Smart50 Awards 2014

20 Fonebox Group of Companies

Revenue

Over $6.5 million

Growth

115.11%

Founders

Jordan Grives, 25, Leanne McGee, 44, and Steven Grives, 62

Head Office

Queensland

Year Founded

2008

Employees

28

Industry

Telecommunications

Website

www.fonebox.com.au

Jordan Grives has ambitious plans for the next five years.

The managing director and co-founder of telecommunications provider the Fonebox Group not only wants to acquire other businesses, he’s also thinking about expanding internationally and at some point, listing the company he founded on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The Fonebox Group provides 1300 and 1800 inbound numbers, the routing and analysis of those numbers, and also operates a Brisbane-based inbound call centre, where workers will answer calls on behalf of a business.

The group has grown by 115% since its establishment in 2008 and turns over more than $6.5 million, counting the likes of Holden, Ford, Volkswagen, Jetts, Curves, Radio Rentals and Officeworks among its big-name clients. It comes in at number 20 on this year’s Smart50 list, up 13 places from last year.

While Grives told SmartCompany his priorities for future growth frequently “chop and change”, ideally he would like to grow the Fonebox Group “to a size where we have that option of potentially going public”.

“We’re the leading provider of inbound services in Australia, so hopefully we will be able to acquire some of our competitors and maybe put them out of business,” he says.

“We want to continue to grow. We’re in the process of building a big sales channel and we want to reach out to every company that could use our services.”

The Fonebox Group already operates internationally, offering global services to some of its larger clients, as well as some work in New Zealand, the UK and the US. But Grives would also like to grow this aspect of the business.

“In the next 18-24 months, I’d like to have an established presence in the US and the UK,” he says.

“Our clients do expand there. The markets are far bigger but they operate in a similar way.”

Grives says because Fonebox runs its own infrastructure, it would be straightforward to replicate the systems overseas and there are obvious economies of scale to be achieved by operating 24-hour call centres in different geographical locations.

“But we need to make sure everything is running smoothly first,” he says.

As well as close to tripling its revenue over the past 12 months, the Fonebox Group has also substantially increased its number of staff – from 11 to 28 full-time positions – which makes managing people and culture increasingly important.

But it’s a challenge Grives takes in his stride, focusing on providing his staff with “perks” like catered meals, social activities, even access to pay TV in the office, to encourage them to want to come to work.

“In Brisbane we took on a lot more office space and built a semi Google-type space,” he says.

“For me, I like to have a fun office and an office that looks good, but you also have to look at why those big companies do that.”

“I also think we are growing fast and that’s exciting for people.”

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