Bouncing into the big league of business
It is rare for a small business to jump in size and revenue to the lofty heights of big business in less than a year. But that is what indoor trampoline park Bounce is set to do.
The Melbourne venture is on the verge of expanding its only centre to three more venues in Melbourne and one each in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth by April, 2014.
Co-founder Antony Morell says he and business partner Simon McNamara always expected Bounce to take off.
"It started with a family and friends night, and we were hoping our large and expensive experiment would pay off," he says. "People loved it from the day we opened. The pace at which it has been embraced has been a pleasant surprise."
Messrs Morell and McNamara, who also co-own the Spudbar takeaway chain and Melbourne-based Hobba eatery and bar, hatched the idea for Bounce after visiting trampoline parks in the US.
"While growing Spudbar, we always said we'd love to create something from scratch, something we could conceive in terms of brand, the business model, something that would truly inspire and excite the world," Mr Morell says.
Although the American parks were uninspiring, he says the fact the trampolines were interconnected caught their interest.
"Linking them up like they do in the US is a big revolution in the world of trampolines."
The entrepreneurs researched the concept for 12 months, visiting circus schools to take tips on trampolining and scouting warehouses with eight-metre-high ceilings.
They settled on an old computer storage shed in Glen Iris and opened their doors in August last year.
Mr Morell says the initial set-up cost was $2 million.
Trampoline parks are booming in the US. Sky Zone, for example, which owns 27 parks, projects about $70 million in revenue this year.
Mr Morell says Bounce has well and truly recouped its set-up costs.
Entry prices start at $10 for children and $15 for adults for the first hour, and $7 and $10 for the second hour.
Bounce employs more than 100 staff at its Glen Iris centre and Melbourne head office, but Mr Morell says a further 60 full and part-timers will be hired to staff each of the six new sites.
"We have an amazing culture with a lot of young people who are really excited about the business," he says.
Despite catering for a huge youth market, Mr Morell says trampolining appeals to all ages.
"What we find really interesting is making an adrenalin rush possible for each audience group. Whether it's a five-year-old doing a star jump or an elite skier doing tricks and flips. Trampolines have universal appeal. Everyone loves getting airborne. Remember what it was like to jump up and down on mum and dad's bed?"
The Bounce centre, which receives 5000 visitors a week, has more than 100 interconnected trampolines and 500 square metres of padding and foam on which to land, allowing users to continuously bounce or "free jump". The centre hosts children's parties, dodgeball contests and corporate sessions.
Mr Morell emphasises the physical benefits, as well as a low injury rate: "We have around, or under, one significant injury for every 10,000 people through the door, which is much less than widely adopted sports like footy."