Smart50 Awards 2018

The 2018 Smart50 Awards showcases Australia’s fastest growing small to medium sized businesses from 2017-2018. Read the full list of Smart50 Category Award winners here.

1

Choice Energy

Revenue

$10.5 million

Growth

987.8%

Born from frustration and a languishing energy market, this year’s Smart50 winner is helping Aussies find the cheapest energy and gas deals.

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2

Soar Aviation

Revenue

$12.7 million

Growth

586.7%

Though it’s just one step towards the founder’s overall goal of eventually running his own airline, flight school Soar Aviation has shot above the rest.

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3

Code Camp

Revenue

$6.12 million

Growth

510%

Starting out as a hobby project run from a kitchen table strewn with nappies and kids toys, Code Camp now boasts over $6 million in revenue and runs in over 150 schools in Australia.

“Code Camp saw an opportunity to create a fun and engaging way for kids to learn the skills that will provide them with better working opportunities in the future.”
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4

BrandLink

Revenue

$9.96 million

Growth

453.08%

As a Smart50 repeat offender, marketing-driven, software-focused logistic company BrandLink proves persistence pays off.

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5

Car Next Door

Revenue

$3.33 million

Growth

383.88%

A truly unique business in the Aussie market, Car Next Door’s neighbour-to-neighbour car-sharing platform is a fresh take on the sharing economy.

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6

ClickSend

Revenue

$6.49 million

Growth

362.07%

While jumping from the world of structural engineering to SMS-based marketing solutions might not seem like a logical one, founder Matt Larner has pulled it off with aplomb.

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7

FitMyCar

Revenue

$5.5 million

Growth

337.26%

Along with rapid international expansion, FitMyCar has seen success following one simple rule: no car jargon.

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8

Alley

Revenue

$15.8 million

Growth

335.39%

While big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence seem like the norm for big tech companies, this small marketing business is getting on board.

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9

King Kong

Revenue

$7.5 million

Growth

314.5%

Much like its namesake, 32-year-old founder Sabri Suby’s digital marketing agency King Kong is big, hairy and audacious.

“I decided it was time to shake the trees and weed out the digital cowboys.”
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10

GetCapital

Revenue

$15.24 million

Growth

238.84%

With lending and access to capital continuing to be a pain point for Aussie SMEs, this founder decided to shake things up.

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11

Mountain Bikes Direct

Revenue

$7.8 million

Growth

236.10%

This successful business has featured on the Smart50 list for three years running, but interestingly, Mountain Bike Direct’s staff don’t work from a central office.

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12

Echo Group

Revenue

$25.7 million

Growth

208.2%

Despite being subject to the whims and influence of the federal government’s energy policy, this renewable energy business is determined to make energy efficiency accessible to Australians.

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13

Melbourne Media Consulting

Revenue

$2.77 million

Growth

207.16%

These founders say the most important thing business owners can do is be kind to themselves, and starting a business is “a lot harder than people think”.

“We will never stop evolving, and we always plan at least two or three years ahead.”
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14

ARMA Group

Revenue

$6.66 million

Growth

194.4%

Despite sounding like a defence contractor, ARMA’s goal is to be a holistic provider of debt recovery services for businesses and individuals.

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15

Novo Property

Revenue

$2.2 million

Growth

191.99%

This business is trying to take on Australia’s property and real estate sector “draconian” old guard with a tech-first approach.

“Business owners need to talk to each other more, but more importantly, we need to stop being stingy with what we know.”
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16

Gourmet Basket

Revenue

$3.7 million

Growth

188.46%

Though the modern gifting market is becoming increasingly saturated, this eight-year-old business got in before the boom and has been reaping the rewards.

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17

Yoghurt Digital

Revenue

$2.01 million

Growth

162.71%

The founders of data-driven marketing agency Yoghurt Digital have discovered being a new player in a traditional sector is “a double-edged sword”.

“In the early stages of Yoghurt, battling larger, more established agencies for clients was a big challenge for us.”
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18

LUXBMX

Revenue

$2.37 million

Growth

160.92%

If you’re wanting to work at this business but you don’t ride BMX, bad luck, because “every single one of our staff lives and breathes BMX”.

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19

Vivid Technology

Revenue

$8.29 million

Growth

149.67%

Prior to Vivid opening its doors in 2014, founder Samuel Marks says most of the lighting solutions on the market were “dumb”.

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20

GMG Digital

Revenue

$8.77 million

Growth

145.71%

The two founders of SEO agency GMG Digital were under the age of 25 when they started the business in 2010, leading to some struggles when it came to clients trusting them.

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21

Compare TV

Revenue

$2.26 million

Growth

139.67%

To begin with, this online TV guide business had “zero” visitors, relying on the founders to pour money into paid advertising to get it off the ground.

“Treat your small business like a big business and watch it grow into one.”
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22

Walker Hill Chartered Accountants

Revenue

$2.65 million

Growth

139.43%

While merging with one of your competitors can spell big things for small business, it can be a time of immense flux, which the founders of Walker Hill discovered first-hand.

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23

QPE Fabrication

Revenue

$6.5 million

Growth

137.2%

This founder’s key piece of advice for business owners is inspired by 1999 smash hit Galaxy Quest: “Never give up, never surrender.”

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24

Idea 11

Revenue

$6 million

Growth

137%

These founders say their key to success so far has been having plenty of ideas, and evidently, their 11th one was the real winner.

“An employee I had high hopes for handed his notice, and he provided me some open, honest, no-holds-barred feedback.”
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25

Mackay Goodwin

Revenue

$5.9 million

Growth

126.8%

Having seen thousands of businesses shut down during their time running insolvency agency Mackay Goodwin, these founders are in-the-know on what makes or breaks a business.

