It often surprises casual observers that the annual BRW Young Rich edition counts the 100 youngest self-made entrepreneurs under 40. After all, in most industries, awards for ‘rising stars’ and the like cut out at 25 or 30. The reason BRW has to give people 40 years to shine is simple: hardly any businesspeople make a killing by 30. A list cutting off there would be dominated by sports stars and celebrities. And for a business publication, that wouldn’t interest its readers as much. Almost all of the Young Rich 2013, unveiled in the magazine’s flagship edition out this morning, are aged from 30 to 40. The youngest person on the list, MotoGP rider Casey Stoner, is aged 27. SmartCompany spent a fascinating morning dissecting the latest list. Here’s what Australia’s youngest millionaires have in common. Life’s work Most of the Young Rich are entrepreneurs, who started companies and over years helped grow them. Apart from the sports stars and celebrities, there are few employees on the Young Rich. Thanks to Nathan Tinkler dropping off the list this year, there are now two more. Todd Hannigan and Tom Todd made their $84 million joint fortune by leading Nathan Tinkler’s Aston Resources before it listed. In 2011 they lost their jobs, but were given six months’ pay and a whole lot of stock in the process. They sold their stock before things got rocky for the sector. This must be especially galling for Tinkler. BRW doesn’t think his assets exceed his debts. He didn’t make the $18 million cut-off, leaving him entirely off this year’s list. Around this time in 2011, Tinkler was valued at $1.13 billion. Most of the Young Rich have had a good year. Exactly half increased their wealth this year, while only 16 lost wealth. The rest were more or less steady. Tech tricks The full Rich 200 list, for which there is no age limit, is dominated by property developers. But the Young Rich has few of those. Over one in three (34) of the Young Rich made their money in technology, of which 22 were web entrepreneurs. In the top 10, eight started technology companies. These include Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, steady at number one with a joint fortune of $550 million. They were pegged at $480 million a year ago. The fastest-rising names in the top 10 are Ruslan Kogan, of Kogan.com, who more than doubled his fortune to $315 million, and Freelancer.com chief Matt Barrie, who’s risen into the top 10 with $185 million (he was pegged at $50 million last year). Both companies are looking at listing on the ASX in the near future, which could see their founders get a lot richer if all goes well. Reinvesting the profits If so, they’d be some of the few Young Rich-listers to turn their business success into serious disposable income. For most of the Young Rich, their wealth is ‘paper money’. They own large stakes in highly successful businesses. If those businesses list or are sold, they can cash in some of that ownership. Until then though, many of the Young Rich are fanatical enough to keep most of their wealth tied up in the one thing. For example, at Kogan.com, the online electronics retailer, shareholders Kogan and David Shafer reinvest the profits every year. Shafer told BRW their remuneration was on an “as needs” basis. “Building something is much more exciting,” he said. Perhaps this need to reinvest profits is driven by Australia’s low venture capital spend. According to a recent PwC report, there is less venture capital available in Australia, relative to our population, than in Israel, the US, Norway, Switzerland, Demark, Britain, or France. When capital to expand isn’t readily available, revenue can be the best source of funds. Slim pickings for women As always with Australian rich lists, there are few women wealthy enough to make the cut-off. Only seven women make the Young Rich, of which the wealthiest is Carolyn Creswell ($55 million), of Carman’s Fine Foods. The next wealthiest is Erica Baxter ($40 million), who is in the process of finalising her divorce from rich list-fixture James Packer, which could see her secure another $100 million according to recent reports. Other women on the list are Lilly Haikin ($40 million held jointly), who bought chocolate café chain Max Brenner to Australia, PageUp People founder Karen Cariss ($25 million held jointly), golfer Karrie Webb ($22 million), MyBudget founder Tammy May ($20 million), and model Miranda Kerr ($18 million). This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Ollo Mobile has won a trip to Silicon Valley after beating nine other start-ups in the Small Team, Big Impact competition in Sydney last night. The pitching competition was coordinated by cloud technology computing company RackSpace. Ten start-ups with fewer than 10 team members were selected to compete. Ollo Mobile is a new device and system for panic buttons, which elderly or unwell people can use to alert family members and health authorities when they need help. The other finalists were OpenLearning, Food Orbit, Projectia, Annexium, AuthoPay, Revolutionise, Clipp, Digital Sorbet and Geepers. The start-ups pitched to a judging panel of Mick Liubinskas from incubator Pollenizer, Kim Heras from start-up network PushStart, Ruslan Kogan from Kogan Electronics, Chris Ridd, the country manager from Xero, and Robert Scoble, Rackspace’s international start-up liaison. Scoble told StartupSmart he was excited to see an ecosystem beginning