Quick takes: Three founders we have our eye on right now

Entrepreneurs

Forbes Australia has picked out three entrepreneurs who have been making waves in the startup scene as of late – and they’re ones to watch.

‘Quick Takes: Three founders we have our eye on right now’ first appeared in Forbes Australia Issue 9. Forbes Australia Issue 9 is out now. Tap here to secure your copy.

Rob Lincolne

Rob Lincolne had been running a digital marketing agency for 11 years, working closely with not-for-profit organisations, when the need for a better way to conduct institutional payments became clear to him.

The online payments process continually created problems, and to solve this issue, Lincolne founded Paydock in 2015. The business created a program integrating payment, fraud, and identity services into one space.

With Paydock’s catch cry of “innovation by proxy”, the organisations that use the program bypass what can be a time-consuming and even expensive process of accepting payments using the API-first software. But growing the business wasn’t always smooth sailing for Lincolne.

Australian VCs were unimpressed with the product offering, and the business couldn’t find backing in Australia. Paydock moved from Sydney to the UK in 2023 and ultimately closed a $48 million Series A funding round, with backing led by Silverstripe Investment Management Limited.

Alex Cuppage, partner at Silverstripe, says that, “as the payments industry moves faster and becomes more fragmented, Paydock’s success in its segment positions it well to service the rapidly expanding demand from both financial institutions and merchants.” 

Anaita Sarkar

 It was a typical 2017 December day for Anaita Sarkar. She had packaged around 80 orders for her e-commerce business, Olivia&Co, and was waiting for the post to arrive.

But as she looked around her office, she was hit by a horrible, sinking feeling. The piles of single-use plastic mailers, the yards of bubble wrap. All for just one day’s worth of shipments. Surely there was a better way?

Inspired by compostable vegetable waste bags, Sarkar went to work to create a compostable, environmentally friendly mailing bag. It took nine months of sampling and testing, but eventually, she got it, and Hero Packaging grew from there.

A formal third-party valuation in 2022 estimated that the company was worth $15 million, and based on that, the Hero Packaging co-founders embarked on a crowd-funding campaign that saw a combined 705 investors come on board to raise $1.5 million for the business.

“Our vision is to not only grow the product side of our business but also to be the go-to learning resource for retailers by building an educational hub,” Sarkar says. “We want to make learning about sustainability news, innovative ideas, and best business practices easy.”

Matt Herbert and Connor Archbold

 For years, Matt Herbert (L) and Connor Archbold (R) had worked in ‘martech’ (marketing technology) and brand-adjacent industries. 

They first crossed paths in 2017 as early team members of the software company Mish Guru, but it was when the pair reconnected in 2020 after both had moved back to New Zealand they formulated ideas for Tracksuit.

Both Herbert and Archbold noticed a pattern among brands they worked with – the exciting, fast-growing businesses would lose the initial hype after a few years and find it impossible to maintain their trajectories.

Brands were relying on short-term indicators of success and neglecting to consider long-term brand health.

Tracksuit was built to offer an affordable platform that measures brand analytics and communicates the value of long-term brand building with a combination of market research and brand strategy methodology.

The dashboard is designed to be engaging and intuitive, with digestible market and brand insights. In 2023, a seed round raised $6.8 million for Tracksuit, with backing from Blackbird Ventures, Icehouse Ventures, Ascential, Shasta Ventures, and more.

Philip Thomas, CEO of Ascential, says, “Tracksuit brings to the market a revolutionary way to measure brand health and marketing impact that is flexible, fast, and affordable.” 

Forbes Australia Issue 9 is out now. Tap here to secure your copy.

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