- Head Office
New South Wales
- Year Founded
Simon Crowther wants to create a $1 billion company.
As the chief executive of Australian aerial mapping provider Nearmap, which turned over $21 million in the 2013-14 financial year, Crowther says it is a goal he thinks he can achieve within the next three years.
“That’s a $1 billion market capitalisation,” he clarifies. “I think we can achieve that if we are turning over between $60-80 million a year.”
Crowther was brought in to manage Nearmap in 2010 after the Nearmap technology was acquired by another firm, Ipernica. Nearmap took over Ipernica’s public listing in 2012.
Prior to taking on the management of Nearmap, Crowther spent most of his career in the content publishing industry.
“There are many parallels,” Crowther told SmartCompany, saying Nearmap is essentially a content business that is now sold on a subscription basis.
The question of how you monetise a product like Nearmap is one that Crowther tackled as soon as he came on board. Prior to November 2012, Nearmap was in the main a free service, with some paying clients, but Crowther moved the company to a subscription model and presided over its maiden profit in February 2014.
“It took quite a lot of planning,” he says.
“Nearmap had a blend of free and paid use by large enterprises and government beforehand so we did have some revenue … but we didn’t want it to be 100% ad supported,” he says.
“Through the course of 2012 we did different types of testing, e-commerce models and price points,” says Crowther.
“The overwhelming question was: how do sell a map to someone? It’s actually quite complicated.”
Crowther says it was a bit of a gamble – “you never actually know if someone will buy it” – but the Nearmap team did its homework and identified a strong niche of potential customers. And the response was “overwhelming”, vindicating the company’s planning and strategy.
“The key things is that we are home-grown Australian intellectual property, we’re unique in the world and profitable,” says Crowther. “Not many can say that”.
“We want to expand out and capture a significant portion of the US market,” he says.
And while Crowther says he would also like to be operating further afield in North America, as well as Europe and Japan, whether Nearmap establishes its own operations there or appoints resellers is yet to be finalised.