January 6, 2014 / By Daniel
When Nic, Joel, Igor and I gave up the comfort/security of our day jobs to launch Jaden Social in 2012 the only tangible goal we had was to start a successful business together which would open the door to new opportunities. A year and a half later and it’s safe to say we achieved this goal, and along the way formed a number of relationships that led to the companies which now make up The Jaden Group (more on this later).
In October of 2012 we partnered with Jake & George to launch Social Family Records and moved into our shiny new offices in North Sydney. We signed a 12 month lease thinking that the space was plenty big for 6 guys in the early start-up stage.
What a learning that was!
By June 2013 we had over 20 people and were bursting at the seams, which led to the move to a shinier new office around the corner. We were quite lucky as our friends and partners Reef Digital were more than happy to take over the lease on the old place, as their business was also experiencing huge growth.
From there it has been an absolute whirlwind of constant change, new doors opening, and learning to say ‘no’. All of the things that have happened were enabled by the fact that we built our businesses to be lean, dynamic and open to partnerships and new opportunities.
I am inspired by the transparency of SeoMOZ & Buffer and we are striving to build our businesses in a similar way. This level of transparency is much more difficult in an agency environment because as a service business we take client confidentiality very seriously. What this means is that most of our stories, learnings, wins & losses are directly related to the work we do with our clients, and therefore cannot be easily disclosed on this blog.
In saying that I still want to reflect back on the year that was, so with all that in mind here is a top level look back at the year that was for each of our businesses:
(Note – I have not sought permission to use any client names in this post so they will remain anonymous)
The business that started it all, and still the largest by both team size and revenue, Jaden has really established itself as a leading Australian Digital Agency with a focus on the music & entertainment industry.
We have had the pleasure of being a part of a number of chart topping & award winning releases/campaigns – both locally and globally. Our team has quadrupled in size and we are looking for our 3rd office in 12 months in order to accommodate the growth.
Jaden Social has been my primary focus over the past year but with the expansion of the group and the exciting new project in Singapore (more on that in my next blog), I will be taking a more strategic top level role in the coming year. Joel and Jake have done a fantastic job during this transitional period and are the perfect team to continue driving the business forward in 2014.
The opportunity to partner with Jake & George and create Social Family Records happened incredibly early in the piece, and has been an amazing experience and learning curve for us. As a brand new independent label we focused on doing things differently from the outset, with a heavy focus on Digital.
Leveraging Jake & George’s exceptional industry knowledge, experience & network we have been able to sign a number of exciting local artists and bands. This led to two ARIA top 10 independent releases in 2013 and has built a fantastic foundation from which we will continue build the label and roster.
When the opportunity to partner with my talented friend Antti knocked on our door, the team and I decided it was way too good to turn down. Antti was focused on building a Digital Brand Agency and wanted us on board, so with Jaden focusing on a niche market Antti connected us to Pasi Voho, the chairman of Luxus Worldwide. Pasi is an exceptional character with a brilliant agency mind, and we struck up a friendship and a partnership very quickly.
Before anyone blinked Luxus Australia was born and knee deep in a number of global Social Media campaigns, giving birth to a dynamic team within the space of 3 months. With Antti steering the ship, the support of HQ in Finland and some major campaigns around the corner Luxus Australia is in a fantastic position to achieve triple digit growth in 2014.
Software and product development is a huge passion and focus for our team, and is something we continue to invest heavily in. The idea for TWiZ was born out of a need we identified very early in the piece but making it come to life was much more challenging than any of us could imagine.
After a number of failed attempts we were lucky enough to partner with Emir who along with Igor and the incredibly talented Aaron, brought the idea to life over dozens of sleepless nights & weekends!
TWiZ is now a fully functioning and cash flow positive business, with subscribers growing weekly. We have some big plans for TWiZ in 2014 and will continue to invest in it’s development and growth.
This will be a blog topic in its own right in the near future but from May 2013 onwards Vision has steam rolled from an simple idea shared over a delicious Thai lunch into a fully fledged Digital Agency based in Colombo. Udhara, the visionary behind Vision (I couldn’t resist), walked away from a career at Apple to partner with us in this exciting new start-up focused on bringing a creative, cutting edge digital approach to Sri Lanka’s emerging online world. Udhara and our young team have already kicked some huge campaign goals and with a number of clients secured are looking to fly into 2014 at full force.
During the course of 2013 our team has grown from 6 to 24 full-time and 12 contracted/internship team members, which has been an absolute joy and a huge learning for me and the partners. We have had the pleasure of meeting, hiring, mentoring and promoting some super talented and passionate guys/girls and have learnt from a number of disappointments at the same time. With more than 120 interviews and over 40 hires under our belt I would have to say that I am very satisfied with our strike rate and the team we are building!
As you can imagine by this stage with 5 operating businesses with another in the pipeline -the structure, management and expansion of our companies became a major focus which led to the formation The Jaden Group. TJG is the partnership that connects all these businesses and allows for seamless integration of infrastructure, resources and talent. Connecting these dots over the next year is going to be a huge challenge for us but one that I feel we are ready for.
Considering all that has happened in the past year I have no words that accurately describe my excitement when looking forward to 2014 especially, considering the foundations we have built and the great relationships and partnerships which are only just developing.
Hopefully I will be a little more consistent with my blogging next year so you will be able to stay in the loop right here.