Given the sheer volume of public hand-wringing by traditional players such as the resources industry and large retailers over threats to their revenue, it seems that some view innovation as something to be wary of, rather than enthusiastically embraced.
Despite this conservatism, a number of Australian start-ups are forging ahead in their attempts to shake up the status quo.
2013 should prove a pivotal year for several of our most promising up-and-comers. Here are the five ventures we think you should keep a particularly keen eye on.
One Cent Flights
Elliott Donazzan became interested in the concept of online auctions while running an eBay-based business in school.
He then persuaded his cousin Matt to join him and launch One Cent Flights in January last year and is forecasting $1 million revenue in 2013.
The site works by putting flights up for auction with users able to make a non-returnable bid in increments of one cent. First, they must buy blocks of credits, with $1 buying one credit, which equals a single one cent bid.
Much like eBay, the real action is at the pointy end of the auction – bids in the final 10 seconds re-set the auction countdown clock to nine seconds, until a winner emerges.
Aged just 19, Donazzan has surrounded himself with an experienced six-strong management team and is gearing up for a major fundraising push this year as he eyes global expansion.
“At the moment, Australia is the priority, but I’d love to expand to Asia as soon as we can,” he told StartupSmart last year. “The concept has got great potential.”
Adelaide entrepreneur Todd Miller spotted a gap in the export market in 2009 when he launched Aussie Inc, which helps Australian businesses sell their products in the US and Canada.
Miller’s hunch paid off in spades last year when leading business builder Shane Yeend took a 50% stake in Aussie Inc.
Yeend’s company Imagination, which owns the rights to children’s character Humphrey B Bear and a board game based on bestselling book 50 Shades of Grey, has taken on Aussie Inc as a new division, with a new entity, called Imagination Consumer Products, to be headed by Miller.
Miller said in December that the rights deal for the board game was an “opportunity not seen since Harry Potter.”
“Imagination’s global infrastructure and access to retail accounts covering 85,000 storefronts is a great opportunity for me – I will head up a global team of seasoned professionals,” Miller says.
“At the same time, it will fast track growth for Aussie Inc clients and products.”
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