Smart50 Awards 2016

27 CarAdvice

Revenue

$11 million

Growth

126%

Founders

Alborz Fallah, 32, Anthony Crawford, 57

Head office

McMahons Point, New South Wales

Year founded

2006

Employees

36

Industry

Automotive publisher

Website

www.caradvice.com

CarAdvice_FallahWhen Alborz Fallah began CarAdvice in 2006, it was the 12th business he had started, telling SmartCompany last year he just wanted to “do things my way.”

Six months after the digital business was established, co-founder Anthony Crawford joined, and from then the business has grown to employ 36 full-time staff, with offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth, and annual revenue of over $11 million.

CarAdvice aim is “to connect the right customer to the right car”. The website provides reviews and advice for new car buyers, and has benefitted from strong advertising partnerships and a domination of a niche market.

“We found incumbent publishers weren’t taking advantage of the opportunities the internet was presenting,” the founders say.

The two are well versed in taking advantage of online opportunities, with Fallah previously telling SmartCompany he “couldn’t believe” a domain like caradvice.com.au was still available in 2006. He snapped up the domain name for just $35.

Advertising has been key for CarAdvice’s success, with the founders choosing to partner only with automotive related advertisers, who spend the most out of any industry in online advertising. The founders believe they have benefitted from being a digital-first publisher, expanding into the online space quicker than competitors such as Fairfax and Bauer Media.

“Our business model is based on producing original premium content and monetising it through display advertising,” the founders say.

“Whilst there are constant threats to display advertising, such as ad blocking and programmatic buying methods driving yields down, the total spend on display advertising is continuing to grow.”

The rapid changing media landscape, and the advent of tools such as adblock, has only encouraged the CarAdvice team to focus on continuing to evolve their content. CarAdvice has been part of the rise of digital-first publishers moving their content into other channels, with new expansions into radio, podcasts, video, and some “experimental” offline events.

“Brands need to evolve in order to survive. Content producers, such as CarAdvice, need to be able to move with the times and continually evolve to meet the consumer demand for new ways to consume content,” they say.

The founders admit this need to evolve keeps them up at night, as the unpredictable nature of consumers’ consumption habits keeps publishers on their toes. This has lead to CarAdvice’s team never “resting on our laurels” and being willing to fail fast if new ideas or technologies don’t succeed.

Fallah and Crawford intend to double down on staff numbers and revenue over the next three years, amid a broader plan to develop the business’ multi-channel networks.

“The success of our move into multi-channel this year…has proven how vital it is to take our content to where users are, rather than taking our users to our content” the founders say.

A website re-design, complete with more opportunities to increase advertising revenue, is also on the cards. And recognising the “clear demand” for the website’s content abroad, the two say they are also exploring international expansion and partnerships.

“Overall, the future is bright for CarAdvice with growing demand for our content and increased opportunities to expand our reach into new channels,” they say.

*Nine Entertainment purchased CarAdvice for $35 million in early September, after the business had submitted its application for the Smart50 Awards.

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