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2015 StartupSmart Awards: SEO key to fast growth, says LabFriend founder Karl Wyzenbeek

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 | By StartupSmart

Over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at the finalists in each of the categories in the 2015 StartupSmart Awards. Today, we examine the Fastest Growing category.


Online marketplaces need to think about search engine optimisation from day one, according to the founder of a startup shortlisted in the Fastest Growing category at this year’s StartupSmart Awards.


Karl Wyzenbeek, founder and managing director of LabFriend, says since launching in late 2013 he has learnt what it takes to run a successful e-commerce site.


“We cut out the middle man to save Australian research organisations a huge amount of money to buy critical equipment,” he says.


“Typically they [the customers] have to apply for government grants and are very restricted with their expenses. By doing all of our business online we’re able to give them high quality equipment at a much lower price. We look after customer service, they still get the warranty… but they were previously trying to buy those products overseas to save money.”

A sister site has since sprung up called IndustryFriend, thanks to demand from businesses beyond the science and research sector.


Wyzenbeek says it was much easier to set up the second e-commerce platform because of LabFriend’s existing backend infrastructure.


“What I would say, especially to anyone who is looking to launch an e-commerce or online business, is from day one when you’re developing your website to keep the SEO front of mind,” he says.


“We went and built this fantastic product and you fill this amazing store, but then no one finds you because the SEO isn’t there. When we launched IndustryFriend we designed it from day one to be friendly for Google, whereas when we started LabFriend we were still learning and trying to piece together that information.”


Joining LabFriend as a finalist for the Fastest Growing Startup category in the 2015 StartupSmart Awards are Melbourne-based grocery deliver startup YourGrocer and workplace drug testing service Safe Work Laboratories.


The winner of the Fastest Growing category will be announced at an event in Melbourne on April 16. You can buy tickets here.


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