2017 Alumni Award for Professional Excellence
CEO and Founder, Spinify
Bachelor of Computer Science (Computer Science & Mathematics), 1993
Matt Bullock is a gifted serial entrepreneur who, through determination, skill and sheer hard work, transformed an idea into a thriving business at the forefront of online commerce.
Matt was prescient in recognising the potential of the internet for e-commerce, founding online payment gateway eWAY in 1998 – long before buying online became standard consumer behaviour. He established the business in his spare time while working in the public service, starting out with servers in his own home and launching with a single bank as a partner.
As his operations rapidly expanded, he relocated to commercial premises and set to work establishing relationships with the big four banks, building interfaces to hundreds of shopping carts, and cultivating the developer community to embed his payment gateway in an ever-expanding list of online retailers globally. He propelled eWAY into New Zealand in 2009, the United Kingdom in 2011, and Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia in 2014.
Matt’s aptitude for building innovative partnerships drove eWAY’s transformation of the provision of integrated payment services. He worked with financial accounting firm Xero to develop the platform’s ‘pay now’ add-on for online invoices, earning the title of Xero Add-on Partner of the Year in 2013. eWAY went on to develop further payment streamlining solutions for Xero, and for many other market-leading online platforms including NetSuite, Magento and Shopify.
In 2013, eWAY partnered with National Australia Bank to launch a new Merchant Services product streamlining payments for businesses, and in 2015 became the first Australian payment gateway to offer mobile integration with Apple Pay. The company also moved into physical payments, launching the SmartPOS mobile card reader and apps – including an app enabling Apple Watch users to accept payments through their smartwatch.
In 2016, Matt sold eWAY to American payment technology services giant Global Payments for US$50 million. In his 18 years at its helm, he took the company from a solo, home-based business to the point where it employed 80 staff and processed around 5.8 billion online purchases a year – approximately a quarter of all internet-based transactions in Australia. Leading brands including Catch of the Day, Brands Exclusive, Kogan and Qantas were among his more than 25,000 customers.
Matt was awarded 2016 Exit of the Year in the Australian Growth Company Awards, adding to a swag of accolades in recognition of his professional excellence – among them the 2011 ACT Pearcey Entrepreneur Award, the 2008 Telstra ACT Business of the Year Award and the 2010 ORIA Industry Recognition Award. He was also a finalist for the BRW Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001.
His next move was to establish Spinify, innovating the leaderboard concept to help organisations engage and motivate their staff. Having more engaged staff will help companies close the lost productivity gap that costs the Australian economy more than $70 billion each year. The new venture grows daily under his inspiring leadership.
Matt believes business can, and should, do good and share the wealth. He committed eWAY to the Pledge 1% program, which inspires early-stage corporate philanthropy through leveraging a portion of future success to support community non-profit organisations. He also established the Spinify Foundation – a registered Australian charity that supports non-profit organisations such as OzHarvest, Ronald McDonald House, and Canberra’s Kiln Incubator for start-ups.
Passionate about the role of higher education in building tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, he actively works to foster collaboration between universities, government and the start-up community to drive Australia’s global competitiveness. He freely shares his experience and expertise to assist other entrepreneurs and provides internship and training opportunities for young people.
Chancellor, Matt Bullock is a remarkable alumnus who embodies the determination, future-focus and sense of purpose we aim to embed in all of our graduates. His entrepreneurial success is an inspiration to our students and alumni, as is his commitment to leveraging this success for societal benefit.
It is with great pleasure that I present Matt Bullock for the Alumni Award for Professional Excellence.