Richard White’s software logistics firm, WiseTech Global, is the new millionaires’ factory, with the billionaire set to be joined by three other directors and executives among the ranks of Australia’s wealthy elite.
White was ranked 20th on The List- Australia's Richest 250 when it was published by The Australian in late March with wealth of $3.3 billion, a stunning amount given WiseTech (WTC) floated on the ASX with market capitalisation of $1.19bn only four years ago.
He was joined on The List by fellow WiseTech shareholders and non-executive directors Charles Gibbon and Michael Gregg, who had wealth of $470m and $320m respectively.
WiseTech has since gone on another good run, hitting a high of $27.07 late last week, which sees White’s stake in the group reaching about $3.8bn.
At that amount, White now would be behind 15th-placed James Packer’s $4.23bn.
Shares in WiseTech are up 59 per cent since January 1 and have doubled in value since August last year to give the company a market capitalisation of more than $8.5bn. The company last week told the market to expect earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $100m to $105m for this financial year, which reaffirmed previous guidance but still impressed investors.
They are also up from the $20.50 mark the company raised $300m from institutional investors at in March, a raising the WiseTech directors also took part in under a share purchase plan.
The share price performance also means the WiseTech trio on The List could be joined by another member of the company’s board, Maree Isaacs.
A WiseTech executive director and also its company director, Isaacs co-founded WiseTech in 1994 with White and has been an executive ever since.
She keeps a low profile and is, according to WiseTech’s annual report, focused on invoicing and licensing, group operations, quality control and administration.
Her connection with White goes back to the 1980s, working with him at the private computer system services and consulting company Real Tech Systems Integration and computer equipment distributor Clear Group.
Isaacs owns 8.17 per cent of Realwise Holdings, the investment vehicle controlled by White which is WiseTech’s biggest shareholder. Her stake is now worth about $305m alone, meaning she is closing in on the $320m cut-off mark to rank among Australia’s richest 250 on The List.
While White owns apartments and office space and data centres in the US that are rented to WiseTech, for which he charged a combined $1.6m for last financial year, he and the wealthy WiseTech group also have a diverse collection of outside investments.
White has a stake in the private audio and lighting group Jands, which had $60m revenue in 2018 from which it made a pre-tax profit of $5.17m. Gibbon, meanwhile, has a small shareholding in a fast-growing and ASX-listed digital audio networking technology company, Audinate Group.
Audinate shares have surged since listing at $1.22 in June 2017, recently hitting a record high of $8.15. The shares are up 124 per cent since January 1 alone.
It raised $20m from institutional investors earlier this month to accelerate global sales and marketing plans and to help develop its Dante software platform. A $4m share purchase plan for existing shareholders at $7 per share opens this week.
Gibbon and Gregg are also founders of a new $50m venture capital fund, Shearwater Growth Equity, formed with entrepreneur and Conversant Media founder Zac Zavos.
The trio have put their own funds into Shearwater, which last month contributed $2.5m of a $6m capital raising round in private fintech start-up Earlytrade. The funding round also reportedly included former Fortescue Metals chief executive Nev Power.
Earlytrade is an online marketplace which connects suppliers with corporate clients and allows them to offer discounts or lower fees for early payment of debts.
Gibbon is a serial investor who was an early stage investor in Conversant Media and also sports media company The Roar, both of which have been sold to the ASX-listed HT&E in recent years. He was also a director of meat processor Monbeef, bought by Japan’s S Foods in March.
He also has investments in start-ups such as radio tracking technology company Wildlife Drones, dental company Emudent Technologies, concert and festival marketing firm Audience Republic and online booking software company Nabooki.