Young, rich, and now famous: Australian entrepreneurs make their mark

INTERNET entrepreneur Mark Harbottle first got the bug to make money selling cowboy hats at a roadside stall at the age of 10. Yet today he makes his debut on the BRW Young Rich list at No.52 with his share in SitePoint valued at $40 million.

''Well, I guess you could say I'm an overnight success 11 years in the making,'' Mr Harbottle told the Herald last night.

The miners are still inheriting the earth - magnate Nathan Tinkler is worth $1.13 billion, making him No.1 and the first billionaire on the list - but more than one-quarter of this year's list of the 100 self-made millionaires under 40 made their fortunes from the information technology or telecommunications businesses.

Technology moguls Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, owners of software development and collaboration tool maker Atlassian, have a combined wealth of $360 million, putting them in fourth and fifth spot. They were pipped by hedge fund manager Greg Coffey, dubbed the ''Wizard of Oz'' ($743 million), at No.2 and Steven Kalmin, the chief financial officer of the Swiss-based mining and trading company Glencore, at No.3 with $458 million.

Well, I guess you could say I'm an overnight success 11 years in the making.

Also in the top 10 is the softly spoken Simon Clausen, who dedicates part of his $207 million fortune to creating the next generation of tech companies through incubator Startive.

This year's list also features a number of tech newbies as a clutch of locally developed companies won significant funding from local and US-based investors. They include Hezi Leibovich of Daily Deals, Catch Of The Day and Scoopon fame (No.22, $80 million), and Bevan Clark and Guy King of discount coupon site RetailMeNot (No. 23 with a joint valuation of $77 million).

On the telecommunications front, high fliers include Chris Monching and Zac Swindells (jointly at 71st on $28 million for ispONE) and Aidan Tudehope (No.73, $28 million).

''The Young Rich have continued to boost their wealth when many others in business have struggled to cope with difficult conditions,'' said BRW Young Rich editor Andrew Heathcote.


The total wealth of this year's Young Rich list rose to $7.3 billion from $6.3 billion last year, lifting the cut-off entry to $20 million from $19 million. BRW, published by Fairfax, said 20 new names have been added to the list this year.

Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, creators of the sass & bide fashion label, rejoined the list after retailer Myer took a 65per cent stake in the company worth $42 million. Eight women made the list in 2011, up from seven in 2010. The richest among them was Prue Eales, who along with husband Laurence Eales, of heavy equipment fleet-owner EA Hire Equipment, occupy spot No. 40 with $50 million.

A married father of three, Harbottle said his life has not changed much since amassing his fortune from the internet start-up companies he has pioneered. ''I guess you are supposed to go out and show it off … you know, buy the flash car and the bling,'' he said. ''But I'm not really into that.''

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