The Aussie start-up changing the face of social media

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor

If you think social media is a messy place to navigate, you’re not alone. A trio of Aussie entrepreneurs have turned the same observation into a million-dollar idea, and a company that is gaining international fame.

Melbourne-based company Linktree was recently singled out as a rising start-up in the social media world after landing some big name clients.

Last week, CNBC published its list of the world’s 100 most promising start-ups of 2019 and just one on the list was from Australia. It was, of course, Linktree.

Started in 2016 by brothers Alex and Anthony Zaccaria and their mate Nick Humphreys, Linktree is an online platform that allows users to house a variety of different content in one place, and use a single link to push followers to multiple websites and social media posts.

Linktree founders Alex and Anthony Zaccaria, and Nick Humphreys. Source: Supplied
Linktree founders Alex and Anthony Zaccaria and Nick Humphreys. Source: Supplied

It was born out of frustration when the co-founders were working at a digital marketing agency and grew annoyed at having to constantly change the link in client’s Instagram bios.

“It was really just a problem that we solved for ourselves,” Alex Zaccaria told Yahoo News Australia.

As it gained traction among clients, and the team tweaked the product, they started getting organic sign-ups in 2017. Fast forward about a year and global pop star Alicia Keys began using Linktree, sparking an explosion in users.

“When Alicia Keys signed up, we probably only had about 1000 users,” Mr Zaccaria recalled. Today the company boasts more than three million users with an average of 10,000 new sign-ups each day, and has a number of high-profile users including US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren and American model Chrissy Teigen.

The company employs a ‘freemium’ model, and it’s these bigger clients that pay for the premium Linktree services (at $6 a month) with added customisation and analytics.

Chrissy Teigen and Alicia Keys, left and right respectively, are among some high profile Linktree users. Source: Getty
Chrissy Teigen and Alicia Keys are among some high profile Linktree users. Source: Getty

Simplifying the messy world of social media

The simple but popular idea that has sought to capitalise on the increasingly fractured world of social media. From Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat, YouTube and more, celebrities, artists, influencers, public figures and average netizens are using multiple social media platforms.

As a result, channeling followers to particular content can be a time consuming task to stay on top of.

Linktree provides a simple tool to unify links across social media and various platforms and can be used in e-mail signatures or as a digital business card – and the link’s content can be easily managed via an app.

“It’s your content page for the internet,” Mr Zaccaria said.

Essentially it’s like a website, but a more simplified portal to your online presence that can be used in lieu of a website. “Simplicity is our absolute core feature of the product,” he said. And therein, it seems, lies their success.

Elizabeth Warren's Linktree page with links to websites and donation pages.
2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is among the high profile clients of Linktree. Source: Instagram

A bright spot in Australia’s start-up scene

Linktree claims to have more than 85 per cent of the market share in the category it pioneered.

While Yahoo News Australia didn’t get a peak at the numbers, the company says it is fully funded as it looks to expand in the coming years and develop new products. “We’re entirely bootstrapped and cashflow positive,” Mr Zaccaria said.

While it grew out of a quirk with Instagram’s platform, more than 40 per cent of Linktree traffic comes from outside the popular photo-sharing app.

Australia’s start-up scene often laments the challenge of competing with the likes of Silicon Valley that so easily attracts talent. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tried to change that with his 2015 Innovation Statement and corresponding “ideas boom” which sought to focus attention, and government funding, on Aussie innovation in the digital economy.

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While Mr Turnbull’s vision quickly evaporated, Linktree is one of many bright lights in Australia’s start-up scene.

With more than 90 per cent of Linktree’s users coming from outside of Australia, it’s fair to say they are making a dent on the world stage.

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