When Jonathan Barouch graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in 2005 he was already a seasoned entrepreneur. In 1999 at just 17 years of age, Jonathan established fastflowers.com, one of Australia’s first e-commerce companies which he went on to sell in 2010. Jonathan is now the CEO and Founder of Roamz, a Smartphone App connecting users to local events, and was named a Finalist in the 2012 BRW Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
What’s the most important quality in an entrepreneur?
Persistence and tenacity. As an entrepreneur you’ll hear “no” more often than you could possibly imagine. As an entrepreneur I’ve learn to be persistent and to trust my instincts.
How do you assess risk?
Unfortunately risk is an essential part of a successful startup. I suppose the trick for a successful entrepreneur is to minimise any potential risks and make sure that no one bet could jeopardize the viability of the company.
I studied Game Theory in my Honours year at UNSW Australia Business School and a lot of the strategies that I develop for my company Roamz still comes down to thinking two or three steps ahead.
What do you seek in employees?
People who have an opinion and can clearly articulate their point of view. Individuals who have skill sets complimentary to my own and people who are as smart or smarter than me and can challenge my thinking.
What will Roamz look like in 12 months time?
I’m not giving all our secrets away! In 12 months time we obviously want to have a much larger global user base (currently we have 125,000 users around the world). The goal for Roamz is to continue to improve the technology so that we are able to surface better and better local content for people when they are out and about looking for things to do and places to go. In parallel we also want to get smarter about the ways we engage with our users to bring the world around them to life.
For example, if you are walking down by Bondi Beach and Roamz knows there is a music festival going on nearby then we need to communicate that with you if it is of interest.
Your career is all about digital and the latest technologies. What would you be doing if the world was still analogue?
I’d be lost! I fell in love with technology when my dad brought me home an early Commodore 64 when I was a child. Ever since I have been fascinated with the way that technology can transform people’s lives.
If I couldn’t work in technology maybe I’d try and find a nice quiet beach somewhere and move there with my wife and son!
What’s the most important lesson of your career so far?
Your personal and professional network is one of your most valuable assets.
You have three degrees, including a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the UNSW Australia Business School. How has your education shaped your career?
It has shaped my career in a number of ways. Some friendships that I formed at UNSW Business School have lasted many years beyond university. In terms of my personal growth I learnt a lot of business skills that I use every day including research and problem solving techniques to the more mundane but essential comprehension of financial statements!