Home Cool Company Awards 2011
Stroll past our august cast of Cool Company finalists and you'll hear a broad range of definitions for "singularly nifty." But only one company -- Starlettos -- can say that, barely 14 months after its launch, its product landed in the glitzy gift bags given to nominees of the Emmy Awards.
What makes ride-sharing company Jayride cool is how it pushes its brand and how it has plugged in a revenue model designed to keep the company motoring along and driving toward its ambitious goal of extending beyond Australia.
When the folks who would form Melbourne-based Effective Measure pitched their product on their home soil, they received a sobering response -- take it elsewhere. So they did. Before long, their suite of tools for measuring online media buys and audience demographics had found customers in Dubai. And Singapore. And Johannesburg.
LX Design House is an electronics design consultancy founded by Simon Blyth in 2006. Based in the Sydney suburb of Eveleigh, it's run by a small, nimble group of engineers who enjoy a good challenge. And what better challenge might one tackle than (cue Hammond organ) the mystery of mind control.
When the folks at Stuck On You, the online storefront for kids labels, are asked how they are making the world a better place, they offer a brief, punchy answer: Ever seen a frustrated parent? Children leave jackets at school. They accidentally switch lunchboxes with friends. Stuck On You's labels are parents' first line of defense.
And here's our shining example that the entrepreneurial spirit can rise anywhere, anytime. Because we can guarantee you've never seen another designer T-shirt manufacturer like this. The men who make the Doin Time line of tees live in the Youth Unit of Port Phillip Prison, a maximum-security facility. All profits from the shirts go to charity.
3Fish aims their products and marketing at people and organisations with a social conscience, who care about the origins of their products. They provide merchandise for musical bands like the John Butler Trio, for existing retail brands such as Mambo and ALAS, and for non-profit organisations such as World Vision and the Global Poverty Project. You also can see 3Fish's stuff on campuses like RMIT and Latrobe. All in all, 3Fish has produced more than 100,000 items.
It takes more than a little effort to make car washing cool. The folks at Sydney-based Nanotek have pulled it off, though, combining a slick (literally) product with an aggressive franchising strategy that has established beachheads in more than a dozen nations.
You would think that a company that models and fabricates giant shoes, soda bottles and coffee cups would be slam-dunk cool. But Big Kahuna Imagineering takes it further, vowing to give the client what they want, not what BKI can handle. "We're rarely in a comfort zone," he says.
Reactive is one of Australia's largest and longest-running digital agencies. It was started in 1997 when its two founders, Tim Fouhy and Tim O'Neill were both 21 years old. Today, the agency has a multinational footprint, with full-service offices (not just sales staff) in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Auckland and New York.
Yellow Pages, you've been put on notice. The young men behind the job-bid website Service Seeking want to put you out of business. But, well, short of that, they want to continue the biggest site of its kind in Australia, giving consumers a place to compare quotes and prices from local businesses.
Brightgreen is a Melbourne-based company that specialises in energy-efficient LED lights. Founders/brothers David and Barry O'Driscoll say they've concocted lights that have the same brightness as a 50-watt halogen bulb, but with 15 times the lifespan.
Oomph, a company that offers a easy-to-use, highly customize publishing platform for tablets, hit the ground running when the iPad arrived in 2010. The principals behind Oomph, operating under another company name, already had about 50 iPhone apps under their belt.
Inspirational businesses often are created from the synergy of founders from disparate backgrounds. Web designer and marketer. Retailer and foodie. Engineer and artist. And, of course, lifeguard and law student. That would be Clint Miller and Kate Miller, who created a business that links Australian youth to projects in developing communities overseas.
In less than two years' time, LeadBolt has become one of the world leaders in an industry boosts revenue for online publishers and advertisers via a method called content unlocking. In essence, site users encounter a screen that makes an enticing offer; the user must engage and react to the offer in order to continue seeing the site content.
Leaping into the online music service market is like standing next to a speaker at a Motorhead concert: It's not easy to be heard. Guvera, a company spawned on the Gold Coast, has bucked that challenge with big-amp angel backing and an approach to ad support as unique as a Coltrane solo.
We suspect the first word in this small telecommunications company's name has nothing to do with liplocks and everything to do with "keep it simple, stupid." Founded in Melbourne, Kiss Mobile offers a pay-as-you-go alternative to the contractual phone plans from the big telcos.
O3Office was birthed with the idea of giving road-warrior solopreneurs and SMEs a place to hold a meeting or temporarily set up shop. As the thinking went, a businessperson on the go can book a hotel, restaurant or flight, or rent a car. Why can't the same magic happen with office space?
It's been five years since Anthill's inaugural Cool Company Awards. Initially launched as a 'piss-take' to poke fun at a plethora of magazine award programs at the time, the 'cools' were quickly (and unexpectedly) embraced by Anthill readers... with the force and finesse of Arthur Fonzarilli's fist on a dukebox. (Ehhhhh!) But, unfortunately, five years on, our logo is beginning to look... well... not-so-cool. Could it be time for a crowdsourced makeover?