10 quick-fire start-ups


Starting a business used to be a rather drawn out affair. With all the planning and fund raising involved, it would be unthinkable that you could launch a company within a week.


That has all changed. The drivers are clear – the increased pace of competition in a globalised marketplace, the flexibility and falling cost of technology and the ability to run businesses as a sideline to paid employment.


Speed is now the essence when it comes to starting up. Every mentor you speak to extols the benefits of getting your business out into the marketplace and ironing out problems as you go.


Events such as Startup Weekend and Launch48, which both recently arrived in Australia, push this concept further by challenging a group of strangers to band together to create a business within two days.


So, if procrastination is a problem for you, check out our list of rapid-launch start-ups. If they have the same idea as you, bear in mind that they already have a head start. So get cracking.


1. WeTeachMe


Imagine meeting four strangers and, within the course of a week, deciding that you will set up a business with them. Just six months later, you are sitting on a plane with them on the way to California, with the aim of raising $3 million for your idea.


This is the tale of WeTeachMe, formed via Launch48, which is projecting $1 million revenue in its first year. Best of all, the idea is endearingly simple – linking people who want to learn skills with experts who can teach them.



2. Zaarly


The superbly-named Bo Fishback wasn’t keen at pitching at Startup Weekend in Los Angeles back in February. But after fidgeting in his seat as dozens of budding entrepreneurs gave it a go, he decided to have his say.


By the end of the weekend, Fishback and his co-founders, Eric Koester and Ian Hunter, had come up with Zaarly, which dubs itself an international online bazaar. Less than a year later, it has lured more than 100,000 users and counts actor Ashton Kutcher as an investor and HP CEO Meg Whitman as an advisor.


3. The Lingerie Boutique


Chanel Costabir always knew that she wanted to have her own lingerie store at some point. While working as a retail assistant, she saw a clear gap in the market for high-end lingerie for Australian women.


Her next step? Immediately flying to France to sign up leading brands at a trade show, despite having no business experience and speaking no French. She somehow came back with six labels she wanted and immediately created an online store to sell them.


Larissa Robertson4. SCO Recruitment


Larissa Robertson was working for a large recruitment company when it ran into financial trouble. The board rejected her rescue plan, but that didn’t deter Robertson. She purchased the business from administrators, meaning she went from zero to 180 employees overnight.


The challenge intensified when Robertson fell pregnant and lost a $3 million client. This didn’t stop her building a $8.5 million revenue business which has received awards from both StartupSmart and SmartCompany this year.


5. Native Tongue


Startup Weekend arrived in Australia in May and was promptly won by Native Tongue, a team of developers that came up with Mandarin Madness, an app-based game that teaches users Mandarin.


The business, led by Matthew Ho, subsequently received a warm reception at an industry event in Beijing and is tipped for a bright future.