CEO: Ruslan Kogan – Growing From $0 to $1b in Annual Sales | Kogan.com

HOSTS Alec Renehan & Bryce Leske|17 September, 2021

Meet your hosts

  • Alec Renehan

    Alec developed an interest in investing after realising he was spending all that he was earning. Investing became his form of 'forced saving'. While his first investment, Slater and Gordon (SGH), was a resounding failure, he learnt a lot from that experience. He hopes to share those lessons amongst others through the podcast and help people realise that if he can make money investing, anyone can.
  • Bryce Leske

    Bryce has had an interest in the stock market since his parents encouraged him to save 50c a fortnight from the age of 5. Once he had saved $500 he bought his first stock - BKI - a Listed Investment Company (LIC), and since then hasn't stopped. He hopes that Equity Mates can help make investing understandable and accessible. He loves the Essendon Football Club, and lives in Sydney.

This episode, Bryce and Alec are joined by the CEO of Kogan, Ruslan Kogan. As well as being the CEO and founder, Ruslan is a serial entrepreneur, and together they have a great chat about the founding story of Kogan, the numerous and varied verticals the company operates in, and the effect of covid on e-retailers. Bryce and Alec pose many of the questions gathered from our Equity Mates community, and also discuss the future of Kogan, and what success would look like to him.

If you want to let Alec or Bryce know what you think of an episode, write to them here

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Bryce: [00:00:15] Welcome to another episode of Equity Mates, a podcast that follows our journey of investing, whether you're an absolute beginner or approaching Warren Buffett status. Our aim is to break down your barriers from beginning to dividend. My name is Bryce and as always, I'm joined by my equity buddy Ren. How's it going, bro? 

Alec: [00:00:31] I'm very good. Bryce very excited for this interview. This this is one that we have been excited for for a while. We've got one of Australia's best entrepreneurs, one of the best success stories to come out of Australia in the last few decades, a company that we've all heard of, we've all used and many of us have invested in. So I'm really pumped for this interview. 

Bryce: [00:00:54] Absolutely. It is our pleasure and with great excitement. Can we welcome Ruslan Kogan to Equity Mates. Ruslan, welcome. 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:01:02] Thanks for having me, guys. Absolute pleasure to be here. 

Bryce: [00:01:05] So for those of you who haven't come across Ruslan before, he is a serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Kogan Dotcom. The ASX ticker is KGN and it's just been a phenomenal story over the last 10 years or so. And we're looking forward to unpacking all of that, as well as speaking about competition in e-commerce, the impact of Covid, a chat about people in culture and then closing out around investing in other Australian entrepreneurs. But Ren, let's kick it off from the start, as we always do. 

Alec: [00:01:36] Yeah, Ruslan. We love to start these interviews by having a company leader describe their company in their own words. So to kick us off today, what is Kogan Dotcom?

Ruslan Kogan: [00:01:46] Kogan dot com is an e-commerce company that strives to make the most in demand products and services more affordable. What that means is any product that you want. Go to Kogan Dotcom type in our search bar and you'll find that we've got a huge array of our own exclusive brands products, which is the most efficient way to get a product from point of manufacture into the customer's hands, which obviously makes really good prices, very efficient supply chain. We've got third party brands, products from other companies, other brands that are using our site as a distribution channel. And we can get customers the most modern and popular products that way as well. And we have massive marketplace offering, meaning that we support businesses around Australia and New Zealand who want to go onto our platform, reach our customers and market their offering essentially through our platform. So that's the retail portion of the business. And then because we've built a huge following with our retail operation, we also have a services business, which is things like Kogan Mobile with incredible value on, you know, if you want to get a pre-paid mobile phone plan or Kogan Internet, which is an NBN, an Internet provider or Kogan Insurance or, you know, Kogan credit card and Kurgan money and so on. So we've got a huge array of the most popular mass market services where we've used the scale and buying power of our business to give customers incredible value on those things. 

