Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

02 November 2016

At 21 years of age, UQ alumnus Alborz Fallah (Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Arts '06) started his 17th digital business, CarAdvice.com - a website which quickly became a buzzing internet hub.

Ten years after creating CarAdvice.com in Mr Fallah's family home, the majority share of his website was sold to Nine Digital for $35 million. Mr Fallah shares his experience as an entrepreneur founding and leading a dot-com success.

"My entrepreneurship journey started when I was just 11 years of age, when I first started making money from the internet. I was spurred on to become an entrepreneur after being rejected from a job at Coles where I was told that I didn’t have what it took to "be on the check-out". I concluded that I didn’t want to work for someone else and made the decision to focus on what I was good at - computers.

"After my 16th digital business endeavour I finally came to the realisation that I just needed to do what I loved, rather than doing something that I thought was going to make money so I began to follow my two passions – writing and cars.

"I had all the technical skills as a UQ IT graduate to start online businesses and as such, I put all my life skills together and combined them with my passions to create CarAdvice.com. I was fortunate that the market was in desperate need of such a service so the website grew very rapidly.

"It was obvious from the first month that it would be a popular prospect and business. We hired our first staff within the first 12 months and now we employ 37 full time staff in offices across the country. We have now grown to become the largest new car website in Australia and the biggest editorial automotive website.

"I had failed so many times running businesses in the past so I had learnt a lot and when the time came for me to lead CarAdvice.com my experience was invaluable. Although I made plenty of mistakes with CarAdvice.com, none of them were that lethal and I was able to avoid mistakes I’d made before in previous businesses, now it's important to me that I pass my knowledge onto budding entrepreneurs. I regularly speak at Brisbane’s River City Labs to up-and-coming entrepreneurs to share my experience and let them know the pitfalls they can avoid.

"Since the sale of the website to Nine Digital, I am still in the business as cars are my passion. It is an exciting time as there are huge prospects for growth in all areas of the business.

"As a UQ alumnus I have very fond memories of my time at university. Growing up with two parents who completed PhDs, a university education was important to me and I absolutely loved the St Lucia campus. The atmosphere of being at UQ was amazing and I still go back to this day and do some work at the campus just because of all the great memories of studying there. In many ways I still miss it, but it was a great experience while I was there.

"I also worked at UQ in the Library Technology Services for a few years in the middle of running my first few businesses, basically using my income from UQ to help fund my initial failures to finally getting one venture to work. I actually set up the CarAdvice.com domain name from the UQ computer labs in my lunch break!

"Going to university opened up my mind, taught me how to learn and changed my perspective. I am grateful to UQ both for the education and also the initial full time employment that helped me fund my dreams."