Target Media Australia has taken out the top prize at the 2012 StartupSmart Awards, named the country’s fastest-growing young business with an impressive revenue of $14.1 million.
The business operates the TopBuy.com.au retail portal, which has attracted more than 400,000 Australian customers to buy products across more than 30 different categories.
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It was founded by Peter Xie, Mike Xie and Richard Liu, who ditched their electronics wholesale business when they realised their margins were being squeezed, in favour of jumping onto the online retail boom.
Target Media is set to top $20 million in revenue next year, with plans to expand to the United States and Britain.
The business has been handed a $10,000 advertising package for winning the 2012 StartupSmart Awards, which were held at sponsor Pitcher Partners venue in Melbourne tonight.
“There is much more competition than when we started, but we moved quickly to have the range and brand names that people want,” Peter Xie says.
“In online retail, if you’re not growing rapidly, someone else will be. You need to be the category leader or you will be gobbled up.”
The second annual StartupSmart Awards feature many other businesses set for big, or bigger, things, with a top 50 that has a combined revenue of $115.6 million, well ahead of last year’s total of $88 million.
Last year’s runner-up, SCO Recruitment, again came in second place, despite growing its revenue to $12.7 million.
The business’ founder, Larissa Robertson, has another business in the top 50, with her property maintenance firm Trim and Proper coming in at number 17.
In third place was Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill, founded by Clovis Young, which is taking the fast casual dining segment by storm with its Baja-Mexican cuisine, with revenue of $9.4 million.
Niche recruitment firm Mars Partnership came in fourth, with $9.1 million in revenue, while online furniture retailer Milan Direct rounded out the top five, recording revenue of $6.7 million.
A total of 17 businesses came from New South Wales and Victoria, while 10 were from Queensland, three from Western Australia, two from South Australia and one from Tasmania.
The list is dominated by retail, in addition to the property and business services sectors, while tech businesses are also prevalent.
Just over half of the businesses on the list started with less than $50,000, but average start-up costs were just under $154,000.
Amanda Gome, chief executive of Private Media and founder of StartupSmart, says the companies on the 2012 list “have only known hard times”, so their success should be applauded.
“They all started in the GFC, have struggled to find capital to grow and yet they have flourished,” she says.
“The class of 2012 will be as remarkable as the business leaders that emerged from the start-ups in the early 1990s: tough, focused and highly innovative.”
Gome says she was also impressed with the way these start-up entrepreneurs are using technology to completely turn traditional business models on their head.
“Managers in larger companies should scour these lists,” Gome says.
“While there are the stock standard entrepreneurs who just work out how to do things better and cheaper, there are also the next generation of challengers, like Peter and Mike Xie from Target Media Australia, who are rushing to take a category leader position.”
“The online retail space is full of challengers and, at present, resembles a cottage industry, but smart entrepreneurs will start merging and acquiring. It is going to be fascinating to watch.”
In addition to the StartupSmart Top 50, the calibre of this year’s category award winners was high, with online shipping service Ship2Anywhere scooping two of the nine awards.
The category award winners are as follows:
Best Online Strategy – Ship2Anywhere
Best Product – Clik Real Estate
Best Service – Explore Engage
Best Green Start-up – Recycling Solutions
Best Young Entrepreneur – Ship2Anywhere
Best Start-up Idea – MyCube Australia Pty Ltd
Start-up Hero – Interior Secrets
Best Start-up Investor – Pollenizer
Fastest Growing Start-up – TopBuy.com.au