19 Annex Products


$5.65 million




Rob Ward, 34, and Chris Peters

Head office


Year founded





Retail and consumer products



Annex Products is the business behind the popular Quad Lock, a product that enables people to have their smartphone within reach while running, driving or cycling.

The device has obviously proved popular as the business is now turning over well over $5 million.

The business was also able to sell its products in more than 100 countries in its first six months – a result many retailers will be envious of.

However, co-founder Rob Ward told SmartCompany that doesn’t mean Annex Products didn’t have its fair share of challenges.

“We had a few challenges when starting our business from trying to scale manufacturing to keep product in stock to trying to diversify our range too early and losing traction on our main offering,” Ward says.

“I’d have to say the biggest challenge was being seduced to sign with a US distributor on a model that seemed almost too good to be true. This distributor had exclusivity, was in control but wasn’t performing. We lost four to six months with our hands tied and were unable to execute on deals.

“We then made a hard rule that our business success will never be exclusively in the hand of a third party, and this has helped us in decision making many times since.”

When asked what his advice for other online retailers is, Ward says it is to fail fast but stay true to your original vision.

“Learn from your mistakes and go again,” he says.

“We always seem to have more ideas but it’s important to stay focused. Although nowadays it’s not just us pushing the ideas as we take a lot of feedback from our customers and develop products that they want.”