STEFAN ACKERIE recalls driving into Brisbane 50 years ago, to establish what was to become an Australian hairdressing empire, in his blue MGA roadster "people waving to me and me waving back at them". "And it's been that way ever since," he told the crowd at the Brisbane 2013 Lord Mayor's Business Awards on Friday night, where he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Continue reading

AN AUSTRALIAN streaming video monetisation platform, Spondo, has won a rare 2013 Red Herring Top 100 Asia Award.

Chris Adams, Spondo CEO.


Publisher Red Herring's Top 100 Asia list has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising new companies and entrepreneurs. In fact, Red Herring editors were among the first to recognise that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, and eBay would change the way we live and work.

Spondo is a world-leading proprietary content syndication and revenue distribution software platform. Recognised on the list of  the year's most promising private technology ventures from the Asian business region, Spondo was the only company from Australia to receive an award.

"We are honoured to join the accomplished roster of those who have been honoured by Red Herring," Spondo CEO Chris Adams said.

"The fact that we were the only Australian company to be named to this list says a lot about the unique quality of work we are currently doing at Spondo. We look forward to continuing the kind of innovation that helped us receive such a pre-eminent technology accolade."

Red Herring's editorial staff evaluated the companies on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, management quality, strategy, and market penetration.

This assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the track record and standing of start-ups relative to their peers, allowing Red Herring to see past what it calls ‘the buzz' and make the list a valuable instrument of discovery and advocacy for the most promising new business models in Asia.

"Choosing the companies with the strongest potential was by no means a small feat," said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. "After rigorous contemplation and discussion, we narrowed our list down from hundreds of candidates from across Asia to the Top 100 winners.

"We believe Spondo embodies the vision, drive and innovation that define a successful entrepreneurial venture. Spondo should be proud of its accomplishment, as the competition was the strongest it has ever been."

Chris Adams' appointment as Spondo CEO was announced in Times Square, New York.


Red Herring is a global media company aiming to unite the world's best high technology innovators, venture investors and business decision makers in a variety of forums, including print, online and exclusive events worldwide. Red Herring provides an insider's access to the global innovation economy, identifying new and innovative technology companies and entrepreneurs.

The Red Herring 100 awards for North America, Europe, Asia and Global have recognised more than 5,000 companies in their early stages, including Baidu, Google, eBay and Skype.

Spondo's proprietary content syndication and revenue distribution software empowers publishers to monetize their content on any website, tablet PC or Smart device/TV via streaming Pay-Per-View, VOD and more.

Based in Melbourne, Spondo seeks to connect content owners with affiliates and their communities through an innovative business model of revenue sharing, turnkey technology solutions and marketing tools that make it easy to make money from content worldwide.

Spondo is owned by holding company RivusTV Limited.


AUSTRALIAN technology company simPRO Software has acquired what it calls a "cornerstone shareholding" in rapidly growing cloud-based accounting software company Gem Software Solutions. This is likely to give simPRO a new edge with its enterprise systems, giving fast-growing SMEs economical access to top-line accounting and cutting into the market of established players such as MYOB and QuickBooks. 

Brad Couper, simnPRO Software CEO.


This gives simPRO control of Gem Accounts accounting software ( that has been rolled-out successfully in six different countries, including the recent US launch.

Gem Software Solutions is to become an operational part of the simPRO Software Group and provide simPRO a position on the three-person board to help guide the growth of Gem.

According to simPRO Software CEO Brad Couper, the strategic investment would allow simPRO to offer a fully integrated general ledger as part of the company’s enterprise system.

“We will now be able to provide a complete end-to-end solution to the mid market and large business space,” Mr Couper said.

He said Gem Software Solutions was on track to deliver $2.2 million in revenue for its first fiscal year based on the current take up rate across its operating regions which includes Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Singapore and, soon, in the UK market.

Mr Couper said Gem Accounts had been designed from the ground up to deliver a fully featured, scalable cloud accounting software system for medium, large and growing small businesses "with all the features you would expect in a serious financial package at the price of a reasonable desktop package".

