Source: Half Dome

How focusing on people spurred 2,390 per cent growth: Half Dome

Half Dome, a media and technology business, claimed the top spot on the Deloitte Tech Fast 50 list this year, notching up an impressive 2,390 per cent growth in revenue over three years. 

Much of this growth has been driven by Half Dome’s persistent focus on people.

“You’re only as good as your people and that’s been our focus this year,” said Co-founder Tom Frazer.

Half Dome was founded by Tom Frazer, Joe Frazer and Will Harms after identifying inefficiencies in the media industry.

Left: Tom Frazer, Middle: Joe Frazer, Right: Will Harms

“We started Half Dome over three years ago with the intention of shaking up the media industry,” said Tom.

“We thought that the media industry, in particular from a digital perspective, was broken. We didn’t understand why we couldn’t just simplify the jargon that gets tossed around.”

Even though Tom did not come from a media background, the diversity of backgrounds in their business has helped with their growth.

“What’s been really beneficial for our business is having three different perspectives on business situations. We come from different backgrounds and have different skill sets and ways of looking at things, which has provided constant, positive friction to allow us to continue to grow and prosper.”

Citing a lack of “red tape” and “large agency structures,” Half Dome has been able to leverage the freedoms of being a startup and also avoid the potential risks.

“We weren’t aligned to a particular technology and that allowed us to be nimble and honest,” said Tom.

“The other startups are focused on one particular area of digital media. We knew we needed a breadth of services. And we’ve focused our growth and structures around that.”

However, their journey has not always been smooth sailing. 

As with most businesses this year, Half Dome’s growth braked to a stop because of the global pandemic. 

“COVID-19 has had a massive impact on our business. 

“On day 1 of lockdown, we called all our customers and said we’ll cease retainers until we know you guys are okay: we want to make sure you’re okay first. 

“That’s paid off. It’s increased our trust and relationships with existing customers and all of them declined to turn off our retainers.

“We also knew it would be difficult working from home, and invested in mental health and ensuring people were healthy and okay.”

Nevertheless, Tom is optimistic about the pandemic’s impact on the business ecosystem overall.

“COVID-19 has given people the chance to grow and take risks. 

“ecommerce is a good example. Businesses that weren’t selling online have had to start and now have to sell things online. 

“People have permission to take risks and grow. When things are not going well, there’s an opportunity to change and improve ways of working, improve technologies and be the best version of yourself.”

Half Dome itself has taken this opportunity to acquire new businesses and increase their service offerings through a new process of “venture marketing.”

“From a service offering perspective, we’ve rolled out venture marketing. This means we take an equity position in early stage startups and we provide them marketing to grow.”

When reflecting on their success, Tom cites two reasons for their staggering growth. 

“Invest in your people. We’ve done this from the start. We invested in culture and we go over and above to invest in training programs, in mental health and wellness. Treat them better and they’ll repay the favour. 

“The other is be clear with your goals. To have that focus on what you can achieve and how to achieve it will make a big difference.”

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