Winners of 2021 Smart50 Awards revealed; healthtech startup takes top spot

Smart50 winners announced

Startup InstantScripts has ridden a wave of booming interest in healthtech amid the COVID-19 pandemic to take out first place in the 2021 Smart50 Awards. 

Founded in 2017 to streamline how patients receive repeat prescriptions for common medications, the company grew by 1441% over the past three years to reach revenue of $7.5 million in 2020-21, earning it the top spot in SmartCompany’s list of the 50 fastest growing Australian companies. 

It was one of 10 companies operating in the technology sector to feature in this year’s Smart50 list, which also demonstrated how SMEs are finding success in e-commerce, marketing, construction and healthcare. 

Tangerine Telecom was ranked second on the 2021 Smart50 list, with a three-year growth rate of 1138%, followed by Deliciou in third place with revenue growth of 757% in the past three years. 

Online flower delivery platform LVLY came in at fourth position, with a three-year growth rate of 629%, while insurance company Open rounded out the top five with a growth rate of 628%. 

The Smart50 finalist with the largest revenue this year is Plenti, with more than $53 million recorded in 2020-21.

The Smart50 Awards have celebrated Australia’s fastest growing SMEs since 2007, and after a break in 2019 and 2020, the awards returned in 2021 with the support of major partner MYOB. 

Combined, this year’s 50 finalists booked more than $587 million in revenue for the 2020-21 financial year, which is lower than the $857 million in 2017-18 when the awards were last presented, and the $1.57 billion recorded in 2016-17.

To be eligible for the Smart50 Awards, businesses must be independent Australian businesses with revenue growth over a three-year period. 

While in previous years this meant companies needed to demonstrate revenue growth in each of the three financial years, some discretion was applied this year to accommodate businesses that experienced a decline in revenue in one of the preceding financial years due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Discretion was also applied in a number of cases where businesses came close to, but did not meet, the minimum $500,000 in revenue required to be eligible for the awards in one of the three years. 

The east coast has once again dominated the Smart50 list, with 19 of this year’s finalists hailing from New South Wales and 19 based in Victoria. Nine of the 2021 finalists are based in Queensland. The list features one South Australian business, one Western Australia business, and one business from the Australian Capital Territory. 

The vast majority of this year’s Smart50 finalists were founded before or in 2017. 

A number of this year’s finalists have appeared on the Smart50 list in the past, including King Kong, KX Pilates, Online Marketing Gurus, SponsoredLinX and Academic Transcription. 

Smart50 category winners announced

The winners of the Smart50 category awards were also announced during the virtual awards ceremony, hosted by Peter Strong, a long-time advocate for small businesses and the former chief executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. 

Charlie’s Fine Foods was awarded the Smart50 Resilience Award in recognition of the way the business navigated through the challenges of the pandemic. 

The SmartCompany Plus Innovator Award was presented to talent booking platform Pickstar, while hospitality tech startup Mr Yum was named the Smart50 Rising Star. 

The Smart50 Retail Champion Award went to Muscle Nation and Your Food Collective received the Smart50 Eco Warrior Award. The Creative Co-operative was recognised as the Smart50 Community Hero. 

To read more about these category winners or see the full 2021 Smart50 list, click here.