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Agitators, Innovators and World Dominators: Popular Sydney Businesses Listed as Winners at 2014 Startup Awards

August 6, 2014 Accolades No Comments Email Email

What is the secret to phenomenal business success in today’s climate?  According to the winners of the 2014 Australian Startup Awards, it comes down to being captain of your own ship, shunning the status quo and finding creative and effective ways to disrupt entire industries.

image001Six game-changing winners were announced in a range of categories at the 2014 Australian Startup Awards gala evening on Saturday, 2 August.  Three incredible Sydney business were included in the winners list and, in true GenY style, all of them have been built on the concept of innovation, rebellion and finding better ways of servicing the consumer.

The 2014 Australian Startup Awards program, conducted by The Entourage, Australia’s largest entrepreneurial education institute, recognises business excellence and celebrates the achievements of Australia’s top entrepreneurs under 40.  Managing Director of the Entourage, Jack Delosa, has been inspired by the quality of originality and creative thinking on display in this year’s program.

“Innovative entrepreneurs are first and foremost independent thinkers” Delosa remarks. “They have a complete disregard for the status-quo, and actively look for where they can make a real impact and disrupt an entire industry. With all of the winners in this year’s awards, while all of them have advisors and mentors, none of them are following the old rule book of business.”

David Rohrsheim from the chic Sydney enterprise, Uber, was announced as Zambrero Young Executive of the Year.  This stylish transport hub was created as an alternative to what the founders saw as a floundering industry.  “Uber’s co-founders Travis and Garrett were travelling in Paris and couldn’t get a taxi when they needed it. They resolved to fix that problem for themselves and their friends” Rohrsheim explains.  Since launching its first Australian branch in 2012, Uber has enjoyed immense success. They have now expanded their personal transport services from Sydney into Melbourne and Perth, and have hundreds of thousands of users on their database.

Rebellion was the driver behind another Sydney winner, funky photo booth business, Red Robot.  Red Robot was founded on an innovation grant in 2011, in a pure bid to create better and more desirable products for the public.  In just three years, the business has turned the photo booth industry on its head and has revolutionised photo sharing technology. It was awarded theHilton Product Business of the Year award.

Perhaps nobody sums up the recipe for GenY business success quite like Jane Lu, founder of Sydney fashion house, Showpo, and winner of the prestigious Startup Daily Startup of the Year award.  Created by 28-year-old Lu in her parent’s garage two years ago, Showpo drew nearly $7million revenue in 2013.  For her, the motivation for success is simple.  “When I first started, I was driven by spite – I had to prove all the naysayers wrong”, she admits. “Now, I’m driven by a desire for global domination”.

Also celebrated at the Awards, winning both MYOB Online Business of the Year and Spotify Young Entrepreneur of the Year, is Melbourne-based wine supplier, Vinomofo.  On target to turn over $22million in just its fourth year, and with 260,000 members already on board, this GenY powerhouse has blasted onto the business scene with its youthful exuberance and tongue-in-cheek branding.  Co-founder of Vinomofo and Spotify Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Justin Dry, 37, explains the motivation behind this explosive success.  “We created Vinomofo to disrupt the traditional supply chain and defy the major retailers and distributors to open up a viable independent channel for producers, and create a better way for people to buy wine.”

KX Pilates, winner of DKM Blue Service Business of the Year, was created in an effort to bring ancient Japanese philosophy to the Australian fitness scene, and shake up the local industry.  “I returned to Australia with one vision”, explains KX Pilates founder, Aaron Smith.  “I wanted to expand the quality and offer of the local fitness industry with a new style of high performance Pilates.”

“This year the judges were looking for a combination of strong financial performance, a disruptive business model and potential for future growth. These winners have each of these qualities and will be very exciting to watch their continued success in the years to come”, Jack Delosa remarks.

For a full list of winners, visit

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