in Sydney, but Australia needed to do more to support entrepreneurs. “San Francisco and New York have ecosystems, as do Tel Aviv, Beijing and Seattle. London kind of has one and Los Angeles is being built. It looks like Sydney has a good one underway. These ecosystems need to keep the geeks in town, or they leave and go somewhere else,” Scoble says. Despite the growing ecosystem, Scoble cautions Australian struggles with employee share schemes (ESS) are a fundamental issue that needed to be overcome quickly. “The laws here aren’t letting start-ups use their stock options and equity to motivate people to shelve their jobs at big companies and come and join start-ups,” Scoble says. “Australia needs to deal with this quickly to support your entrepreneurial talent, or they’re going to leave and take their value with them.” The federal government announced a review of ESS opportunities in June. Scoble adds start-ups need access to money, talent, public relations and business expertise to get their companies to the point they’re turning over billions. “When you’re in San Francisco there is such a strong future culture, you can see it in the streets with people trying new things,” he says. “You need access to the idea that your plans are possible and a city with a great culture that encourages that.”
Tech retailer Kogan has won its case against ispONE, following several weeks of tense argument in the Victorian Supreme Court. Kogan’s counsel Norman O'Bryan told SmartCompany this morning the case was, “won comprehensively on every issue”. The Victorian Supreme Court has said ispONE breached its obligations under the Master Wholesale Agreement to refusing to permit customers to to recharge their services, and must now pay all of Kogan's costs. The Court order mandates ispONE must be damages in respect of any losses, with that amount to be determined by the two parties. ispONE must also pay Kogan's costs, including those relating to its abandoned counter-claim. ispONE – which is a former entrant on the SmartCompany Smart50 - was contacted by SmartCompany this morning, but no response was available prior to publication. In a statement, Kogan Mobile said the victory means customers can “rest assured that their services will not be unlawfully interfered with by the wholesaler”. “Today is a win for Australians fed up with paying too much for their mobile phone access,” Kogan said in a statement. “The migration to Kogan Mobile has been one of the largest in Australian telecommunications history, and with today's result we can only see this migration gathering further momentum." The case began last month when Kogan took ispONE to court, alleging the company had breached the wholesale agreement because it was refusing to recharge the services of some customers. ispONE argued these customers were using too much data. Although Kogan had advertised the prepaid mobile plans as providing 6GB of data, some users were judged by ispONE to be using too much in a short space of time, in breach of the company’s acceptable use policy. ispONE responded to the case by alleging Kogan had engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct”. The case heated up two weeks ago when Justice James Judd said he was troubled by the case due to the “distraction it causes to business management’s time and effort”. Ruslan Kogan, founder of the eponymous business, said on Twitter that although the company has won, the case could harm the business’ reputation. This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Outspoken internet entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan has lashed out at the crowdfunding industry, saying in an interview with SmartCompany the market is nothing more than a "glorified video editing competition".
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Internet entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan is once again expanding his bulging online empire, this time moving into telecommunications, with his company now selling pre-paid 3G cards for use with smartphones and tablets.
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The 2012 BRW Young Rich List has a strong start-up and tech flavor, with Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar heading the rankings.
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Some of Australia’s leading start-up entrepreneurs have made an appearance onto this year’s BRW Young Rich list, with the tech and retail sectors well represented.
Online tech retailer Kogan is to start stocking Apple products in a move that its founder, Ruslan Kogan, claims will “seriously rattle the entire retail market.”
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We are currently living during a fabulous time. It's the ‘Start-up Age’. Thanks to the power of technology and the internet, the barriers to entry in nearly every industry have been significantly reduced.
Australian internet entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan has unveiled TradeLeaks.com, an ambitious whistle-blowing website designed to make retail and trade more transparent. Kogan says the website will do to trade and commerce what WikiLeaks has done to politics.
Ruslan Kogan has reignited his head-to-head with retail kingpin Gerry Harvey by saying he will “call his bluff” by providing links on his site to Harvey Norman if the retailer actually goes ahead with its plan to open a China-based website.