Bryce: [00:03:32] Now, we will unpack a bit about all those verticals in a moment, Ruslan, but this question is coming from Glenn, one of our listeners, and he says that most listeners would be aware of Keogan dot com, but fewer would be aware of the founding story. And as I mentioned offline, it's one that I've read about in the papers a long time ago and was really inspired by. So you able to take us back to the early 2000s and tell us the founding story? 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:03:56] Yeah, well, it all started, I guess, the concept and the idea. When I was on an exchange programme in Miami and all the international students, we wanted to buy a fridge for our dorm rooms. And we all went and schlepped to the Wal-Mart and then carried it back to our dorm rooms. And we thought we're getting an incredible deal because everything we have learnt about at university, about scale as a retailer, Wal-Mart as best practise and so on, we didn't even shop around. And then all the international students noticed that the next day the local American students were having FedEx drivers deliver their bath fridges to their dorm rooms. And then we realised that that paid an even lower price than we did. So it made me realise at that point that, hang on a second, an online operation can operate with greater efficiency than a Goliath like Wal-Mart. And so I sort of kept that thought in the back of my mind while I went on into the semester of study in Miami, returned to Australia, took up a corporate job. That I had and as a management consultant at Accenture, and even though I was on a decent salary and a decent wage in that job, I went to buy an LCD TV and I'd always been into technology and wanted the latest products. And this is this is now a time when flat screen TVs were new and starting out. And I wanted one and went into the shops and it was like five thousand dollars for a TV. And because I always had the latest mobile phone often that I had to import from Asia, I said, well, look, I can't afford that TV show. Let me go and see if I can if I can import a TV and that will be my TV. So contact that a whole heap of factories asking them for a quote on a sample. And before I realised. I was getting all these quotes back where I could land a TV in Australia for around two thousand dollars with the same specifications as a TV that was selling in the big stores for five thousand dollars. And then I thought back to my experience in Miami and the the way that an online retailer can operate with great efficiency and then doing further research into that category. I learnt that even though there were hundreds of TV brands out there, there was only a handful of panel manufacturers being the main component. And then they'll say that it was in a Samsung, LG, Hitachi and shop at the time. So no matter what brand you went and bought, the the major components in that which made up the vast majority of the cost of the TV was made by one of those four companies. And that made be piece all of the pieces of the puzzle together and go, hang on a second, there's a huge opportunity here for a direct to consumer online offering of LCD TVs. So I then went and very quickly started up the venture, quit my job at Accenture and started selling TVs at one cent, my research on eBay. And that was my way to test the market because I thought, well, you know, you often see how auctions start at, you know, half a million dollars and then the auction ends at seven hundred and thirty thousand dollars. And I thought, well, if that auction had started at half a million dollars or if it started at one dollar, it would still end at seven hundred thirty thousand dollars, because all you need is two people who want a certain product and it will fetch its natural market price. EBay was the dominant platform at the time, had heaps of customers, and I knew that I can test whether people actually want this. And I was always selling one TV a day at of average size of one cent reserve, and it was fetching really good prices and up to two TVs a day. Then I made my own website and was selling up through that as well as Google AdWords campaign and then bought a one three hundred number that was diverting through to my mobile. So anyone who looked at the website or who Kogan with the one three hundred number must be a big professional company, whereas I think a one three hundred number was like twenty dollars. The biggest fee was a diversion to the mobile phone and the business started to get traction and was making sales and lots of pre sales. At this point I have no capital when I started the business and no investors were interested. So presold a container of TVs, all the customers were really happy when they received them, made a bit of money. So the next shipment didn't have to be a forty five day presale. It was a 30 day presale, made a bit more money than there was a 15 day presell, made a bit more money and then started to have inventory. And as the business kept growing and customers were really happy and the feedback was great and a lot of word of mouth exposure, I started to expand the product range and introduce fingerprint door locks and GPS units and digital photo frames and Blu ray players until the business started to become a really serious consumer electronics operation where we had almost a full range of consumer electronics and then realised that what we're really building here is a product is a business sourcing model and a direct to consumer online retail model. And when we expand into other categories, it only becomes easier from there because there's no categories that operate with tighter margins in a more competitive space and consumer electronics. And the business was able to make money from consumer electronics and or else it was at the time when every other major retailer was complaining that they were losing money on the TV. So started to expand the product range to include other exclusive brands in other categories, then started to add third party brands to the mix as well. And then we grew such a huge following of millions of customers that we were able to then leverage the scale of the business and approach companies like Vodafone and say, hey, let's let's put a mobile offering together and create a clear win win because companies like Vodafone. Telcos have huge capex expenses to build out of network, and then they need to monetise that by bringing customers on board and we're able to say, well, look, you're spending so much marketing dollars bringing customers on board. Let's not waste money on marketing. We've got the customers. Let's take what otherwise would have been spent on marketing and make a really attractive offering from a price point to the customer. And it's a win win. We've got the customers. They've got the network. We create Kogan Mobile, which is the best deals in the country. Our customers win, our shareholders win an important win. So we went into that type of model across a huge a huge array of services. So like I mentioned before, Internet insurance, mobile money, credit card, superannuation and so on. And then we also said, well, look, we're providing this type of service to other service providers. We can provide this type of service to other Australian businesses who want a retail operation because we've now got this huge reach, this huge brand, this huge following online. And we started to allow other businesses to list their products on our site and expand our product offering. And that was a huge step in the journey of our business and something we probably should have done. Much, much earlier, like 10 years ago, because it might it might have product range go from a few thousand products to now over 10 million items listed on our site within the space of a couple of years. And it's now I remember going to dinner at my mom's house and mom and dad would be sitting around and mom would say to me at the dinner table, tell us about what new products you have. And I could recite them and I could say, well, you know, now we've also got fifty five inch TV's or. Yeah, we've now just released our first smart connected TV. They've all now got intimate or now our TV is a role for TV. So I could give her an update as to the product range. And now you could have that conversation because we've got over ten million items on our sites. Now I tell her, I said, Mom, you couldn't think of a product and tie put into the search box on our site and not find it. But that's what it's come to, 

