5 Lessons From Two Atlassian Founders, Aussie's Recent Tech Billionaires

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By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | April 30, 2014 4:01 PM EST

When Atlassian Founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have appeared in the upper strata of BRW Rich 2000, this pair of 34-year-old software makers becomes so admired in the start-up industry. The BRW Rich 200 consists of a list of Australia's 200 hundred wealthiest individuals and families ranked by personal net worth

REUTERS/DANIEL MUNOZ
Entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of software firm Atlassian gestures during a Reuters interview in central Sydney June 5, 2013.

Based on the latest figures reflected on the Atlassian, which is at $160 million whom they are believed to own almost 40 percent each of the shares, both founders have as much as $1.4 billion worth. Having been in the business together for 12 solid years, there are actually five reasons over the titanic success of the two university mates that many entrepreneurs and budding business people can take into consideration.

1.   The latest tech billionaires employ a unique business model for Atlassian. Brookes and Farquhar developed a unique online business software tools that propelled Atlassian's rapid growth and liquid balance sheet with 40 percent compounded annual growth over the past 5 years. Their flagship tool JIRA has been used by over 35,000 companies all over the globe such as American Airlines, Facebook, BMW and Citigroup.

 2.   The two Atlassian founders bank on research and development. The partners focused on research and development to further enhance their online tools. Where many other companies put a large chunk of their investment in marketing, sales or staff enhancement, the two tech billionaires deliberately cut down on cost instead.  

3.     The 32-year old pair capitalizes on Internet marketing. Internet marketing allows businessmen a greater leeway to offer their products and services at a much lower price and that is where the two Atlassian founders capitalize on. In an article from Forbes, Farquhar shared: "We felt if we could sell something at a reasonable price and sell it on the internet then we'd be able to find a market there. And that's what worked out."

 4.     The two software makers have unified culture and vision. When the two university mates started the business 12 years ago, they both aimed at building a long-term company that will endure for a long time. Atlassian's cultural values put great emphasis on transparency: "Open Company, No Bullshit." Despite the  significant barriers that the company underwent along the way, the two founders are still set to do very well in the arena of technology sector. For co-founder Farquhar, the value of "Be the Change You Seek" is the most important key for their business to prosper even after five decades.

 5.     The two business partners keep their Australia roots in the global arena.  Atlassian was incorporated in UK and is now a publicly traded company in the U.S. The two founders sold 20 percent of Atlassian to Accel Partners, a U.S. venture capital firm, way back in 2010 for $60 million.

Both tech billionaires kept their Australian origins by opting to remain in Sydney. As Atlassian's Farquhar pointed out: "I think as a result of this we'll end up with a lower tax rate globally and that's one of the things we considered, but we're not changing where we invoice out of; all our invoices still come out of Australia . . . and we still bring all our revenue through ­Australia."

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(Photo: REUTERS/DANIEL MUNOZ / )
Entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of software firm Atlassian gestures during a Reuters interview in central Sydney June 5, 2013.
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