Brad Moran and Nick Paech

It’s astounding to discover this Brisbane-based start-up has managed to achieve a 2000% growth (yep - you read that correctly!) in the space of a financial year. Revenue has more than doubled to $1million per month and they now have offices in the UK and New York.

With the Covid-19 pandemic creating a tsunami of home-based shopaholics, CitrusAd has capitalised on the opportunity to help big-name retailers determine who advertises on their sites, how much revenue is generated and how this fits with their brand.

Brad Moran, a former Adelaide Crows footballer, and co-founder Nick Paech launched CitrusAd in Brisbane in 2016, after envying the growth rate of Amazon’s advertising platform. But it wasn’t their first foray into e-commerce territory. A 2010 start-up whisked them to US investors, but board-level politics had them kicked out of the business, and they were back home within 6 months. It was a huge lesson for these think-big entrepreneurs.

“We came back to Australia with our tail between our legs, and decided to start Citrus within about 3 days of getting fired in the US,” laughs Moran.

Paech adds, “But having that experience of going through the pain and suffering, is what’s making Citrus successful now.”

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme recognised the potential of the CitrusAd platform, providing $844,000 in grant support to accelerate the commercialisation of this unique self-service software for digital retailers. It works as a scalable advertising software model, allowing the e-commerce retailer total control on when, where and how often ads are shown.

Coles was one of the first to jump on board with CitrusAd, and since then, other tier-one clients have followed, including Myer, Officeworks, Booktopia and Dan Murphys.

The money that we got from the Entrepreneurs’ Programme was like the icing on the cake. So it was a very pivotal amount of money. So we went back to the US, we went to the UK, and we took the chance to try and crack those markets again.
— Brad Moran, CEO, CitrusAd

International partnerships have also bloomed including both Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s, the two biggest UK supermarket chains, and global technology distributor Tech Data.

“With the right technology, retailers are now understanding that Citrus is a more attractive option for advertisers than the big three, being Google, Facebook and Amazon,” says Paech.

Covid-19 and the lockdown lifestyle it’s created, has turbo-charged CitrusAd 10 years ahead of where Moran and Paech dared think it could be. The CitrusAd platform has now been adopted by more than 40 global retailers in 22 countries, reaching more than 300 million customers, with 30 billion website page views.

“I think Citrus is in the right space at the right time, with the right product,” says Moran. “And at times, I absolutely think we could have a unicorn on our hands. But building a billion-dollar company is hard work. I used to think footy was stressful, but it’s a walk in the park compared to business.”

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