Australia's fastest-growing startup has benefited from a slowing economy where businesses are keen to cut operating costs.
LEDified, whose $34 million revenue in 2015-16 is the highest of any company to have commenced trading since 1 July 2012, provides light-emitting diode (LED) lighting to corporations. After 16,000 installations its co-founder and chief executive Suren Chandrajit said LED lights, which are more energy-efficient but more expensive than the halogen lights they usually replace, had paid for themselves after an average 14.1 months.
Entrants to The Australian Financial Review's Fast Starters must have commenced trading on or after 1 July 2012, and provide at least two years of turnover data, with a minimum of $500,000 in the second most recent reporting period (2014-2015). The AFR seeks verification from external auditors or accountants (if the entrant is not listed) and determines rank by revenue reported for the latest period (2015-2016). The AFR also notes the growth rate, but does not use it for the ranking.
As with the Fast 100, the Fast Starters' numbers in 2016 are slightly weaker than they were last year. The 75th-placed company in 2016, Digital Elder, reported $2.03 million in 2015-16 revenue, less than the $2.42 million reported by the equivalently-placed company on 2015's list, PENSO.
In 2016 29 companies were included in the list of 100 last year.
The biggest improvers were etailer Nourished Life (up 65 places from 89th in 2015 to 24th in 2016), EFEX Group (up 44 places to 20th), Recon Solutions (up 42 places to 12th), Online Marketing Gurus (up 40 places to 31st) and Supple Solutions (up 35 places to 64th).
LEDified did not make the list at all last year as it completed a pivot away from offering residential installations of LED lighting.
Its commercial client list includes Coles, Bluescope and Toll Holdings, for whose ports business LEDified just completed installation of 1000-watt LED floodlights on 40-metre poles, replacing 4000-watt metal halides.
LEDified took on private equity firm Anacacia Capital as a 58 per cent owner last year. Mr Chandrajit, 35, said this had helped the business add some senior hires from the lighting and building management industries to an executive team whose average age had previously been in the early 30s.
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, who last year convinced Mr Chandrajit not to list LEDified, remains chairman and an investor
Many companies made the transition from the Fast Starter category to Fast 100 in 2016.
Some of the notable movers were Australian Skin Clinics (7th in the Fast Starters in 2015 and number 2 in Fast 100 in 2016), Evolve Skateboards (52 in Fast Starters in 2015, 11th in the Fast 100 in 2016), CharterNet Advisers (67th in Fast Starters in 2015 and 20th in the Fast 100 in 2016) and Triaxial Consulting (87th in Fast Starters in 2015 to 34th in the Fast 100 in 2016).
The full Fast Starters 2016 list is available here.
Michael Bailey and Beverley Uther
Australian Financial Review