Food comparison platform Foodbomb has taken home the top gong in the first Smart50 StartupSmart Award.
The Sydney-based startup was one of six startups shortlisted for the StartupSmart Award, a new addition to SmartCompany’s annual Smart50 Awards, celebrating the achievements of small business and ranking entrants by annual revenue growth.
Foodbomb was selected by a trio of judges: Startup Victoria chief executive Judy Anderson, M8 Ventures founder and angel investor Alan Jones, and StartupSmart’s very own features and profiles editor Dominic Powell.
Launched in June 2015 by Paul Tory, Foodbomb started life as Butcherman: a B2C platform for meat sales. Through running Butcherman, Tory identified “a problem much greater”, he says.
The platform aggregates food suppliers on to a single platform, allowing cafes and restaurants to purchase produce for lower prices.
It launched as Foodbomb in September last year, and now has more than 100 active customers and 30 suppliers on the platform. According to Tory, it’s processing about 500 transactions each month.
Now, Foodbomb is working towards closing its seed round, which will partly be invested in a marketing strategy.
“Our traction has been 100% organic, and that’s something we’re really excited about,” Tory says.
However, he has now brought a new head of growth on board, who has put a “very solid” strategy in place.
“We believe marketing will play a huge part to drive awareness and acquisition, and from there on, product will take over,” Tory adds.
The other startups shortlisted include small business-focused law firm Sprintlaw, Slingshot accelerator graduate Careseekers, which provides a platform for finding and hiring aged care and disability support workers, and Sydney-based advertising tech startup Publift.
HR platform Puffling and student-focused employment startup Outcome.life were voted into joint second place by the judges.
Of all applicants into the StartupSmart Award, the youngest founder was 28, and the oldest was 50, bringing the average age to 36. This is slightly lower than the average of Smart50 companies, which was 40.
Just over half (55%) of founders were men, compared to 80% of founders in the Smart50 list.
The Smart50 list recognises 50 startups and small businesses with impressive year-on-year revenue growth. This year, the top spot went to solar power company Choice Energy, which achieved revenues of $10.6 million in the past financial year, marking 631.3% year-on-year revenue growth.
Tory has faced many challenges on his startup journey, however, his main piece of advice for founders relates to shareholder and legal documentation.
“Many startups, when raising capital, are too focused on bringing any investors on board, which sometimes comes back to bite you in the arse,” he says.
Founders and startup teams can be distracted by “opinionated money”, and Foodbomb has had to re-write shareholder agreements, amend clauses and address issues around voting rights, “all of which costs a lot of time and money”, he adds.
“I guess my advice is, as painful as it is, make sure you consider all of this early on and ensure it’s robust,” he says.