Five up-and-coming entrepreneurs to watch

Kate Jones
@kateljnes

Australian entrepreneurs are among the world’s most innovative and competitive. They have shunned quiet corporate careers for the ups and downs of trying to make it big in the business world.

These five up-and-coming entrepreneurs are heading up some of Australia’s most exciting startups. If you haven’t already heard of them, you soon will.

Melanie Perkins, Canva

Perkins was just 25 when she co-founded online graphic design program Canva in 2013. She was inspired to build the program after watching students struggle to learn the basics of graphic design programs while teaching at university. The springboard was online design tool Fusion Books, which she made with Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht.

Today Canva boasts more than 4.5 million users who have created more than 33 million designs.

Chris Hexton, Vero

Vero is emailing, but not as you know it. Hexton’s vision was to make email marketing even more powerful and personalised for online retailers by tracking customer behaviour.

Hexton, a self-taught coder, bootstrapped Vero with co-founder James Lamont with the help of startup incubator Startmate. Now Vero software has attracted some big names including freelancer and Speedo.

Leigh Sherman, Pantree.co

Sherman wanted to simplify the complicated processes of ordering, pricing, invoicing and sales between cafes and restaurants and their suppliers. Cloud-based platform pantree.co was born and its ingenuity saw it take out the 2013 Startup Melbourne Weekend. It won seed funding from Adventure Capital and launched in May this year.

Matt Browne, DoneSafe and Fraudsec

Browne is the brains behind health and safety software startup, DoneSafe. Unlike old school OH&S software, DoneSafe is easy to use and built on scalable infrastructure so it can be used by small to large organisations.

Browne is also a co-founder of Fraudsec, which lets whistleblowers report fraud anonymously from smart devices using data encryption software.

Jackson Yin, iBuild

Australia’s ever-increasing real estate prices have caused much handwringing among economists and homebuyers. Enter iBuild – an Australian startup selling flatpack homes and disrupting the real estate industry.

The company sells steel prefabricated granny flats and modular homes for a fraction of the average Aussie home price. Three-bedroom kit homes start at $57,592. iBuild, based at the new Eastern Innovation Business Centre in Melbourne, was originally building homes for Australian miners before branching into general housing.

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

Image: Original image by Lachlan Hardy, Flickr Creative Commons license

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