The Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs for the website businessnewsaustralia.com has been released for Australia for 2021.
Six Australians of Greek heritage have done exactly that, making it in the Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs list for 2021.
The individuals listed, generated more than $5.9 billion in revenue
18. Chris Anastasi and Nathaniel Anthony (Muscle Nation) Brisbane
Family-owned and operated, Muscle Nation has tapped into Australia’s active lifestyle culture with products including clothing and supplements, and more recently protein bars sold at supermarkets nationwide.
Nathaniel Anthony and Chris Anastasi announced a nationwide deal with Coles in July for its bars filled with the same custard protein used in Muscle Nation’s supplements.
“It is rare to see an Australian online retailer successfully secure a deal with a large national grocer so when the opportunity presented itself we wanted to do something special,” Anastasi said at the time.
The online retail component for fashion is still the largest part of Muscle Nation’s business and has been growing rapidly over recent years, but the entrepreneurs are cognisant that growth can’t go on doubling forever and diversification is necessary to create new opportunities.
“Clothing has the better margins, but when you start looking at the volume that grocer has the potential to do, it’s incredible,” he says.
“Once you start ordering more the cost of goods comes down, and if you start working on volume, certain volumes get so big that they kind of eliminate the issue of margin.”
The supermarket/grocer side of the business, whereby the protein powders are packaged in pouches rather than the usual tubs in a bid to drastically reduce the amount of plastic, also provides an opportunity for cross-pollination of Muscle Nation’s products.
“At the end of the day, if you walk into Coles now you’ll see Muscle Nation, and you might connect with the brand and want to buy our clothes online now. It’s kind of this circle of things that we do that keeps bringing the customer back to us,” Anastasi says.
To keep pace with growth, the company is set to open a new facility in early 2022.
42. Michael Christidis (Untitled Group) Melbourne
As the organisers of some of Australia’s most beloved and attended music festivals and events, Untitled Group had its job cut out for it as COVID-19 restrictions dragged on into 2021.
Against the odds, the five founders did everything they could to keep the spirit of Untitled Group glowing – after all, the show must go on.
With their big money making festivals on ice, including Beyond The Valley, Pitch Music and Arts, Ability Festival and Wildlands, the team pivoted.
During the period Untitled Group ran live-streaming events, launched a domestic artist agency with more than 30 artists already signed to it, purchased South Yarra nightclub The Emerson, and doubled staff numbers.
The company also began supporting Australian brands the founders loved, including investing in fellow Top 100 lister Mr Yum and a $300,000 investment in pear juice brand Bae Juice.
But with things looking brighter by the day for the music and arts industry, Untitled Group is charging full steam ahead with its 2022 programme with more than 100 COVID-safe events planned for the next 12 months.
This includes the return of beloved music festival Pitch Music and Arts, which is coming home to the Grampians in March with a stacked lineup including American DJ Maceo Plex and Australian techno talent Skin On Skin.
55. Alexis Soulopoulos (Mad Paws): ASX (MPA) Sydney
After building some serious momentum on the back of a boom in new pet ownership sparked by the pandemic, pet services giant Mad Paws listed on the ASX in March this year.
Joined by a pack of furry friends, the company’s leaders rang the bell at the ASX building in Sydney – launching trading of MPA following an IPO which bagged Mad Paws $12 million in capital.
Though the MPA shares remain hovering around the initial $0.20 IPO price, its presence on the boards represented a turning point for the company founded by co-CEOs Soulopulos and Justus Hammer alongside Jan Pacas in 2014.
The company is in the process of growing its tech-focused online marketplace for services like pet sitting, dog walking, pet food and pet insurance.
Since listing, Mad Paws made its first acquisition – dog treats and toys subscription service Waggle Club – for $3 million in June.
Founded by its CEO Kate Herbert in 2016, Waggly Club receives around 2,000 orders per month for its parcels filled with Australian made, chemical-free healthy dog treats and toys that are tailored to each dog’s age, chewing needs and size.
The subscription model accounts for 70 per cent of Waggly Club’s revenue, which has almost doubled to $1.5 million this financial year.
Ultimately, the leaders of Mad Paws hope to become more than just the nation’s leading pet services business, but a one-stop-shop for everything and anything to do with pets.
90. Nicholas Mitrosillis (The Yiros Shop): Brisbane
From its origins as an authentic Greek food takeaway chain with outlets spread around Southeast Queensland, The Yiros Shop could be set to skewer a new market segment after a successful drive-thru launch in Logan early this year.
The concept has given founder Nicholas Mitrosillis the confidence to roll out more drive-thrus as the main source of expansion in the near future, driven by franchising following the February launch of the chain’s first franchised store at the Jindalee DFO.
He explains it is actually easier to secure sites for The Yiros Shop with drive-thru given the lack of Greek food options in the format.
“There aren’t a whole lot of options for drive-thrus. If you’re competing for an in-line store there’s 100 people that could go for it, but when we’re looking for a drive-thru site there’s only 10 or so, and there’s nothing like our offering,” Mitrosillis says.
“You can’t go put three burger places next to each other, two Mexican places, so we always get asked to go in the mix.”
He says there are still some in-line store openings because existing leases have already been signed, but now the main focus will be drive-thru unless it’s for a flagship site like what The Yiros Shop has in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast.
“After opening this restaurant we learned quickly we were onto something big. We gained huge popularity and traction, even though we had opened in a brand new area where we had to ‘educate’ our customer base on what a ‘Yiros’ was,” the entrepreneur explains.
The company has previously channelled a significant portion of its sales through Uber and other delivery apps, given its strong foothold in suburban takeaway locations, but this year The Yiros Shop also launched its own app to handle pick-up and delivery.
“This means we were able to control some of our pricing which made us competitive in the market as opposed to other delivery platforms,” Mitrosillis says.
“We were able to through planning, integrate with DoorDash and Uber, using their contracted drivers to deliver on the behalf of our restaurants.
“As customers choose delivery orders through our App, it alerts DoorDash or Uber drivers and they complete the order for us seamlessly without the customer knowing it is not our own delivery driver.”
For the future the entrepreneur plans to open up restaurants all over Australia with an ambitious goal to create the biggest Greek food franchise in the country, and one of Australia’s largest fast-food franchises.
91. Harry Karefilakis (Kare Group Australia, Ethos Electrical Services, All Steel Designs) Melbourne
After persisting through lockdowns in Melbourne with his electrical contractor Kare Group in 2020, Harry Karefilakis launched his second business in the sector in 2021 to cater to larger, unionised projects.
With strong momentum since then he believes Ethos Electrical Services could end up outpacing his original company.
“Because of the COVID pandemic we have decided to pivot and grow our service and maintenance works,” he adds.
“We decided to do electrical audits as part of the new tenancy legislation and have already signed up over 4,000 properties – this work is recession- and pandemic-proof, and also high gross profit work.”
In the second half of this calendar year he also launched All Steel Designs, a nationally-focused business that provides internal steel doors and front doors for houses.
“For a startup I can’t believe how much work we’ve got. It’s delivery of service only, we don’t install,” he says.
“I just love business. I can sit and work on someone else’s business for days, not getting paid and I don’t even notice I’m doing it.
“It’s a game in my head – how to manoeuvre, how to out step people. I don’t even focus so much on the profits that will come with it.”
Congratulations to all mentioned above.