Economy

The Smart50 best and fairest

Patrick Stafford /

Later tonight, SmartCompany will reveal the 2013 Smart50 list – the 50 fastest growing small and medium businesses in Australia.

This year marks the seventh annual awards, celebrating the best and most successful companies this country has to offer.

There are some great stories coming, and we’ll reveal the exciting details of the 50 businesses tomorrow. But the previous six years are filled with plenty of examples of entrepreneurs building incredible businesses, often at a great risk.

Before tonight’s event, we thought we’d take a glance back at some of the biggest and most successful businesses on the list from over the years – and catch up with where they are now.

Catch of the Day

Online retail is tried and proven in Australia, and larger companies like Myer and David Jones are finally starting to do well in digital. But they were all beaten to the punch by a select few – and Catch of the Day is among them.

Founded by brothers Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, Catch of the Day appeared on the inaugural Smart50 awards back in 2007. And since then, the company has grown from strength to strength.

Turning over $300 million in revenue, the company’s success lies in innovation – new sites have appeared under the Catch label focusing on group buying, groceries and even wine. The constant reinvention has put the company among the top online companies in the country.

An $80 million investment from James Packer doesn’t hurt, either.

With so much growth behind them, it may seem there’s nowhere else to go. But Catch of the Day is said to be considering an IPO in the near future – which would make it the country’s first online retailer to do so.

Atlassian

Way back in 2007, a small software company called Atlassian appeared on the Smart50. With two bright young entrepreneurs at the helm, it didn’t take long before Atlassian grew too big for the Australian marketplace – and others started to notice.

Atlassian has become not only one of the biggest small business stories from the Smart50, but one of the biggest successes in Australia.

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have taken their software business from $35 million to over $100 million – and scored a massive $60 million investment from Silicon Valley firm Accel Partners.

The success has rocketed the pair to the BRW Young Rich List, but it won’t stop there – the company is planning for an IPO in the near future.

Aconex

Aconex showed up on the Smart50 back in 2007, with revenue of $28.2 million and a solid vision – to provide software services to project managers.

The idea is a simple one: a cloud-based business that saves people time through the digital sharing of project documents. Not only has it attracted a private equity deal, but founders Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot have made a break onto the BRW Young Rich List.

But the real secret lies in the company’s diversity – major overseas projects including developments in the Middle-East and South America

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Patrick Stafford

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

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