Alec: [00:13:57] it's a phenomenal founding story, and it is just a real example of an entrepreneur finding like an inefficiency or finding a problem and then finding a better solution and just scaling it from there. And I think a number of questions we got from the Equity Mates community were around the different verticals that Cogan plays in the you know, obviously the core retail, but then insurance, health, telco, travel, even finance these days. And that I guess a lot of the questions centred on on why and how these verticals hang together is the underlying logic with all of them. You're finding these pricing inefficiencies and finding a way to to, I guess, give a better offer to consumers. 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:14:42] That's certainly part of it. The what it comes down to is that we have an audience. And this service providers that have invested big into the service are offering whether a building at credit card network in Australia or building out a home loan offering or building out a superannuation offering, and all of these companies spend big bucks on marketing to win customers. And we're able to create a real win win win scenario. What we can say to them. Hey. We've got the audience and we've got the customers, and we're going to use that leverage to to negotiate a really good deal with you, but you're not going to have to spend anything on marketing because we've got the brand, we've got the traffic, we've got the audience. So rather than what would have been spent in marketing when pricing one of these services, let's give that back to customers in the form of a better price. And it means that customers get an incredible price. The service provider gets more customers, and obviously we as a business benefit as well. So all of these verticals that we're in, whether they be Kogan Energy or Kogan's Super, you will struggle to find a more price competitive offer in the market. 

Bryce: [00:16:11] Yeah. So Ruslan, there's no doubt that your scale now is in another leg of its own compared to some of the other online listed retail companies here in Australia. You're now sort of looking at one point two in annual sales or thereabouts. And I imagine the the challenges that you're facing now versus when you first started out are completely different. So so what have been some of the learnings and challenges operating as a CEO of such a large business now compared to chasing that first million, one hundred million as a founder? 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:16:49] Yeah, it's look, the the scale does bring with it a whole heap of challenges. And as you mentioned, where we're at around one point two billion dollars of gross sales now like this, we're absolutely smashed through the billion dollar mark. We our sales went up more than four hundred million dollars in the last year for cigarettes. That's the that's the scale we're building for. You're not building an operation that can that can withstand that. Then on top of that, we've had to do all of that while in Melbourne. Also breaking the world record for amount of time spent in hot lockdown. So it brings it brings with it its own challenges around athame and the challenges our managers have to go through in managing their teams and so on. But everything changes at that scale. So when you're doing one, two, three, four hundred million dollars of sales, you can use a lot of off the shelf products and you can use a lot of tools for how you manage your web traffic, how you report on that, how you analyse what systems you've got of reporting you have, what sort of warehousing and logistics solutions you have, even communicating with your customers. So when you're doing the sort of scale we were doing in the last year, sending order confirmations to the customer saying congratulations, we've now got your order. Here it is. It's with the warehouse. They're picking it. Here's your order and stuff like that, like the amount of work that goes into that when you're at over a billion dollars of sales as opposed to a few hundred million dollars of sales is crazy. It's huge, huge engineering challenges that our that our team have had to overcome. But then there's, I guess, one of the most widely and wildly documented challenges we had and reported challenges we had over the last year is an inventory issue. 

