Smart50 winners: Where are they now?

Smart50 winners: Where are they now?

Later tonight, SmartCompany will reveal the 2014 Smart50 list – the 50 fastest growing small and medium businesses in Australia.

This year marks the eighth annual awards, celebrating the best and the brightest entrepreneurs out there. 

There are some great stories coming, and we’ll reveal all the details of the Smart50 finalists tonight.

But before the big reveal, we thought we’d take a glance back at some of the biggest and most successful Smart50 businesses from previous years – and catch up with where they are now.


Back in 2007, a small software company called Atlassian appeared on the Smart50. Since then Atlassian has become not only one of the biggest small business stories from the Smart50, but one of the biggest successes in Australia.

Earlier this year Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar announced a share sale which values the business at $US3.3 billion ($A3.5b). The $US150 million sale of equity was designed to provide liquidity to key shareholders who are mainly employees and the deal makes Atlassian one of the world’s most valuable venture-backed businesses.

Atlassian’ next step to world domination is to move its headquarters to the United Kingdom and undertake an initial public offering.

Scott Farquhar told SmartCompanyrevenue is on track this year to be “north of” $US200 million for this year. He attributes Atlassian’s success to “taking a long-term view of everything we do”.

“At Atlassian, we want to be around in 50 years’ time,” he says.

Appliances Online

Appliances Online made the Smart50 list last year recording over $150 million in revenue.

But it was a leap of faith by fourth generation retailer John Winning that saw him start up the business in 2005, at the age of 21. Winning had been working at his family’s century-old retail business, Winning Appliances, when he began investigating online retail after thinking an internet catalogue that could be instantly updated with prices would be useful.

The company has now served more than 350,000 customers and seen year-on-year growth of 42%. 

Winning hosed down speculation earlier this year the company was set to list, saying while Winning Appliances does examine its options, “speculation that we have made a decision to IPO is incorrect”.

Paid International

Paid International has had a rollercoaster ride since ranking fourth on last year’s Smart50 list recording growth of 176% with a turnover of over $8 million last year.

The low was a fine from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for advertisements the regulator deemed misleading.

But there have been highs as well, with founder and chief executive Tim Dean revealing plans to float the company.

Paid International has been allocated the ASX ticker PYD and Dean told SmartCompany earlier this year that Paid International is “in the process” of listing under the ASX rules.

“Our growth since we started has been consistent at 20% quarterly and being listed will give us access to capital which is probably less available to a private company, and capital is a basic requirement for a rapidly growing lending business,” Dean says.


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