REVENUE: $2.6 million
GROWTH: 161.4%
FOUNDER: James Begley (41), Matthew Pavlich (39)
INDUSTRY: Celebrity, talent, sports, media and brands

How it started

Former AFL players James Begley and Matthew Pavlich had first-hand experience of finishing a sporting career in their 30s without having a plan post-sport when they decided to form Pickstar.

While James Begley was working in corporate consulting, a text to a group of Fremantle Football Club players requesting they appear at an event led to the birth of Pickstar, a platform that brings together celebrity talent with event opportunities.

“There’s a huge demand from talent to have more commercial opportunities,” the founders tell SmartCompany. 

“Pickstar was essentially formed to provide that connection between talent looking to drive and optimise their commercial potential and brands or people looking to connect with them.

“All underpinned by smart, cutting-edge technology.”


Pickstar now has offices in Adelaide, New York and London, and a talent base including sporting stars and chefs alongside media and wellness influences, with customers able to book them for events or buy video shoutouts.

It has also launched a platform on the sporting talent side, VLAST, which helps centralise and automate the logistics with deploying talent into talent activations.

The business has embraced the talent/digital nexus, incorporating AI, and putting together partnerships with NFT-related companies like Sportemon Go.

Begley says the campaign “truly set Pickstar apart in terms of us being known as the experts in NFT’s and digital sports merchandise”.

The campaign with Sportemon Go helped Pickstar double its revenue from $1.33 million in the 19/20 financial year to just under $2.66 million in 20/21.

Where to next? 

The next 12 months is focused on launching Pickstar’s marketplace in the US, then scaling and adapting to take the product global, and across all sporting codes.

The new marketplace would combine VLAST with its main booking platform.

“Ultimately, we want to have clients in every major sporting league in the world — from EPL, NFL through to IPL cricket and Formula 1,” Begley says.Begley and Pavlich are looking to exit the business in a five-year time frame, with Begley telling SmartCompany they, “may not be the right people to manage 100+”.