Bryce: [00:19:03] Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:19:05] Now, we went as a business from. Working with a few distribution partners who are always begging for our business and saying, hey, we want to do more with you and we love our partners, they're all really good and we've chosen the best ones and we want to grow with all of them, which is great. But it got to a point there in around January where they said, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on a sec, we can't fit any more containers into our warehouse. And that that was that was a capacity constraint we had learnt about for the first time in the history of the business, we had partners go from begging us to do more with them. So not being able to fit it in. And here's how it happened. We basically went through nine months of elevated demand. We have systems that predict sales based on based on demand. We saw also huge disruptions in supply chains globally, delays at factories, delays in shipping and so on. And we said in this sort of environment, it's better to air on the side of more inventory than less inventory. So we went we went aggressive with our ordering sales in around the January period when everyone started going on holidays and felt freedom for the first time in a while. And Australia had this utopian Covid zero scenario, which nowhere else in the world had really enjoyed. Sales came back a bit. And as a result of that, with sales being a bit lower than we predicted, and that's ordering inventory on the higher side, inventory started to grow to the point where the warehouses couldn't fit it in. And we actually had to go as a business from 14 distribution centres to thirty one within the space of a couple of months. It was it was absolute, absolute craziness and obviously a lot of inefficiencies, you deal in that with you deal with a lot of inefficiencies in that scenario. We could have probably. And we have built systems now to detect that a bit earlier. But we probably would have made the same decisions around inventory had we had those decisions again. But now they are looking like genius decisions because we're now, again, in a very disrupted world with supply chain disruptions and so on. So it is a very dynamic environment out there and we're a much better business today than we were a year ago. And that's thanks to the scale that we're building. 

Bryce: [00:21:43] So just briefly, Ruslan, can I have retail backgrounds? And we saw firsthand the impact that covid had on increasing the penetration of e-commerce. We both worked in some of the large retailers, Coles and Woolworths. And and it really brought forward the, I guess, the plan for e-commerce, perhaps sort of five or six years where we thought we would be in five or six years. We're here right now. So how are you actually now planning through that? You said you've gone from 14 to 30 distribution centres, but how are you then actually thinking about the next 10 years? 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:22:19] Well, Australia's been behind the rest of the world for a long time. So even through covid, we were behind the rest of the world. So if you look at penetration globally, there is where at? I think it's 10 to 13 percent. It's reported at other more advanced economies. And the US, China, Germany, UK, there are closer to 20 percent. So. Covid did accelerate knowledge of it, and it's something that I think is right. The fact that more people are learning about a commerce I remember in 2006 when I started the business and I was talking about the benefits of a commerce and shouting from rooftops about it. And our business leaders and other operators of traditional retailers were saying at the time, online is insignificant. It's never going to take off, it's irrelevant and so on. Now, you switch on the TV and you've got some of our biggest retailers advertising for customers to shop online. The more people that start shopping by opening their laptop or taking their phone out of their pocket. The better it is for e commerce, so I think it's great that most of them are doing that now. I think that they're pretty there's not many good examples out there of Australian traditional retailers doing a good job online. Most are most Dollars bad at there's bad at online as we are bricks and mortar. Like I remember we opened a pop up store. We made a funny video actually. We made a funny video when we opened that, I'll send it to you guys. But we basically unloaded the trucks into a pop up store and that was our merchandising. So it's like the kitchen knives would arrive there. And then a Blu ray player then tells that another model of take it and that's, you know, you could walk around that pop up store look like that because we're online guys. We knew that these products have really good conversion rates in this geographic location with people from there searching for it. And we had all the data, but we're not good bricks and mortar operators. So, you know, it's it's really accelerating from that perspective. And e-commerce is getting grabbed fame. And I think that I think that that's that's a huge positive. And we're finally there. So it's been 15 years and now e-commerce is getting attention and it's getting the grant fame. And I hope it continues that way and continues to accelerate because there is a lot of benefit to it. Yes, there will always be a place for traditional retail and each model has their own competitive advantage. Like a Nespresso store will never be the same online as it is in a bricks and mortar store where you can walk and smell the coffees, try the different coffees, get that real experience that you can't do that online. So it's forcing every business to really think through its competitive advantages and how they can better deliver customer experiences. And I think that that's a great thing.

