What is the 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians.
Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
Andrew Barnes, QLD (b. 1988)
Name: Andrew Barnes
Age: 24 (Born: December 1988)
Known for: GO1
Back in high school, Andrew Barnes and two friends entered and won a few website design competitions. So, with youthful exuberance, they figured, “Hey, why not turn this hobby into a business?”
So in 2005, GO1 was born of the savings Barnes and his business partner Vu Tran had stacked up. Together, they grew GO1 whilst completing university (to satisfy their parents). So in addition to GO1, Vu is a medical doctor and Barnes is completing a PhD in business management.
Barnes being a natural salesman once raised a $75,000 angel investment for a small shareholding in a new venture with just a set of PowerPoint slides! This keen sales ability is reflected in GO1’s very unique sales strategy where they don’t employ a single ‘sales’ person.
“Instead, we let clients face project managers, designers, developers and product leads who are even more persuasive because they are passionate and knowledgeable about what they do,” Barnes explains.
Despite the fact that their field of business is rather hi-tech, Barnes says they have relied on the low-tech but still very reliable word-of-mouth customer referral to generate a buzz for GO1.
“We actually recently traced how we met some of our clients. It turned out hundreds of our clients came from a chain triggered by one client that we secured from door-knocking down two of Brisbane’s main roads,” Barnes says.
He adds, “It was an awful experience (we have never door-knocked again!), but that client led to another, then another, then another…”
When they started, all they did was create frontend web presences for clients. Now, GO1 provides services across three divisions: web and app development, sales force & CRM implementation and lastly through Aduro, their e-learning SaaS product.
They also have a number of other products in the pipeline and have close to 50 staff across five offices, servicing clients across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
Barnes’ entrepreneurial path has had some bumps of its own though. One of the related ventures around GO1 involved Barnes, Tran and another business partner. The venture itself was a great success – going from nothing to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue per month.
However, this created its own pressures and the other party wanted more control and ownership, eventually tried to seize it by force and lawyers had to get involved. Barnes and Tran decided to just leave and focus on GO1 rather than make a lengthy process out of it.
Over the years, GO1 has swept several awards including The Courier Mail’s Top Ten Bright Young Things, AIM’s Young Manager of the Year for Brisbane, B&T’s 30 Under 30 and was a finalist in B&T’s Annual Awards.
Anthill asks: Andrew Barnes, what motivates you as an entrepreneur?
I am driven by a desire to create things! I get bored easily and I like achieving things. Those two traits put together mean that I often have many ideas flowing through my head, which I am always working to implement.
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