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The Technology Fast 50 program ranks the 50 fastest growing public or private technology companies, based on percentage revenue growth over three years. The competition has been running since 2000 and the 2019 program was proudly sponsored in Australia by the ASX, DLA Piper and NAB. In this blog series, we take a look at the 2019 winners to find out how they got to where they are.
How did start-up tech company WithYouWithMe, which upskills ex-military personnel for technology-based careers, go from Rising Star runner up in the 2018 Tech Fast 50, to overall winner – with a staggering 13,361% growth rate – in the 2019 Tech Fast 50 and Tech Fast 500?
We chat to co-founder and managing director Tom Moore to discover the secret to the company’s rapid rise.
Knowing nothing about business, technology or sales isn’t the ideal starting point for a new tech business, but Tom Moore didn’t let minor details like a lack of experience get in his way when starting the company in 2016.
After leaving the military and struggling to find meaningful work, the former combat soldier identified a problem of unemployment and under-employment for Australian veterans and decided to fix the problem.
“You shouldn’t get a job based off who you know or where you’re from or what you used to do; you should get a job off your potential, so your aptitude and your skills,” says Tom.
It’s that belief in ‘potential’ rather than experience that defines and drives the company, but whilst their goal has always been to help veterans reach their full potential, the company has evolved and developed to meet market demands.
WithYouWithMe started as a recruitment agency in Tom’s kitchen, but Tom and co-founders Luke Rix and Sam Baynes quickly realised there were untapped opportunities in the market, so they developed their offering into a much broader proposition.
“We worked out that if you predicted the labour market and saw gaps, and you positioned veterans that wanted to do those types of jobs, people would buy talent in volume,” says Tom.
“Then we worked out that the training in the market for careers in technology was product-based or compliance-based, which isn’t really effective.
“The way I think about it is, when you learn how to drive a car, you learn how to drive all cars. You don't just learn how to drive a Honda Jazz, but that's the way technology trains; they teach you how to use a product, they don't teach you what a cyber analyst does. So, we then thought we'll do direct training, and we became a training partner.”
From there they built a tech platform that tests people, trains people and automatically matches them to jobs in areas like cyber security, robotics and clouds.
“Companies then asked to buy that technology for their own internal talent. So, we went from being a recruitment company in my kitchen, to being a training company in my garage, to being an HR tech platform company… and all of a sudden we're the full talent lifecycle.”
The company has grown from three people working out of Tom’s kitchen to employing 80 people from offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. The company is due to grow to 400 people in 2020. WithYouWithMe has also expanded into overseas territories, including the lucrative US market.
With such rapid growth it has taken determination and belief in their ‘mission’ to keep the company on track.
“I have highly motivated people that are curious, transparent and fierce. They're 100 per cent focused on getting this problem done and we won't rest until we get it done.”
Joshua is a partner in Deloitte Private and leads the Sydney Deloitte middle market technology program, which includes the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program. He also sits on the Deloitte technology, media and telecommunications industry group national executive leadership team. Joshua has over 20 years' experience working with technology growth companies from start up to exit/IPO in both an audit and strategic advisory role, understanding their lifecycle needs and matching this to the broad capability of Deloitte. His areas of specialisation include audit, accounting, investigating accountants reports and business advisory.