15 Annex Products
Rob Ward, 35, Chris Peters, 37
- Head office
- Year founded
Retail and consumer products
Rob Ward and Chris Peters founded Annex Products off the back of one of the first successful Australian Kickstarter campaigns, through which they raised over $40,000 in funding for the Quad Lock smartphone mount for cyclists and drivers.
Last year, the company came in at number 19 in the Smart50 Awards and this year, have managed to jump three spaces this thanks to a growth rate over three years of 211.7%.
Annex Products’ growth has been achieved with only three full time employees, with the business conducting over 80% of its business internationally. This is achieved by taking global transactions through services such as Stripe and Shopify, and global marketing done through Facebook.
While the sales potential is vast, the global game also comes with challenges, as Ward and Peters found out early on with a US client that didn’t deliver, despite a signed deal.
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“During this time we were consistently missing opportunities until we could get out of the deal. At this point we made a ‘hard rule’ that at no time would we let our potential success be in the hands of a third party,” the founders say.
This rule allowed Annex Products to create better end-user channels, and in turn developing a better relationship with customers in order to understand their needs.
Through this, the company has created what it calls a “community of customers”, which it uses as a sounding board for new ideas and products, and as a way to also look into ideas that customers themselves request.
Ward and Peters say starting with the end user in mind from day one has vast benefits for the growth of a business.
“Distributors and retailers will take a huge margin and it will be hard to bootstrap a business because of this reason,” they say.
“Selling direct to the end user will mean you can provide the early adopters with amazing support and buy yourself time to refine your product while being paid to do so.”
The duo are currently focusing on hiring more staff and building the business’ capacity, including signing up a few of their “dream distributors”.
“We are committed to making Quad Lock the number one smartphone mounting system in the world. We believe we can achieve this and that we will create substantial value along the way,” they say.