Meet the keynote speaker for the 40 Under 40 Awards

Nearly three years after selling a company he founded for more than $200 million, Brad Moran will deliver a keynote speech at the 2024 40 Under 40 Awards.

Jun 05, 2024, updated Jun 05, 2024
Brad Moran is the keynote speaker at the 2024 40 Under 40 Awards. Photo: Supplied.

Brad Moran is the keynote speaker at the 2024 40 Under 40 Awards. Photo: Supplied.

The former AFL player who notched up three games for North Melbourne and 18 for Adelaide has enjoyed a stellar post-footy life.

After leaving the sport in 2011, Moran launched a startup in Adelaide called NoQ: a smartphone application that helped users skip queues by pre-ordering and paying for food and drinks.

But it was his second startup that made a serious splash.

After moving to Brisbane in 2017, former NoQ colleague Nick Paech and Moran started CitrusAd. The system enabled retailers to monetise their e-commerce search engine results through an auction between brands competing for premium shelf space. The tech would deliver sponsored products to shoppers in turn, and in 2018 it was reported that the likes of Dan Murphy’s were using CitrusAd to amplify their advertising revenues and shopper experiences.

Soon after, Coles, Woolworths, and the scaleup’s first US customer Hy-Vee were on board with CitrusAd. This helped the business attract some investment, with MA Financial Group – part of Moelis & Company – backing CitrusAd with a $6.5 million investment.

Business continued to boom, with CitrusAd signing more international clients like Target and Macy’s in the US Tesco in the UK. At the time of acquisition, the company had 275 staff, signed more than 85 enterprise clients across 35 countries.

Looking at the end result, it looks like a great ride,” Moran said.

“But just 18 months prior to the exit we’d been rejected by every Australian VC, had $1.5m in debt that we couldn’t repay, a sketchy revenue base and had three C level employees walk out within the space of a week, putting confidence in the business at an almost unrecoverable state. Illustrating that it’s not over until it’s over.”

Over the course of this period, Moran picked up a number of major awards, including the Digital Disruptor Award at the 2020 and 2021 Australian Young Entrepreneur Award, while CitrusAd was named by Forrester as the leader in Retail Advertising globally. Last year, Moran landed at number 66 in the Australian Financial Review Young Rich List.

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This followed a major sale of CitrusAd to French company Publicis in July 2021, reportedly worth $205 million. Moran exited the company last year, and has since started a new business.

Called Rocketship Advisory, the firm exists to assist founders in growing their ventures via strategic guidance, mentorship and access to capital.

He’s also a strategic advisor now with MA Growth Ventures – a venture capital firm focused on Series B-level startups.

Moran will present the keynote speech at the 2024 40 Under 40 Awards on 27 June at the Adelaide Oval. Tickets are on sale now.

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