Start-up Team Tech Growth Winner

One small team with huge ambitions grows quickly to win.

Winning Deloitte Australia’s Technology Fast 50 in 2020 gave media buying agency Half Dome the gravitas it needed to build on its ambitious growth trajectory. Since winning almost a year ago, Half Dome has gone from strength to strength, refining its business processes and deeply investing in its team culture.

A few years ago, Australian brothers Tom and Joe Frazer and their friend Will Harms went backpacking around the US. One day, while camping near Half Dome – a huge 1,500 metre granite peak in Yosemite National Park – they shared a pipedream over a crackling campfire: to start a business together. In memory of that fantastic trip, Victorian media buying agency Half Dome opened its doors in mid-2017 with the aim of shaking up the advertising sector. The team’s vision is to be the smartest and best independent media agency in Australia, with true breadth and depth of specialist expertise across different channels.

Start-ups need to stand out in competitive markets, so the team was delighted to receive industry accolades for being short-listed in the Deloitte Tech Fast 50’s Rising Star category in 2019. Attending the event in person and “networking with like-minded companies” was a career highlight. When they applied again in 2020, they certainly didn’t expect to be the overall winner after such a challenging, COVID-19-riddled year. However, their solid three-year track record of sensational 2390% growth wasn’t just unbeatable, it was an impressive show of resilience and grit.

“We have been able to open far more doors off the back of winning the Tech Fast 50 than ever before – be it through funding, new clients or new employees. The gravitas that comes along with winning such a prestigious award is unparalleled.”

Tom Frazer, Co-Founder, Half Dome

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program is now in its 21st year of ranking the 50 fastest growing tech companies in Australia with a minimum cumulative revenue of A$8 million over a three-year period. The Tech Fast 50 is open to any business that uses technology as a key part of their business. 

Since winning, the team has consolidated Half Dome’s operations. As Joe said, “when you grow quickly, you get to a point where you need to look internally and set the platform for further growth, which we’ve now done. We’re excited to be going through an acquisition push.”

But it’s not all about revenue and profits. Happiness comes first and foremost for the founders and their now 35-strong team. Their workplace encourages mental wellbeing, an inclusive culture and mindfulness while providing an environment that welcomes all feedback to bring out the best in everyone. “We call it leveraging the ‘happiness advantage’ – happier people are more productive, and provide better solutions to make clients even happier,” explains Will.

When reflecting on their success, Tom, Joe and Will believe there are two key reasons for their incredible growth. Investing in their people from the very beginning – including training, mental wellbeing and respect. And having clear goals and remaining focused on what and how they can be achieved.

Tom concludes, “we have strong growth aspirations. We want to make waves in the Australian market over the next several years. Not by being the largest agency, but definitely being the smartest.”

“Half Dome’s result is a testament to their resilience, grit and ability to quickly adapt, innovate and problem solve. The company’s huge jump from 12th in our 2019 Rising Star category to the 2020 overall winner is a remarkable achievement.”

Josh Tanchel, Deloitte Partner, Technology Fast 50 Leader