Finance Consumer From basement to rich list: How Envato co-founder Cyan Ta’eed made millions
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From basement to rich list: How Envato co-founder Cyan Ta’eed made millions

Cyan Ta'eed in front of piles of Australian currency.
Cyan Ta'eed made her Rich List debut in 2019. Photo: The New Daily
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While she might not be a household name yet, Cyan Ta’eed’s journey from a tech entrepreneur working out of her parents’ basement to AFR Rich Lister could see that change.

Formerly a graphic designer, Ms Ta’eed launched the online marketplace Envato in 2006 with co-founder and husband Collis Ta’eed, and the platform (which allows creatives to sell digital assets and complete freelance projects) has since earned her a spot in the AFR Rich List as a 2019 debutante.

The business “took off like a rocket”, according to Ms Ta’eed, with sellers earning more than $500 million within the first 10 years alone and more than seven million community members.

Not content to rest on her laurels, Ms Ta’eed has since launched Hey Tiger, an ethical chocolate manufacturer aimed at creating “real social impact” by combatting the “broken and destructive” practices that were prevalent in the chocolate industry.

“I learned that children are routinely taken from their families and put in forced labour in cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. It occurred to me that something that I loved and brought me and every woman I knew so much pleasure was in fact a broken and destructive industry for many cocoa farmers, families and children,” she said.

“We set up Hey Tiger as a company owned by a charitable trust and I dived into learning how to create positive impact in the communities where over 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa is grown – West Africa.”

Ms Ta’eed was not the only new entry on this year’s list either, with a record 22 debutants finding a place among the prestigious list of Australian business royalty, including Rupert Murdoch’s eldest daughter Prue MacLeod, blackjack wunderkind-cum-businessman Zeljko Ranogajec, and former garbage man turned waste management kingpin Ian Malouf.

Familiar faces dominate top 10

While 2019 saw a record number of new faces join the rich list, there was little change in the top 10 with eight 2018 alumni making a repeat appearance.

The only two new entrants were Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes at fifth and sixth respectively. The pair were listed at 12th and 11th in 2018, with Farquhar managing to overtake his colleague over the past 12 months.

Anthony Pratt, the man behind packaging and recycling empire Visy, managed to secure the top spot for the third consecutive year, with his family’s wealth growing to $15.57 billion from last year’s equally impressive $12.9 billion.

The No.2 spot was claimed by mining magnate Gina Rinehart, who last year placed third behind ‘high-rise’ Harry Triguboff. Mr Triguboff, the founder and managing director of property development juggernaut Meriton, was relegated one place to third in this year’s list.

Fellow property developer Hui Wing Mau, the enigmatic founder and chair of Shimao Property, maintained his grasp on the fourth spot.

Sir Frank Lowy, the former chair of Westfield Corporation, slipped from fifth to seventh meanwhile former Fortescue Metals chief executive  Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest managed to stay put at eighth despite a near $2 billion increase in wealth (from $6.1 billion in 2018 to $7.99 billion).

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg slid into ninth place – a full three spots lower than 2018 – and was the only member of the 2019 top 10 to see his wealth decline, down from $8.32 billion to $7.17 billion.

Rounding out the 10 wealthiest Australians was a third property developer, Melbourne-based John Gandel.

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