RICHARD EASTES’ passion for innovation and entrepreneurship and his technical know-how in building a successful online business were the capabilities cited by judges as he was named the 2016 QUT Outstanding Alumni Award winner for the Science and Engineering Faculty.
Graduating from QUT with a Bachelor of Information Technology in 2002, Mr Eastes was integral in growing car rental comparison site VroomVroomVroom from a small start-up company into a multi-national organisation with an annual turnover of $60 million. His latest endeavour is GreenSocks, an online business that applies an Uber model to gardening services.
After identifying a niche in the online car rental market, Mr Eastes used $50,000 he had saved for a house deposit to buy a share in VroomVroomVroom, investing in new digital technology and customer service tools to grow the business with his partners.
In the first three years, the company grew 388 percent and became one of the fastest growing online travel companies, winning the Deloitte Fast 50 Award four years in a row from 2007 – 2010.
Mr Eastes said his success had benefitted heavily from his QUT-gained IT skills in strategic search engine optimisation techniques and online marketing, along with his passion and vision to build online businesses.
Excited by start-ups, the growth stage and building brands through clever marketing, Mr Eastes has become a high-profile innovator in Brisbane.
He has worked on a number of start-ups since the age of 22 including Captain Compare, VroomVroomVroom and ShadeGuide.
Last year, GreenSocks was one of five Queensland start-ups chosen to participate in the River City Labs Accelerator program and received seed funding. Focused on building the GreenSocks brand, Mr Eastes has plans to enter the American market.
A well-regarded member of the start-up community, Mr Eastes shares his knowledge by providing mentorship and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs at River City Labs.
In addition to his contributions to Brisbane’s innovation sector, he has also worked closely with BraveHearts, a community organisation committed to promoting the safety and protection of children.