Alec: [00:25:55] Ruslan, we want to unpack, I guess, that shift to e-commerce and some of the big competitors you have in the space. But before we do, we just going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor. So, Rosalind, before the break, we were talking about, I guess, the future of e-commerce and how so many businesses are now looking online. I think the most common question we got from the Equity Mates community was about how you think about competing with your online peers. In particular, Amazon's name came up a lot. You really in a class of your own when it comes to Australian retailers. But there are big international players that are building their presence in Australia. How do you think about competing with the likes of Amazon?

Ruslan Kogan: [00:26:40] Yes, well, it's a competitive market out there, I guess, in Australia. EBay is the huge operator and they've done an incredible job at Australian e-commerce over the last 20 plus years. I guess you've read a lot of the commentary and it talks about how Amazon's had a bit of a muted launch in Australia and it hasn't been this huge Big Bang success that everyone thought it might be. And a large part of that is eBay. What people didn't realise at that time is that we've already had an Amazon in Australia for a long time. It was just called eBay in the U.S. eBay is seiners where you go to buy a second hand iPhone. Whereas here, as I'm sure you guys know, it's been much more than that for a long time and it's got a lot of our biggest retailers running shopfronts on there and it's got a brand new product offerings and so on. So they are by far the biggest operation. Amazon is is obviously a company that globally is one of the most innovative businesses in the world, and it's a company that you can never take your eye off. And we are always monitoring and watching the competitive landscape where winning huge market share. So there's a slot in our presentation on that with our most recent results announcement. We have we have continually as a business, including in the last few years, won considerable market share in a commerce. And what that is showing as well is that the biggest prise for everyone here is not so much e-commerce operators saying if they can win market share from each other, which, yes, we're all competing a you many of us are doing a good job and we're very proud of the fact that we're winning a market share. But by far, the biggest price for us here is the switch of shopping habits that every single day someone who grew up with the Internet becomes a shopper as someone who grew up with the Internet, gets a credit or debit card, somebody who grew up with the Internet, starts their first job and starts to have disposable income. The huge the huge shift from traditional retail to online retail is the big prise here, us moving from. 13 percent of retail being done online, which is 10 to 13 percent, depending on which report you currently Ren to some industry experts predicting 40 percent will be online. So it is that transition that is by far the biggest prise for an e-commerce operator. And that is why scale is so important to us, because a lot of efficiency and a lot of benefits you can provide to customers comes with that scale. 

Bryce: [00:30:01] So Ruslan Kogan, dot com, operates in a number of verticals. And speaking of competition, you know, you're in retail insurance, mobile health care, you name it. And it seems to ever be increasing. First part of the question, is there any way that you won't go any vertical, you won't go? And secondly, is there risk, I guess, from a competition point of view in scaling so, so wide?

Ruslan Kogan: [00:30:25] That's where weren't we go? I guess true repairs you 

Bryce: [00:30:31] won't know is 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:30:35] the main thing is it has to be a mass market product or service where we're here. We're here to use our scale to achieve efficiency, to achieve price leadership and use that to provide better deals for our customers. So that's why I say shoe repair, because I don't even know if shoe repair happens anymore, given that fast fashion has driven the price of shoes down so much so it probably costs more to repair a shoe these days than to buy a new one. So. So anything, anything that is a mass market offering that lots and lots of people want, because if it's something that lots of people want, we can use the scale and the buying power of our business to approach a partner in that space and say, hey, we've got the customers, stop wasting money on marketing. Let's take that money invested in the price point and give customers an incredible deal. Now, you mentioned, is there a risk for us on going too wide with the business? No, there isn't, because in all of this, our partner provides the underlying service, so Kogan dot com does not know how to build mobile phone towers and operate a mobile network. We'll leave that to the experts. And obviously, Vodafone is a global leader in that space. They know how to do it. Where there as a digital marketing arm where we've got the customer base and can deliver that efficiently and give them an incredible offering. We don't know how to run a superannuation fund. That's why we leave our partner to do it. We are not building an expectation operating credit card with a leading digital platform and apps. We leave that to our credit card partner. And that's and that's how we form these partnerships. So there is no risk in the fact that we're going too wide and creating a risk, a risk to the service will. 

