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Published 07 September 2012 06:37, Updated 10 September 2012 06:44
Justin Cameron had a high-paying career and a bright future in investment research before he quit all that to form SurfStitch. Photo: Tamara Voninski
Justin Cameron is one of the few members of the Young Rich List to successfully transition from one industry to another.
As a former analyst at Credit Suisse and head of equities research at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Cameron had a high-paying career and a bright future in investment research.
But in 2008, he and fellow surfer Lex Pedersen formed SurfStitch, an online retailer that specialises in surfwear. The business had instant success and listed retailer Billabong bought a 20 per cent stake in 2010.
Since then it has continued to grow. Last year its global operations turned over $50 million while its two founders had an estimated net wealth of $26 million in 2011.
There are a surprisingly small number of Young Rich members who have changed industries. The lesson seems to be to stick to what you are best at and invest profits back into your main business.
The best example of an entrepreneur changing from one industry to another is Rich 200 member Kerry Stokes (worth $2.79 billion).
Having started in property development, he acquired the Seven television network and mining services business WesTrac, which has distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment in mining hubs like Western Australia and north-east China.
Investments in mining services businesses allow investors to benefit from the mining boom while avoiding the high capital costs that go with owning a mine.
There are several Young Rich listers who made their fortunes in the mining services industry. Bill McDonald ($171 million), Ashley Fraser ($117 million) and Tom Strachan ($29 million) all made last year’s list. Their businesses offer services ranging from equipment and labour hire to drilling and civil construction.