This fits in precisely with the simPRO client base of mid market businesses and adds to the portfolio of simPRO’s cloud businesses and products which include simPRO Enterprise, simPRO Connect, simPRO eForms and simTRAC vehicle tracking.

“Traditionally we offered accounting links from our cloud product into desktop accounting systems, and recently have been integrating with the small business cloud accounting systems via API,” Mr Couper said.

“With the drive to the cloud, our midsize and large clients have not been able to take full advantage of the cloud accounting systems on the market as the smaller systems typically have feature limitations or system limitations, where the larger systems are often too expensive for the mid market.

“Gem provides simPRO users with a well priced, fully featured cloud accounting solution.” Mr Couper said.

The investment would also provide simPRO with exposure to the rapidly growing cloud-based accounting software market.

“With the likes of Xero establishing the broader market acceptance of cloud accounting we realise that this market is only going to continue to grow... with no major players in the mid-market we believe that getting in early will deliver significant returns in the long term.”

Gem Accounts managing director Andrew Crowe said the investment would provide Gem Accounts with the capital to expand its product offering and market presence.

“More importantly it gives us access to the knowledge and experience of a proven, Australian software company that has successfully expanded internationally,” he said. “We will be working closely with the simPRO team to integrate Gem into the simPRO group and to collaborate on international market growth with resource sharing where needed.”

Although Gem will be part of the simPRO Software Group, it will run independently and will not be limited to targeting clients in the same vertical niche as simPRO. Mr Couper said simPRO would also become a major Gem client, with the accounts of its five operating companies in three countries switching to the software.

Established in 2002, simPRO Software is a Brisbane based self-funded software company with operations in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It claims to be the global leader in job management software for the services and contracting sector to improve productivity and profitability in businesses.

Melbourne-based Gem Software Solutions produces the Gem Accounts cloud accounting software for mid market business. Gem Accounts is a fully featured accounting product with multi country capability providing multi currency, multi language, and line-by-line eliminations for consolidation.


BRUNY Island Cheese Co. owner Nick Haddow, whose business was named 2013 Telstra Australian Business of the Year, will get a significant promotional boost tonight when his business is featured on Sky Business News.

Nick Haddow, Bruny Island Cheese Co.


Mr Haddow is one of those profiled in Stories of Success: The Telstra Business Awards which tells the background stories on the tumultuous pathways to success for some of Australia's best small and medium businesses.

The program shares stories of resilience, toil and determination behind the scenes of the 2013 Telstra Australian Business Awards national finalists.

The program visits Bruny Island Cheese Company's artisan cheese making operation in Tasmania, exploring how Mr Haddow has turned back the clock to marry mouth-watering artisan produce with a business of the future. Bruny Island Cheese Co. was started by Nick Haddow, after he spent 10 years working with specialist cheese makers in many different countries around the world.

Mr Haddow and his partner Leonie settled on Bruny Island in Southern Tasmania in 2001 to start making cheese for themselves.

 "The program exposes viewers to an inspiring bunch of characters who are absolutely determined, passionate people," Mr Haddow said.

"There's an amazing diversity of small business people in Australia and what ties them together, and sets them apart, is they simply can't cope with not giving it a go.

"It's really important we share stories because many businesses are small, geographically isolated, or simply flat out doing what they do.

"We're inspired by other like minded business people and can learn the practicalities of what works for them to save time and money."

The program is a TV first. In one hour it follows the journey of eight diverse business people from around the nation who were named as the Telstra Business of the Year in their state or territory and were in the running for the 2013 Australian Business of the Year.

Others featured in Stories of Success: The Telstra Business Awards include a young motorcycle manufacturer taking his wares to the world and a former Victorian detective who left behind a life fighting crime to "fight creepy crawlies" with a pest control business in the Top End of Australia.

Stories of Success: The Telstra Business Awards plays on Sky News Business on September 9 at 10.30pm with encore screenings on September 14 at 9.30am and September 15 at 9.30am and 5.30pm.  


Contact Us


PO Box 2144