Smart50 Awards 2016

18 Podpac

Revenue

$4.8 million

Growth

186.7%

Founders

Toby Strong, 34

Head office

Beverly, SA

Year founded

2012

Employees

17

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

www.podista.com.au

Podpac_Strong 1We don’t like emptying our bank account every time we have a coffee, just so George Clooney can build another wing on his pad at Lake Como,” say the team from PODiSTA, a Podpac coffee brand.

It’s this relatively new frustration with the lack of options available for customers to buy pods for their home coffee machines that has secured Podpac’s promising growth.

Founder Toby Strong overheard shoppers being told by a Harvey Norman salesperson that while they could by a Nespresso machine, the actual pods that went in it would have to be purchased separately online.

This fact had the elderly couple confused and set Strong’s mind in motion. Podpac was launched in 2012 and became the first Nespresso-compatible coffee pod producer in the Australian market.

Strong previously told SmartCompany he first ordered stock from overseas and then had 45 days to actually sell it to local retailers.

There’s no greater incentive to sell then when the stock is on the water and it’s on its way. We dived into the deep-end but we knew the market was there,” he said.

In 2014 the business installed a local production line for the pods, which fits better with Strong’s passion for Australian made products.

The experience showed him the importance of bringing the right people into a business – with no manufacturing experience, the task of finding additional investors to back a local production process, and knowing how to go about this, was all the more challenging.

“We must not lose manufacturing in Australia otherwise it will result in a bleak future for us all,” Strong says.

“To keep our economy strong retailers and consumers must take this issue more seriously and support Australian made products.”

Strong told SmartCompany earlier in the year that while he has previously made attempts at preparing a formalised business plan, it wasn’t any use.  

For me, it just ended up being a waste of time. By the time I finished it, so much had become obsolete,” he says.

Instead, he prioritises getting things done.

“Always think of the opportunity, not the obligation. Action precedes motivation,” he says.

The business has big plans between now and 2020 – the aim is to double the size of the business to $10 million in sales. While “everything” about the business keeps Strong awake at night, he says the plan to launch Podpac’s own coffee machine some time in the next 12 months will add a brand new piece to the coffee company.

“This means we are no longer reliant on a customer already owning a machine, we can supply the whole package,” Strong says.

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