There’s a lot of people that say, ‘Oh you’ve got to be first’. I actually disagree, I think in most cases, you want to be second.”

Add To Cart Podcast
Episode 29


In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Carl Hartmann, a serial entrepreneur, co founder of Temando, Compono and Lyre’s Spirit Co.  Carl took the shipping and fulfillment solution, Temando from an idea to one of the largest Australian technology companies, having raised over $55m in funding.  Compono, an end to end talent solution company, was born from Carl’s own hiring frustrations and his latest venture is award-winning, non alcoholic spirit retailer, Lyres, launched in 2019.  Carl shares his learnings from the Temando years, talks about building the Lyre’s brand, and provides fascinating fulfillment insights and tips.  We also find out why for Carl, second is the Winning position.

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Questions answered in this episode include

  • What was your biggest lesson from the Temando journey?
  • How did you go about creating the Lyre’s brand?
  • Who is the Lyre’s audience?
  • What do you see as the big fulfillment challenges retailers have in the current COVID climate?

What are the biggest lessons Carl learned from the Temando journey?

Carl considers his exit from Temando as an interesting time in his life which became a point of self-reflection. He says that his biggest learning during the Temando journey was about people, specifically hiring the right people. 

Carl admitted that he made some surprising hires in the past that caused lots of damage to the company by hiring people who looked amazing on paper but didn’t turn out to be a good fit for the company. He happily talked about complete inverse encounters where he met some people who employers won’t even consider interviewing after reading their resume, but actually have the potential to become the company’s superstar when upskilled.

At that point, he wished that there was a platform that could tell employers/business owners who to hire, who to fire, who to train, and who will be obsolete due to automation (for example chatbots or robotic automation for manufacturing). Existing human resource platforms and applicant tracking systems only offer processes and not the intelligence to actually solve these problems. This led Carl to team up with someone he knew from the university to create and build the solution he had in mind. Hence, Compono was born.

How they created the Lyre’s brand?

For the brand name, Carl and his Co-founder took inspiration from the Australian Lyrebird whose nature is to mimic sounds.  Carl says that a big part of the brand’s identity is being as close to the original alcoholic spirits as possible. Since his Co-founder and himself are both Australians, they wanted to create a brand that has a Australian connection, mainly because when it comes to products such as food and beverage, Australia has a great reputation globally. 

Lyrebirds can hear Mozart or a chainsaw and recreate the sound. That’s the direction that they wanted to take, playing with the whole mimicry angle when it comes to non alcoholic drinks. Carl shares that they put a lot of thought into terms that are used to label their products. 

“In finding out how to tell the story, we found the spirit animal. So, we were playing on the word spirit and spirit of origin. For example, the London Dry, it is labelled with a pigeon because they are the most popular creatures in London.” 

On Lyre’s target audience

“It’s all about giving people options. The whole thing with Lyre is about enabling mindful drinking.” 

Carls says that they have a bunch of demographics, where some people do not consume alcohol because of religious or circumstantial reasons. The biggest demographics they have identified during the lockdown can be divided into two groups: 

  1. People who are drinking more, have been on some kind of wage subsidy scheme and are waiting to go back; and
  2. People who have wanted to take the time to focus on taking care of themselves amidst the global health crisis.

He admits that he belongs to the second category and it was during this time that he challenged himself to spend at least an hour a day to do something healthy. During the lockdown, as people started exercising and eating healthy, they started feeling good about their health. Carl says that he started feeling better, he began questioning his relationship with alcohol, asking himself if he needed to drink every day.

Since these drinks are non-alcoholic, people can drink and socialise more without having to worry too much about whether they can drive home safely or do their routine on schedule the following day. They also saw an interesting turn where restaurants doing lunch trade started to get people to order two or three cocktails instead of a sparkling order. While this may not sound like much, it translates to a 30-40% increase in revenue. This amount can give businesses who were negatively affected by the pandemic, a boost.

The fulfilment challenges that retailers have to deal with during the COVID climate

Carl says that the biggest challenge at the moment is supply chain disruption. Due to strikes in some ports in Sydney, several retailers have containers that are stuck in the ports, which can greatly affect their inventory. For a long time, retailers operated on deliveries and supplies that arrived just in time. Unfortunately, in the middle of the global health crisis, discretionary goods can be bumped to prioritise the delivery of essential medical equipment and food supplies. 

About your co-host: Carl Hartmann from Lyre’s Spirit Co.

Carl Hartmann is a prominent, multi-award winning Australian serial entrepreneur, who is best known for his work in co-founding Temando, Compono and Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirit Co, and his involvement as an investor & board member/advisor to a range of leading technology companies around the world.  Carl is also the adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Queensland (the leading Australian University and a top 50 global university); serves as a Non-Executive Director on several boards, and has won a number of awards, including the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year Australia, Asia Pacific and global runner up, EY Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Winner and National Finalist.

About your host: Nathan Bush from 12HIGH

Nathan Bush is the founder and lead strategist at eCommerce consultancy, 12HIGH. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

If you loved how Carl used the challenges he encountered to come up with game-changing solutions and products, you might enjoy this podcast on How to turn a 4 AM idea into a million-dollar business.

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