Startup News & Analysis

Startup founders featured in SmartCompany’s Top Female Entrepreneurs 2018

Dominic Powell /

Jo Burston

Job Capital founder Jo Burston. Source: Supplied

Each year, StartupSmart and SmartCompany put together a list of Australia’s top 30 female entrepreneurs, ranked by their companies’ revenue, and while not many startups can boast Gina Rinehart-esque revenues of over $4 billion dollars, a few well-known startup figureheads have made the 2018 list.

This year’s list showed a diverse range of industries, including telecommunications, mining, retail, fashion, consulting, and fitness, and the entrepreneurs who made the list boasted a collective revenue of over $14 billion in the last financial year.

Where possible, the revenue figures included in the list were confirmed with the companies. Where this wasn’t possible, estimates were used.

The startup founders features in this year’s list include:

Cyan Ta’eed | Envato

Cyan Ta’eed co-founded digital creative assets marketplace Envato with her husband Collis Ta’eed and Jun Rung in 2006, and since then the business has gone from strength to strength, reporting a revenue of $94 million in 2017. The company is also highly profitable, turning a profit of $37 million in 2016, and sharing some of it with employees (and saying they should buy alpacas).

Ta’eed now also works on a number of other ventures, including social enterprise subscription box service New Day Box, and ethical chocolate brand Hey Tiger, which recently launched.

Ta’eed told StartupSmart in 2016 one of the main reasons for Envato’s success was the flexible approach to work, saying the company worked as a “completely flexible, results-driven work environment”.

“When they work doesn’t matter and where they are doesn’t matter, what matters are their skills, their entrepreneurialism and their eagerness,” she said of Envato’s employees.

Read the full 2018 Top Female Entrepreneurs list here

Jo Burston | Job Capital

Also founded in 2006 was Jo Burston’s recruitment agency Job Capital, which posted a revenue of around $37 million last financial year.

But these days, Burston also pours her time and entrepreneurial skills into two other businesses. The first of which is Rare Birds, a mentoring and education business focused on helping women in the startup space, telling StartupSmart in 2015 she believed female entrepreneurs often get stuck at the “how”, not the “why”.

The second venture is in a similar vein, called ‘startup.business’ and offers similar entrepreneurial education resources to young budding startup founders to “help them in seeing and understanding the possibilities in entrepreneurship”.

“It’s not just about learning about the fundamentals of business but getting the fundamental of enabling that young person to feel confident,” Burston said in 2016.

Honourable mentions | Naomi Simson and Janine Allis

Although Naomi Simson’s RedBallon and Janine Allis’ Boost Juice are past the point of being able to be considered a ‘startup’, the two prominent entrepreneurs are well known in the startup community for their thought leadership and involvement in popular pitching TV show Shark Tank.

On this year’s list, Allis’ Retail Zoo empire beat out Simson’s Big Red Group, a parent company to her ventures such as RedBalloon and Redii, pulling a revenue of over $350 million. Simson’s Big Red Group reported annual revenue of $70 million.

However, both Simson and Allis have made numerous investments in local startups through Shark Tank, including a Mini Pallets business and a specialised dog grooming business. 

NOW READ: Check out our 2018 International Women’s Day showcase.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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