Why eBay liked the look of a Melbourne start-up


startupsmart-award-winners-2-thumbAfter picking up not one but two titles at the 2012 StartupSmart Awards, expectations were high for Melbourne-based business Ship2Anywhere, which was created in 2010.


The brainchild of Jack Fitzgerald and Michael Teasdale, Ship2Anywhere offers cheap and simple shipping solutions to individuals and businesses, with a strong focus on service.


In addition to winning Best Online Strategy at last year’s StartupSmart Awards, Fitzgerald was named Best Young Entrepreneur.


When we interviewed the company last year, its aim was to make $1.3 million in the 2011/12 financial year. StartupSmart spoke to sales director Hugh McFadden to see how it has fared.


“The business is doubling basically. It’s growing at 100%,” McFadden says.


“If you just take the calendar year of 2011, we did about $650,000. Last year we did just over $1 million, and we’re on track to continue that trend this year and we’re hoping to double again.”


“The 2012 award was really recognition for the work the boys had done… The challenge we have now is managing our growth as we enter that next phase of our expansion.”


With the support of transport industry veteran Peter Rocke, who acts as a mentor, the expansion of Ship2Anywhere is well underway.


“We’re now the preferred supplier for eBay, so we have a contract with eBay International AG. That came through in September,” McFadden says.


“eBay is really committed to SMEs… Their confidence and endorsement of Ship2Anywhere really shows their passion to small and medium enterprises.”


“Here we are, Ship2Anywhere, and we’re now a preferred shipping supplier for eBay, which is a $4 billion business.”


In addition to securing a contract with eBay, Ship2Anywhere has grown from five staff to more than 10 – including eight staff in IT development – in addition to contractors.


“We’ve also launched ship2anywhereusa.com. That’s a mail forwarding business… That Ship2Anywhere has contributed to some of the success,” McFadden says.


“We’re also launching ship2anywhere.co.nz next month and there’ll be a big announcement around that. We’re offering the same function we’ve offered Australian SMEs.


“The other big exciting thing we’ve had occur is we’ve launched our API – application program interface… I think that API is really going to drive our growth over the next 12 months.”


The business is also expanding its service range this year, says McFadden.


“We really feel we have got the suite of products these online stores require… [For example,] we’re going to be offering a want-it-now, three-hour, point-to-point courier service,” he says.


And while Fitzgerald is only in his mid-20s, he’s a good student and a fast learner, McFadden says.


“I think Jack is a great listener and he really leverages the experience of those around him,” he says.


“Peter Rocke has been a great mentor for Jack, and Peter has instilled in Jack principles like integrity and loyalty… We owe a lot to Peter and his mentorship of the business.


“As the business has evolved, we’re now specialising. Michael is heading up IT development, Jack is focused on service and SEO, and I’m focused on sales.”


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