Smart50 Awards 2016

34 edgelabs

Revenue

$2.3 million

Growth

107%

Founder

Simon Spencer, 50

Head office

Melbourne

Year founded

2011

Employees

12

Industry

Information and consumer technology

Website

www.edgelabs.io

Edgelabs_allfoundersAfter starting life as a virtual consultancy, edgelabs is now based across “four levels of awesomeness” in an office in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, where the business delivers data driven innovation and projects for startups.

What does that mean, exactly? As founder Simon Spencer explains, the team of former startup founders, chief executives and chief technology officers work on projects for early stage businesses, including data insights, marketing, customer experience, capital raisings and strategy.

The business booked $1.3 million in revenue in the 2014-15 financial year, increasing this to $2.3 million in 2015-16. With a three-year growth rate of 107%, edgelabs has been placed at number 34 on this year’s Smart50.

“Innovation is clearly in high demand, but experienced practitioners who can combine business, technical, enterprise and startup approaches are hard to find,” Spencer says.

As a startup itself, edgelabs has had to find its “seat at the table” since launching in 2011 and has used word-of-mouth to build up a client base.

This means the team has often had to take on new employees at very short notice – and edgelabs has come up with some novel ways of managing its workforce.

“Our approach to dealing with this problem has been to maintain a very strong core team, supported by a circle of virtual team members who extend edgelabs’ capabilities,” says Spencer.

This means a number of experts are available to work when needed, while a small team work in an office and can draw on the skills of a network when needed.

Meanwhile, edgelabs offices are popping up across the globe, with a new space in New York and plans for Sydney and Singapore offices by the end of 2016.

“We are targeting strong growth in Australia, Singapore, New York and potentially London,” Spencer says.

While startups are by nature a 24/7 proposition – Spencer says he puts in more than 75 hours a week on the business – it’s important that the work is enjoyable and a learning experience for the whole team.

One of Spencer’s key concerns is to “have lots of fun along the way, [and] train, coach and learn from the next generation”.

With its entrepreneurial spirit, the business is keen to bill itself as a company that will entertain unusual approaches and ideas.

“We are not scared to explore with our clients and partners the wild and crazy ideas that others would avoid or discount,” says Spencer.

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