Alec: [00:32:54] Ruslan, if you're ever looking to start Kogan media, you can come to us and we'll be a media partner in that venture. 

Bryce: [00:33:03] Yeah, I'll send you our numbers after this one. 

Alec: [00:33:09] One other sort of, I guess, theme of question that we got from the Equity Mates community was around, I guess, geographic expansion. You know, you've got such a big presence in Australia. How do you think about opening up Kogan Dotcom into more markets and getting more, I guess, physical footprint in terms of like distribution centres and the like globally?

Ruslan Kogan: [00:33:30] Well, we made our biggest acquisition last year being Monotype, which is an incredible business in New Zealand, very similar in terms of how they operated. Very similar back story actually to Kogan dot com. It's almost it's almost there's so much affinity between the two companies, very similar history, very similar relentless focus on customer outcomes, on fast delivery, on product range and so on. So there is geographic expansion in that regard and being able to get a lot of the. Combined efficiencies and synergy projects that we're executing there, so that that is that is one of them, but the biggest prise for Kogan's dot com in the short to medium term is the fact that Australia is way behind the rest of the world when it comes to e-commerce adoption. We're going to see that grow very, very quickly. And even if you put our. Achievements in perspective in Australia. It just shows the runway ahead of us where around a billion dollars of gross sales in an e-commerce market, that is around 30 to 40 billion dollars. So we're like three percent of Australian e-commerce. And commerce is about 10 percent of overall retail. So we're we're point three percent of Australian retail. So for us, given that the brand, the distribution footprint, the sourcing capability of the team we have and the expertise in Australia and New Zealand, that is the strong focus of our business in the short to medium term. 

Bryce: [00:35:38] So, Ruslan, let's turn to people and culture now and have a chat about your leadership philosophy. We always love to understand how CEOs think about that. So do you have one? Yeah. 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:35:48] Looks the most important thing for me as a leader is to surround myself with incredible people. And that's something that we've been doing at Kogan dot com for close to 15 years now. It's it took me very quick to realise in the early days of the business, I remember hiring the first team member and I wanted every customer response and customer service interaction to be perfect. So I wasn't allowing them to send the email responses to the customer. I was getting them to save the most draughts. And then I would go through them and click send on each one to make sure that they're perfect. And as the business grew, it didn't take too long for me to realise that that's not really going to be a scalable approach, that there's only one hundred and sixty eight hours in the week. So from from that point, the approach and philosophy to leadership has been in each area of the business, hire absolute experts in that field, make sure that the people leading at customer care are far better customer care than anything I could ever do. And the people leading our marketing efforts are far better than anything I could ever do. And the way that I see myself now as a leader is it's my job to get the best people into a room. Or these days into a yes, yes, in our company, we actually use Google mates more frequently. So it's interesting how streams become the verb there. So it's my job to bring people into Google made coal and then let the magic happen. And I've found over the years that excellence and pursuit of customer outcomes and just the will to desire to the desire to delight customers and do things better and always question things and bring people on board who are willing to challenge the status quo like a Kogan. One of the worst answers somebody could give to why are we doing this? Is that's just how we've always thought that our internal philosophy is there is always a better way. So we always respectfully debate ideas, find ways to do things better, challenge each other. And if you bring people on board who embrace that sort of culture, beautiful things happen. There's just constant advancement, constant debate, constant improvement, huge collaboration between the team. And, you know, it essentially makes my job, my job pretty easy. It's it's all about it's all about enabling the talent that we have. 

