Despite 2020 serving up its fair share of doom and gloom, many businesses within Australia's start-up scene are continuing to boom.
Thanks to new technology, creative thinking and disruptive business models, a crop of Aussie companies are finding success.
Below, we round up five inspiring Australian companies and the brains behind them.
Thanks to one heck of a catchy commercial, fronted by comedian and singer Gen Fricker, Stella is the brand name on everyone's lips. Launched in Australia earlier this year, Stella is the new car insurance provider made by women, for women. Stella rewards women for being statistically 'safer drivers' and aims to challenge the status quo of car insurance (which can be boring, overcomplicated and generally unrewarding).
"Interestingly, through our research, we discovered that a lot of men tend to automatically think that because driving is a physical thing, they should be better at it," says Stella CEO Sam White. "But the numbers don't lie — women are proven to have less accidents and cause less damage in accidents than men."
Sam is passionate about promoting women and diversity in the workplace. After starting her own insurance company at 24, she has spent the last 20 years building a number of businesses in the UK which have turned over in excess of GBP 18 million (AUD $35 million) and employed more than 200 people.
"It's been a labour of love, building this brand and business out in collaboration with our female customers to (hopefully) give them a much more intuitive and rewarding experience when it comes to car insurance," Sam explains.
Stella aims to change, not only the insurance game, but the game altogether and commits to supporting future generations of female led businesses by donating a portion of their profits through their initiative called Stella Squad. Game-changing car insurance? Now there's something we thought we'd never say.
While COVID-19 has resulted in huge losses for many companies, Australian digital graphics business Canva has seen its value soar.
Known as the 'Adobe-Disruptor', Canva was founded in 2012 by Sydney-based Melanie Perkins and her fiance Cliff Obrecht. The platform allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content such as resumes. Canva is free to use and offers paid subscriptions with additional features.
Thanks to an increase in the number of professionals forced to work from home this year, Canva's value increased by $US60 million, making Melanie the third richest woman in the country. Some of Canva's earliest investors include Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.
"I had to learn to kite-surf to go to this conference to meet some great investors. Then through that conference that's how I met with Owen," Melanie has said. Now that's commitment.
HireUp is an online support provider for those with disabilities. The platform aims at revolutionising the way people with disabilities find, hire and manage support workers by connecting them with people with shared interests.
Founded by Jordan and Laura O'Reilly, who grew up alongside a brother with disability, HireUp also provides assistance for support workers. The siblings' deep understanding of Australia's disability support work system has seen the platform rapidly expand and it is now the largest online network of support workers in Australia.
From personal care to therapy support, transportation and education, HireUp allows users to find, book and manage trusted and verified support, all in one place.
Located in South Australia, Warndu is an indigenous-owned company that aims to regenerate culture, community, tradition, health and food, by creating a sustainable native food industry.
Founded in 2016 by Damien Coulthard, Rebecca Sullivan and Siobhan O'Toole, Warndu began by offering a range of herbal teas made from wild and cultivated Australian native ingredients. Since then, the brand has expanded to spices and has released a cookbook, Warndu Mai.
Warndu (which means 'good' in the Adnyamathanha language) sources its roasted, whole wattleseed and freeze-dried quandong from the Flinders Ranges, and powdered Davidson Plum and ground strawberry gum from New South Wales. While demand for native Australian ingredients continues to grow, Warndu prioritises working with other Indigenous Australian brands and women's groups.
Karst Stone Paper designs paper stationary (think planners and notebooks) made from recycled stone.
Based on the world's never-ending need for paper and sustainable solutions, the brand developed Karst Stone Paper™ without using trees, water or chemicals. Eliminating waste, the hyper-durable paper is made from 100 per cent sustainably recycled stone. Thanks to its special make-up, Karst Stone Paper™ is completely waterproof, friction-free (pens glide across paper thanks to there being no grain direction) and naturally bright white.
The specially made paper has a 67 per cent smaller carbon footprint than regular paper, and Karst offset the rest to make each purchase carbon neutral. Proving their environmental credentials, Karst has partnered with One Tree Planted and plant a tree with every purchase.
^ Any advice provided is general advice and does not take your personal circumstances into consideration. Please consider the Stella product disclosure statement (PDS) available at stellainsurance.com.au for the terms, conditions, and exclusions before purchasing this insurance. Stella Underwriting (ABN 72 633 811 319) is an Authorised Representative (AR 001282046) of Allstate Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 82 073 267 053, AFSL 239010) which is acting (under its own AFSL) on behalf of the product issuer, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545)
Brought to you by Stella. Car insurance for women, by women.