In 2011, Alex Zaccaria co-founded Bolster, a business that’s since grown into Australia’s leading music and entertainment digital agency. He’s also one-third of the brains behind Linktree the freemium social media reference landing page that’s made everyone’s Instagram experience that little bit easier. His latest project is the innovative content and publishing platform, LNWY.CO. To find out more, keep reading for ten things you didn’t know about Alex Zaccaria.
1. He studied entrepreneurship at university
Given that he’s launched several successful businesses, Zaccaria’s previous studies make perfect sense. After graduating from Southwood Boys Grammer School in 2006, he spent a year studying Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Studies at RMIT University. The course may have been brief, but judging from his subsequent career, it clearly paid off.
2. He formed his first business in 2011
In 2008, Zaccaria took his first step on the career ladder with a position as Operations Manager at Dominant Music. He continued working in the position up until 2015, but by 2011, he was already feeling the itch to do something bigger and better on the side. After deciding to use his entrepreneurial studies at RMIT to good use, he formed Bolster, an entertainment and culture marketing specialist that aims to develop and market strategies and campaigns for brands to connect with and build their audiences. Since its inception, Bolster has grown to be one of Australia’s leading music and entertainment digital agencies, with a client list that includes brands like RedBull and YouTube Music.
3. He created Linktree in 6 hours
In 2016, Zaccaria, his brother Anthony, and their friend Nick Humphreys set out to find a solution to a problem that had been bugging them for years. By that point, the three had been working in the digital space for several years at Bolster, where they routinely used Instagram to post details about new tracks, tours, and merch for the bands and festivals they managed. Sick of having to change the link in the Instagram bio with each new post (something that was not only time consuming, but which ended up losing them valuable content and click-throughs), they decided to create a launchpad that let them direct followers where they wanted and give an overview of their clients projects. The launchpad, which took just 6 hours to create, marked the birth of the very first Linktree platform.
4. He’s been named to the 30 under 30
In 2017, Linktree was a year old and being used by everyone from Jamie Oliver to Billabong. Bolster was continuing to go from strength to strength. The entire team was riding the crest of the wave, and for Zaccaria, things were about to get even better. In April, B&T’s 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs (a list of the most promising up-and-coming self-starters in the world) was announced. Among the names was Zaccaria.
5. He was on bed rest for nine months
When Zaccaria first created Linktree, neither he nor anyone else on the team had any idea of how successful it would be. When it became an overnight success, they quickly had to adjust their expectations and start thinking about how to develop the business. Understandably, there were a lot of late nights and very little sleep. In the early days, Zaccaria found it a struggle to achieve any kind of balance – so much so, in fact, he ended up suffering a spinal gate injury that put him on bed rest for nine months. Although it made him miss out on a lot (including his brother’s wedding), it forced him to slow down and reassess. Speaking to startupnation.com, he explained how he now places a much higher priority on mental health. “If you aren’t healthy, you’re not operating at your best or reaching your full potential,” he says. “This is especially true in the current climate when many entrepreneurs are navigating economic challenges and newly remote teams while trying to keep things running smoothly. My advice is to recognize the signs of burnout and stress so you can step away when you need to, and urge your team to do the same.”
6. He never expected to be so successful
When Zaccaria first created Linktree, neither he nor anyone else on the team had any idea of how successful it would be, or how quickly it would take off. Speaking to surges.co, he explained how early Linktree celebrity users like Alicia Keys helped the business get off to a flying start. “The way it took off was total surprise,” he explained. “We just built it to help out our mates and our clients, never for a minute expecting to grow to a business that had customer support, marketing and development teams! Things just lifted enormously after Alicia Keys signed up one day. From there it’s gained real pace around big users like Jamie Oliver, Vice, Expedia, Eva Mendes, Naomi Campbell the World Surf League, Billabong.”
7. He’s not stopping at Linktree
Zaccaria may already have two hugely successful start-ups behind him, but the budding entrepreneur is showing no signs of stopping there. His most recent project is the newly launched innovative content and publishing platform, LNWY.CO.
8. He’s a columnist for CEOWORLD magazine
The stress and strains of Linktree’s early days may have forced Zaccaria to adjust his thinking and adopt a more balanced approach to life, but it clearly didn’t slow him down. In addition to running several successful businesses, he also writes for CEOWORLD magazine as an opinion columnist.
9. His grandfather is his biggest inspiration
Speaking to Medium, Zaccaria revealed that the biggest inspiration in his life is his grandfather. After running out of opportunities in Southern Italy, he moved to Melbourne back in the 1940s. After spotting a gap in the market, he started buying and repairing used mandolins and Italian instruments and selling them to the Italian community in North Melbourne. He later turned the business into a full music store with a record label and radio show.
10. He has some great advice
In an article written for CEOWORLD Magazine, Zaccaria revealed the five key things any internet business owner should know and do in order to grow their business: know your audience; create a seamless digital experience; be a resource; listen to your audience; and lastly, focus on the customer at every level.