells SmartCompany.

Adrenaline.com.au has attracted a strong following of millennial customers in recent years, with a focus on action sports experiences such as driving, skydiving and water sports.

Simson says the business will complement BRG’s experience gifting platform Red Balloon and B2B-focused Redii, providing access to a mostly new customer base.

The deal is the first acquisition since Big Red Group was founded last year and will seek to capitalise on recent investments in back-end technology platforms such as Albert AI and cloud commerce.

“We’ll be able to take the infrastructure and face different audiences and different markets … it’ll give a much better customer experience for millennial extreme sports customers,” Simson explains.

An experience every minute

Adrenaline will continue to run as a separate brand within BRG, while synergies in technology, management and the benefits of a larger supplier base will be realised.

Importantly, Adrenaline’s base of more than a million customers will scale up the size of BRG’s operation, allowing it to deliver an experience every minute in Australia.

It comes as competition for online travel and experience dollars heats up in Australia, with global giants Expedia and Tripadvisor expanding their presence locally.

Simson is responding with her chequebook, hinting at the possibility of further acquisitions in the near future.

“It’s about how we find growth, and sometimes growth comes through acquisition, this is a step change for us materially in terms of the size of the business,” Simson says.

Simson is doubling down on experience as the focus for BRG after walking away from retailer Wrapped.com earlier this year and wants to serve an experience every second globally by 2025.

A global audience?

The group will increasingly serve its platforms, now including Adrenaline, to a global audience, aiming to increase the availability of local experiences to tourists.

With its focus on millennial customers, Adrenaline will take on a slightly different focus, with investment being poured into a mobile application.

“Our job is to make sure each customer is being served appropriately, while also growing the business for our partners and deepening our authority in the experience category.”

There are currently more than 3,000 businesses partnered with BRG, offering more than 7,000 experiences in Australia and New Zealand.

Simson says partners will have more opportunities to do business with BRG as it grows in size and prominence in the coming years.

Adrenaline moved into BRG’s Sydney office and will work under general manager Julia Wilson, who also heads up the group’s Marketics (Albert AI) business.

READ NOW: Naomi Simson: How I learnt to say ‘no’, enough is enough, and walk away from Wrapped.com

NOW READ: Naomi Simson: Here’s five things on my to-do list (that all retailers should be paying attention to)

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.

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