Alec: [00:39:07] Yeah. I love I love that leadership philosophy. Ruslan, we are getting close to the end of time and we do like to finish with a few questions on, I guess, the future for your business. But we would be remiss if we didn't get one question in about, I guess, Australia's Start-Up Landscape, because Kogan Dotcom is one of Australia's greatest Start-Up success stories. We've seen a few other big ones. Obviously, Atlassian and Canva come to mind. But I guess at the start of started this conversation, you said it was difficult to get investor money in the early days of Kogan. When you look at the landscape now and you look at Australia, how do you think about the Start-Up ecosystem in Australia? And is there anything that is particularly exciting for you at the moment now? 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:39:54] Well, look, it's completely changed. And I guess in part that's a lot of it is the great work that Mike and Scott from Atlassian have been doing and with their rise, also supporting the the Start-Up community. And I think that there's now a whole group of incredible entrepreneurs in Australia that have been able to build incredible businesses and then use you some of the ability they've now got and their circumstances to to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. And it gives me a lot of pleasure and pride to be able to do that. And I think it's very important for our Start-Up and tech ecosystem. And look, my approach has always been to stick to areas that you know best. So there's a lot of start-ups the areas have invested in that are tech related. But then there's some that are you know, you just come across an incredible entrepreneur that is that is always thinking outside the box and striving. And they've invested in some that include plant based alternatives to spices and mates and chicken and and so on, which is an area I know very little about. So it's incredible. Businesses coming out of Australia and at our Start-Up Ecosystem is growing. And I think that that's an amazing thing and something that we as a country should be supporting more and more at this. There's world class technology that is that is absolutely changing the world. They've got patents that they've been able to invent, things that others haven't. And so, yes, there's there's a lot of investments that I've been making recently in similar type businesses. And it's great to be able to do so. 

Bryce: [00:42:08] Well, if you're ever looking to get on board a growing media empire, then you know who to ask as well. So, Ruslan, we've got to that point in the interview where we like to close out around some conversation to do the future of your business. So what? The next 12 months look like for Kogan Dotcom, is there anything exciting in the pipeline that you're able to share? 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:42:31] Yeah, well, there's a big focus in our business now on Kogan First Loyalty programme, where a membership subscription programme, it's been growing at a huge pace. And we've released our numbers recently showing the incredible growth we've had on the acceleration and growth that we've had. We see that as a big part of our e-commerce future. And that's a big focus of and it's a programme where our customer shows some commitment to us by paying an upfront fee and we show a huge commitment to the customer by giving them even better deals and free shipping and exclusive discounts and so on. So building out that programme is a huge part of our future. We have a goal in the medium term to get that to one million subscribers. So we're at over one hundred and fifty thousand now. And that's a big if you go on to the platform, you'll see a big focus on that and also supporting Australian businesses and retailers through our marketplace that has seen huge growth in that business. It's only a couple of years young and already achieving amazing scale. And will, if you look globally at similar business models to us, it's something that you will end up being 60 to 70 percent of our sales. So it's a very exciting area of the business while continuing what we're doing in our Exclusive Brands division. So we're very excited in that business about those three growth pillars and supporting those, all while we expect the Australian e-commerce to catch up to the rest of the world. And that is a huge opportunity for the innovation and the industries in Australia that are both both support e-commerce and are supported by e-commerce. So it's a it's a very exciting time ahead. 

Alec: [00:44:42] And then one final question. Know, we're long term investors here in Equity Mates. We like to think in decades time horizon when we put money into companies. If you think about Kogan Dotcom in 10 years, what would success look like? 

Ruslan Kogan: [00:44:58] Well, we would be multiples of what we are now in terms of the our sales and the pipeline that we create for brands and retailers in reaching customers efficiently. So success would be if we as an operator can can continue to get huge scale whilst creating win win win relationships between our customers and our shareholders and our manufacturers and suppliers, meaning driving huge value all through the supply chain while becoming a much, much bigger business. 

Bryce: [00:45:40] You love to say you love to hear it, Ruslan. It's been a fascinating conversation and we very much thank you for your time today. We have run out of time. And I know that there's plenty of investors in our community that will be invested in in dot dotcom. And so hearing from you has just been an absolute pleasure. No doubt it's been a fascinating story over the last decade. And we can't wait to see how it all continues to grow over the next coming 10 years. So thank you.

Ruslan Kogan: [00:46:07] Thank you very much, guys, and thank you for inviting me. An absolute pleasure to chat and keep doing the great work that you guys are doing. It's customer numbers speak for themselves and the amount of listeners you have and the growth you're saying is a clear indication of the amazing work that you're doing. An absolute pleasure to chat. Thank you. 

Alec: [00:46:29] Thanks, Ruslan.

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