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26

Easy Signs

Revenue

$12.3 million

Growth

125.5%

Andy Fryer and Adam Parnell thought the highly disrupted sign industry would be a great challenge, so the pair jumped straight in.

“Being very passionate about technology and its application in business, we thought we could embrace the change where other businesses were falling behind.”
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27

Over The Wire

Revenue

$53.6 million

Growth

124.66%

The thought of listing on the ASX is unlikely to cross the minds of many Australian small business owners, but after doing so in 2015, Over The Wire has seen nothing but growth.

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28

Whereto Research

Revenue

$5.02 million

Growth

122.05%

Whereto Research was left asking ‘where to’ for a different reason after a spate of bad hires left the business damaged.

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29

Hello Molly

Revenue

$22.5 million

Growth

120.18%

Fashion retailer Hello Molly knew it wouldn’t be able to penetrate the saturated market of basic and casual clothes, so decided to find a niche instead.

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30

ELMO

Revenue

$26.52 million

Growth

117.75%

For HR and payroll software startup ELMO, innovation is a critical component to its business, even when no one wants to be the “guinea pig”.

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31

Coastal Transport Services

Revenue

$25.6 million

Growth

116.65%

Stand aside Tesla, because if Coastal Transport Services gets its way, it’ll have autonomous trucks on Australian roads in no time.

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32

Empower Wealth

Revenue

$7.99 million

Growth

116.54%

Not only does this business love helping people make money, but it is making a fair bit itself, boasting revenue of over $8 million in the last financial year.

“If it’s just for the money you ultimately will not be fulfilled by the impact that business makes on the world.”
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33

Tentworld

Revenue

$42.8 million

Growth

114.7%

The longest-running business on this year’s Smart50, Tentworld was founded in 1968 and has featured on the list twice.

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34

Hunter Mason

Revenue

$31.4 million

Growth

113.8%

Hunter Mason is no stranger to the Smart50 Awards, taking home the number one spot in 2015, and putting up respectable showings every year since.

“Don't compare yourself to others — compare yourself to your plan and what you plan to achieve.”
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35

Maxum Foods

Revenue

$150.7 million

Growth

110.7%

Along with providing dairy products to thousands of Australians, Maxum Foods boasts the highest revenue of any business on this year’s Smart50.

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36

KX Pilates

Revenue

$17.4 million

Growth

110.64%

Franchising turned out to be this business' saving grace, allowing it to expand without being encumbered by high capital.

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37

Visual Domain

Revenue

$8.7 million

Growth

109.02%

The future of online marketing is firmly rooted in video, and this business is hoping to be at the forefront, debunking the perception of video being costly.

“Video is truly disrupting the way brands market to their consumers and it’s so important that it’s accessible to anyone.”
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38

icubed consulting

Revenue

$11.2 million  

Growth

101.63%

Harnessing the wind is tricky business, but this business wants to make it as easy as possible.

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39

Storyation

Revenue

$2.02 million

Growth

100.77%

Founded by two former execs at Australian media giant Fairfax, Storyation is trying to fill the gap for businesses looking for high-quality branded content.

“To connect with audiences, brands need to provide something of value to them long before the point of purchase.”
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40

CK Recruitment

Revenue

$9.7 million

Growth

95.24%

Recruiting is expensive, stressful and usually quite risky, which is why these two founders are trying to flip the game on its head.

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41

Social Soup

Revenue

$6.16 million

Growth

80.99%

Much like its namesake, Social Soup aims to help businesses kickstart their marketing through access to an enticing mix of influencers and brands.

“We learnt to focus on the more innovative clients, rather than trying to convince everyone.”
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42

Holloway Removals & Storage

Revenue

$4.6 million

Growth

79.5%

A fiery disaster in 2012 nearly spelled doom for this logistics business, but it is a shiny example of how perseverance pays off.

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43

Yellow Octopus

Revenue

$3.05 million

Growth

73.3%

Despite some bumps along the way, online gift retailer Yellow Octopus has built its success off the sale of quirky and fun gadgets.

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44

Online Marketing Gurus

Revenue

$10.77 million

Growth

71.66%

This marketing consultancy attributes its success to focusing on one specialist area, rather than trying to do everything under one roof.

“Hire slow, fire fast. Culture first, skills second.”
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45

Laser Clinics Australia

Revenue

$189.6 million

Growth

70.8%

This business has appeared on the Smart50 list every year since 2015, dipping down from 25th place last year as the company continues to grow.

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46

Academic Transcription

Revenue

$1.56 million

Growth

69.46%

Sometimes, the mark of a good business is one which does exactly what it says on the tin.

“Going from freelancing to actually running a small business, then suddenly a really big business, has been learning curves every step of the way.”
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47

People Measures

Revenue

$5.77 million

Growth

59.09%

When it came to business psychology, this founder saw a need for a service based on scientific, evidence-based approaches, not fads.

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48

Cloud Plus

Revenue

$10.1 million

Growth

54.5%

According to founder Jules Rumsey, wearing too many hats in the early days of running a business can sometimes lead to its demise.

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49

Successful Endeavours

Revenue

$1.7 million

Growth

50.4%

Founded in 1997, Successful Endeavours is an electronics manufacturing business that is continuing to thrive and grow over 20 years later.

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50

Lawson Elliott Recruitment

Revenue

$8.2 million

Growth

43.98%

For this founder, the hardest part of running a business is dividing time between working on strategy and completing day-to-day administrative tasks.

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