What Australian startups are doing these holidays: How will you recharge?

From Arianna Huffington to Jeff Bezos and Naomi Simson, the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have all said no business—even Amazon—is more important than loved ones and personal wellbeing.

Recently, the founder of $1 million digital agency ntegrity, Richenda Vermeulen, said she made a vow before embarking on her business to not work weekends or late nights.

With the holiday period at our toes, StartupSmart asked some members of Australia’s startup community how they’ll spend the break.

InDigital founder Mikaela Jade has a relaxing beach awaiting

InDigital CEO and founder Mikaela Jade

After 14 years as a park ranger and time spent as a public servant, Jade decided to build a startup that uses augmented reality to preserve the rich heritage of Indigenous peoples around the world.

InDigital prompted Jade to move from Canberra to the Northern Territory and her venture now has had her rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s most powerful leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Will Jade get a moment to pause these holidays?

“Absolutely!” she tells StartupSmart. 

“After travelling to two [United Nations] meetings, four countries and almost every state in Australia to promote Indigenous peoples’ working with cutting-edge technologies, I’m very much looking forward to a break.

“You will find me relaxing on a south coast beach with my kids and partner. We are looking forward to some quality time together – and planning out what 2017 will bring.

“My sister and I will also be going to sit quietly on our own Country—Cabrogal Country—with our shoes off to reconnect with our ancestors and strength of place.”

Local Agent Finder chief executive Matt McCann will hit the surf

Matt McCann CEO of Local Agent Finder

Matt McCann has been working in startups and tech companies for well over a decade.

He’s one of the founding directors of music app Shazam, and now heads Local Agent Finder as chief executive.

In the thick of growing a major Australian tech company, which is turning over more than $7 million with talks of an ASX listing well underway, McCann says he will explore other talents during the break.

“I’m going to go surfing in Port Ferry,” McCann tells StartupSmart. 

“It’s a long way from here [and] I’m the world’s worst surfer but I love being in the water.”

Gruntify chief executive Jamie Leach will pause one beat


After taking the reins from founder Igor Stjepanovic, Jamie Leach has leaned in with the team to make Gruntify a successful global startup.

Her work led to a major deal in Dubai, the startup is in talks with US interests, and the Gruntify team is receiving calls for more business opportunities from all around the world.

“I’m just taking the mandatory public holidays off because there’s so much going on at the moment—the thought of stepping away from the office for a couple of weeks would have me sleepless,” Leach tells StartupSmart.

Angel Cube co-founder Adrian Stone will write a book
Angel Cube co-founder Adrian stone

A prominent player and investor in Australia’s startup community with impressive global connections, Adrian Stone (pictured left) spends most of the year helping to grow the local sector.

“I’ll be taking my yearly December to mid-February break and intend to use a good chunk of it to write my personal finance book—a project I’ve been putting off for five years to play with startups,” he tells StartupSmart.

“That, and a week in the Blue Mountains, plus a little poker—[I’m] playing the Aussie Millions tournament series at Crown.”

Seed Digital founder Mike Ebinum will reflect, learn and emotionally recharge

Tech expert Mike Ebinum - Seed Digital founder

We first met Mike Ebinum on the Starting Change podcast.

The Knowledge Technologies lecturer and entrepreneur is an active member of Melbourne’s startup community, constantly working on new ideas and testing how far technology can go.

“I will be working but not in the traditional sense—I find the holiday period is a good time to pause, reflect and plan for the next year,” Ebinum tells StartupSmart. 

“Being with family and loved ones means I can emotionally recharge, review the year that has been, look for ways of improving and plan out high-level personal and professional goals for the new year.

“So it will mean a lot of journaling, reading books, finishing a course on machine learning, listening to podcasts and writing. Should be a great time.”

Those Girls founders Lauren Davie and Elena Andoniou will work through

Those Girls founders Lauren Davie and Elena Andoniou with Steve Baxter

Davie and Andoniou caught the nation’s imagination when they appeared on national TV in season one of Shark Tank.

With more than $70,000 from major investor Steve Baxter, Davie and Andoniou have not stopped a beat working hard to grow their beverage company across the Australasia region.

How will they spend the holidays?

“Working!” they say.

While Davie and Andoniou will take a few days off to spend some quality time with family, the duo won’t be getting more than a few hours on the beach this summer.

“We’ll be serving iced teas at festivals so every one else can enjoy their holidays,” they say.

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