Rich Pickings: Five ways to go from the Smart50 to the Rich List

feature-rich-pickings-smart50-rich-list-200Once upon a time, many of the great names on the Rich List were running small businesses. Some toiled away for years in obscurity, grinding their way to a big fortune. Others grew like wildfire, changing their sectors forever.

The Smart50 awards, run by SmartCompany, recognise Australia’s fastest-growing SMEs by tracking average annual revenue growth over three years. On Wednesday evening we announced the winners of the sixth edition of the awards and celebrated with an excited and eclectic group of companies.

But as I looked around the room I couldn’t help thinking – will any of these companies make the leap from fast-growth SME to billion-dollar, Rich List calibre business?

The winner of the award for fastest-growth, Audio Active Australia, has posted average annual growth of 267% over the past three years.

I’m not sure its founders Jeremy and Robert Bouris will make it to a Rich List as they are in a fairly specific niche, though it’s certainly not an impossible dream.

Indeed, the last two BRW rich lists – the Rich 200 list published in May and the Young Rich edition from September 2011 – contain no fewer than 11 entrepreneurs who have featured on Smart50 lists.

In order of valuation, they are:

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar

  • Company: Atlassian
  • Smart50 year: 2007
  • BRW valuation: $360 million

Gabby Leibovich and Hezi Leibovich

  • Company: Catch of the Day
  • Smart50 year: 2009
  • BRW valuation: $240 million

Bevan Clark and Guy King

  • Company: Retail Me Not/Stateless Systems
  • Smart50: 2009
  • BRW valuation: $77 million

Ruslan Kogan

  • Company: Milan Direct
  • Smart50 year: 2011
  • BRW valuation: $62 million

Vaughan Bowen

  • Company: M2 Telecommunications
  • Smart50 year: 2008
  • BRW valuation: $48 million

Mark Harbottle

  • Company: Flippa.com
  • Smart50 years: 2011, 2012
  • BRW valuation: $38 million

James Spenceley

  • Company: Vocus
  • Smart50 year: 2010
  • BRW valuation: $24 million

Dorry Kordahi

  • Company: DKM
  • Smart50 year: 2007
  • BRW valuation: $21 million

So what can we learn from these names?

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