The young guns redefining architecture

Business & Invest
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Mark Deacon and Jake Robinson are at the forefront of a powerhouse architecture business based right here on the Gold Coast.

Superdraft, which offers architecture, drafting and engineering services, was founded in 2011 on the back of a fragmented architecture industry.

The duo says there were no innovative platforms available for customers to be guided effectively from design through to construction.

“You need to provide customers with a well-rounded service that delivers everything they need from start to finish – not just parts – and if you can provide this for a fair price, and give good support then you have potential,” says Robinson, aged 33.

“But when you mix those fundamental things with a scalable business model that is driven by cloud-based technologies then you have a business that can grow very, very quickly not just on a national level, but international which is what we are experiencing with Superdraft.”

Deacon, aged 27, adds that Superdraft is driven by a unique business model that allows the team to efficiently on-board the best building designers, engineers and consultants with less risk.

“We have always had a strong focus on scalability and business automation using apps and cloud-based technologies. Combining these things with our commitment to deliver quality design, solid customer service and affordability is what enables us to achieve such high growth,” he says.

Superdraft has seen exponential growth since its inception in 2011.

Growing from a single sole trader, the business now has a team of more than 150 architects, building designers, engineers and consultants across Australia with offices in most major capital cities.

“We successfully complete more than 1000 projects annually which represents more than $175 million per year in construction value and we are now starting talks with international investment firms who are keen to expand our business into other countries,” says Deacon.

Superdraft has won a number of awards including: Westpac Top 200 Businesses of Tomorrow, Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Property & Construction), SmartCompany Smart 50 (Fastest Growing SMEs in Australia), Seek Business Top 10 Franchise and SmartCompany Hot 30 Under 30.

The business has worked on a number of high profile projects including the design of a waterfront mansion in Clear Island Waters which was featured on Channel 7’s Best Houses Australia and selected as one of the TOP 50 HOMES on the Gold Coast last year.

Superdraft also won the contract to help renovate one of the Gold Coast’s most expensive beach front homes, which sold for around $27 million.

The business is now gearing up its commercial division and currently working on a 19 story high-rise building in Main Beach.

While the business is seeing great success, it hasn’t come without its challenges.

Robinson explains that it was the founding years that proved most difficult.

He says growing from a small business to building partnerships, taking on a lease, hiring full-time staff and trying new innovative business models were the biggest challenges.

“You have to take risks and as long as you stay focussed and true to your vision… you will start flying,” says Robinson.

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“We are still constantly evolving, refining our systems and processes to keep up with our growth and still taking risks – they don’t stop they just change. Once you climb one mountain and conquer it, it’s a great feeling but you only have a moment to catch your breath before you need to walk down the bottom and start climbing the next mountain.”

Robinson says the Gold Coast and Australia can still expect much more from Superdraft.

“We want to revolutionise the global design and build industry by creating a single platform which takes millions of users per month from around the world on a journey from inspiration through to construction,” says Robinson.

“Available on any device from smart phone to laptop to VR headset, users can interact with designs in 3d and watch it come to life in a single platform.”

Q&A with Mark Deacon and Jake Robinson:

Who have been some of your biggest influences in business?

Richard Branson and Elon Musk for their daring, bold and risk-taking attitudes. These guys stop at nothing to see their vision come to life. Elon Musk is truly out to change the world and he sacrifices a lot to do it. His skill seems to be in setting a vision that changes the world in a positive way and then works out ways to monetize that vision so it’s a win-win for everybody. That’s very inspiring.

– Mark Deacon

Being so young, has it been difficult to get people to take you seriously?

While relatively young, we still have a great foundation in business spanning a good 10 years across multiple industries… so we’re young, but certainly not “green”. We see our age as an advantage, rather than a disadvantage as we have been fortunate enough to grow up in a time when the internet was just taking off so we had the benefit of experiencing old business principals but also being able to understand and harness the powers of the internet and apply that understanding to disrupt an ‘ancient’ bricks and mortar industry.

– Jake Robinson

Why is the Gold Coast a great place to run a business?

The Gold Coast has everything that a start-up or successful business would need and has arguably the best lifestyle in the world with an amazing mix of hospitality, tourism, business, technology, education and access to investment. It’s all here.

– Mark Deacon

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