Jackson Meyer, CEO and founder of freight forwarding firm Verus Global, shares his journey of being a young entrepreneur in an aged market, having helped his firm reach a turnover of AUD 24 million within a year of launch.
It might not be your typical childhood passion, but Jackson Meyer’s interest in the freight forwarding industry began at a young age. His parents had owned a large Australian based freight forwarding business, in which he would work over the holidays. “I started off unpacking containers in the warehouse and really found that I had a passion for logistics,” he remembers. “While I was entering my final year at school, I really lost interest and unfortunately didn’t do well. I decided post-school that I would pursue a career with my parents.” At just 23, he founded his own firm, Verus Global, a logistics company that reimagines a traditionally staid industry with the use of data integration and cloud-based technology. In their first year, they made AUD 24 million. He talked us through his journey.
Once he’d dedicated his full attention to launching Verus Global, Jackson had big ideas. “When I was forming the business, I really had a passion for wanting to change what was, traditionally, a grey and dated industry,” he remembers. With the overarching goal to differentiate themselves in an oversaturated market, Verus Global sought to appeal to a broader market than his competitors through branding, image and social media presence. “The mission is to essentially be a disrupter in the freight forwarding industry,” Jackson says. Only a year after launch, Verus has already reached its goal, having opened seven offices in China, two in Australia, one in Hong Kong, and four in the United Kingdom. “We’re getting potential customers approaching us, which just doesn’t happen in the freight forwarding industry,” Jackson says. “It’s somewhat overwhelming.”
Getting to this point has not been easy. “The feedback that I got off presenting budgets, marketing plans and those kinds of things to potential investors wasn’t exactly great, so that was certainly challenging,” Jackson remembers. “I had to approach a series of different people from different groups in order to get some sort of interest in the business. I think that not having any sort of business background was definitely the most challenging part.” At only 22 years old, he also felt immense pressure to not let down his team, who had left behind careers to follow his entrepreneurial journey. “We had 53 family members that had left previous stable companies to join a brand new business with no trading history,” he says. “They didn’t know much about what we wanted to do. They purely showed faith in what I was presenting, what the board was putting forward.” A year down the road, his team continues to stand strong. “We haven’t had one staff member leave in 13 months,” he says proudly. “Every single member of our staff is like family to us. And we genuinely care about each other.”
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In line with its mission, the name Verus Global is derived from the Latin meaning of truth. “We want to uphold integrity, honesty, and complete transparency with our customers,” Jackson explains, emphasising the importance of building lasting relationships. “We don’t want this to be one transaction. We are looking for long-term partners.” The secret to his success lies with his staff, whom he hails as the “selling point” of Verus. “All our staff are genuinely interested in the person they’re dealing with on the other side of the phone. A lot of people treat their job as a nine-to-five, but we don’t,” he says. “This is a consistent task and it needs to be driven from the top that you always must be at the beck and call for your customer.”
However, what truly sets Jackson apart is the passion he feels toward his work. “I really enjoy what I do. I’m so passionate about it,” he laughs. “I love dealing with people. I love communicating. I love speaking to our customers. I think it’s so great that you can speak to people from different countries, and I love coming to work, whether that be in our offices in Australia, Hong Kong, China or the UK. I just really, really enjoy what I do.” Indeed, it was this passion that led serial entrepreneur Andrew Walker, who had previously founded companies like Aspen Medical and Matrix Healthcare, to take a chance on him. After pitching to a series of investors who were sceptical of his initial plan, Jackson was able to mould and transform his budget and marketing plan based on the negative feedback he received and pitch an attractive business proposition to Andrew Walker, who was struck by the young entrepreneur’s vision. “He backed me as soon as we spoke about it,” Jackson remembers. “He loved the idea. He loved the passion. He loved the drive. He loved the energy of what I wanted to do and what I still want to do.” This bet proved to have paid off when Jackson made double his anticipated amount of AUD 12 million in revenue during his first year.
Despite having more than exceeded his initial expectations, Jackson is not quite satisfied. “I’m very disappointed with how we went in our first year. We had some things go our way, that’s for sure, but we certainly had a lot of things that didn’t,” he says. Gearing up to reach greater heights, he still sees it all to play for. “I’ll never take no for an answer. It’s just not in my personality. I’ll always strive to get the best out of myself, my team, and get the result that I’m asked at the end of the day.” Verus Global currently faces the challenge of the coronavirus, but Jackson is far from discouraged. “We just gotta hang in,” Jackson explains. “Our foremost concern is with the staff. I just want to make sure that they’re all happy, they’re healthy, their families are happy and healthy as well. Once the coronavirus is hopefully settled, our business is going to explode.”