A record number of start-ups entered the 2013 StartupSmart Awards, proudly sponsored by DFK Australia New Zealand, demonstrating the stunning depth in entrepreneurial talent in Australia.

The awards, organised by www.StartupSmart.com.au, Australia’s leading news and advice resource for start-ups, recognise the most innovative and fastest-growing new businesses in Australia.

The judges of the 2013 awards had the difficult task of picking out winners in the eight individual categories, which were announced at a ceremony at the Victorian Investment Centre in Melbourne on March 20.

But the overall winner is 1800Approved, a Queensland finance brokerage that took out the Fastest Growing Start-up award.

The business topped our top 50 list of fastest-growing businesses – you can read profiles of each of the 50 below – after posting an impressive $20 million revenue after just three years of operation.

The winner gets a Private Media advertising package worth $10,000, along with a strategic review and planning workshop, supplied by DFK, which is also worth $10,000.

Entrants had to be up and running for under four years and have revenue over $250,000 to be eligible for the top 50.

Other prizes include Best Start-up Idea, Best Green Start-up, Best Start-up Product, Best Services Start-up, Best Online Strategy, Best Start-up Investor and Best Young Entrepreneur.

There is also the Start-up Hero award, a special prize for a particularly inspiring entrepreneurial story.

Below, you can read profiles on each of the 50 fastest-growing start-ups and the category award winners.



Bruce Jeffreys

Founder, GoGet

goget.com.au | @BruceJeffreys

Bruce Jeffreys was part of the Sustainability Unit within the NSW Department of Planning, where he worked on sustainable development projects for new residential homes and apartments. In 2003, with business partner Nic Lowe, he founded Australia's first and now largest professional car sharing service, GoGet.


Chris Coulton

Chairman, DFK Australia New Zealand


As Chairman of DFKANZ, an accounting and business advisory association with 14 independent offices, Chris directs the members focus on serving the diverse needs of fast growing businesses. Previously Chris founded his own accountancy practise in Sydney that grew to a 5 partner firm before joining DFK.


Marcia Griffin

CEO, Pola Cosmetics

griffinandrow.com.au | @marciagriffin

As CEO of Pola Cosmetics Australia and New Zealand, Marcia Griffin grew the business to become a multibillion dollar company. A company director and motivational speaker, Marcia founded skincare range griffin + row in 2008.


Marc Peskett

Partner, MPR Group

mprgroup.com.au | @mpeskett

Marc Peskett is a partner of MPR Group, a Melbourne based firm that specialises in providing business advisory, tax, outsourced accounting and grants and funding services, to fast growing technology and innovation businesses.


Fred Schebesta

Founder, Finder.com.au

finder.com.au | @schebesta

Fred Schebesta is a founder of Finder.com.au which runs a network of comparison sites which include: Credit Card Finder, Home Loan Finder, Life Insurance Finder and Savings Account Finder. Fred loves to save people money and help entrepreneurs with their online marketing. Previously Fred was involved with Freestyle Media which was acquired in 2007. .


Chanel Costabir

Owner, The Lingerie Boutique


Just three years ago, Costabir was a 21-year-old with absolutely no business experience. Now she owns and operates two firms – The Lingerie Boutique and Sheer Novice. Costabir is rapidly making her mark has one of the leading young online retail entrepreneurs in Australia.


Andrew Stead

Director, ATP Innovations


Andrew is the director of business development at ATP Innovations, a leading start-up incubator that has helped more than 80 ventures raise over $96 million in the past five years. Andrew is also a co-founder of investment group Sydney Angels and lectures in entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney.


Oliver Milman

Editor, StartupSmart

www.startupsmart.com.au | @startupsmartnow

Oliver Milman is the editor of StartupSmart. He has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, most recently as a senior reporter at B&T. Oliver previously worked on the UK online publication Startups.co.uk.

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Awards Night Photos

Congratulations to the award winners and finalists and thank you to everyone that entered this year’s awards.