Naomi Simson

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Naomi Simson
NAOMI-Cover Crop.png
Born (1964-02-22) 22 February 1964 (age 55)
Years active2001–present
Known forCo-Founder Big Red Group Founder RedBalloon[1]
Stuart King (m. 2016)

Naomi Simson (born 22 February 1964) is an Australian businessperson, blogger, and entrepreneur. In July 2017, she co-founded the Big Red Group (BRG) with business partner, David Anderson. The Big Red Group includes marketplace brands Adrenaline (acquired in November 2018),, RedBalloon and Marketics (Albert AI). The group serves an experience every minute, and turns over more than $100m a year.

Naomi is the founder of RedBalloon, an online experience gift retailer based in Australia which operates under the parent company the Big Red Group.[2] She has won numerous awards[3] including the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Silver Stevie Award.[4]

As a writer, Simson is the author of two books, Live What you Love (2015) and Ready to Soar (2016). She was a shark on the Australian television show Shark Tank.[5] Simson is also ranked as one of the top 30 tech influencers on Twitter by The Business Insider.[6]


Simson began her career in the corporate marketing field and gained experience with IBM, KPMG, Apple Computer Australia, and Ansett Australia.[1] In 2001, she founded RedBalloon, an online experience gift retailer based in Australia. She began the company out of her house with a $25,000 personal investment and grew it to 46 employees by 2011.[3][3][7] Simson was CEO of the company until 2011 when she took a step back from the operational side of the business.[8] RedBalloon also launched the stand-alone small business reward platform Redii in 2016.[9] In 2017, Simson formed Big Red Group, a company that became the parent company for RedBalloon.[2] It also operates the companies Marketics (Albert AI), Redii, and Adrenaline. The group was formed with Dave Anderson who purchased a 50% stake in RedBalloon in 2017.[2]

In late 2014, Simson was named as one of five 'Sharks' on Network Ten's Shark Tank in Australia along with Andrew Banks, John McGrath, Steve Baxter, and Janine Allis. She has been a shark on the show since its launch in 2015. Simson has also been a guest host on Network Ten's Studio 10.[10]

Simson was a secret millionaire in the 2009 season of the reality television show The Secret Millionaire – Australia.[11] On the show, Simson volunteered for 10 days in different disadvantaged areas of Australia. Upon conclusion of the show, Simson reveals her true identity to others and donates money to a number of the causes and individuals she volunteered for during the show.[12] She was one of five benefactors for the season who gave more than $750,000 to various individuals and organisations in the community.[11][13]

Simson is a blogger and owner of, ranked number two in the 15 Top Business Blogs by as of 2016.[14][15][16] Simson is the author of two books, Live What You Love (2015) and Ready to Soar (2016). She was one of 13 authors who collaborated to write the 2008 book The Power of More Than One:Success Strategies from Australasia's Leading Business and Motivational Specialists[17] and also wrote a preface for the 2013 book Appvertising – How Apps are Changing the World.[18] In 2016 she released the book Ready to Soar: Turn Your Brilliant Idea into a Business You Love.[19]

Simson is also a philanthropist and joined the council of Voiceless to spread the word about the need for greater animal protection.[20] She is also an advisor to Heads Over Heels and a governor for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.[21]


  • Ready To Soar (2016) ISBN 9781760372446[22]
  • Live What You Love (2015) ISBN 9781743569917[23]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Simson has won numerous awards throughout her career including the 2005 Westpac NSW Entrepreneur of the Year.[1] Additional awards and recognition include the National Telstra Business Women's Award for Innovation in 2008, and being a 2011 finalist in BRW's Entrepreneur of the Year.[3]

Simson was recognised by LinkedIn in 2012 as one of the World's Most Influential Thought Leaders, a recognition shared by only 150 people.[24] She was one of only two from Australia with the other being founder Matt Barrie.[25] The recognition was part of LinkedIn's Influencer Campaign to share business knowledge, allowing Simson to author content to be shared with LinkedIn members.[24]

As of 2017, Simson is one of the 10 business executives in Australia, to hold a "Power Profile" on LinkedIn.[26]

In October 2018 Simson was named in The Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence awards in the Business and Entrepreneur category.[27]

Select awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Williams, Sonia (2012). Raising a Business: A Woman’s No-nonsense Guide to Successfully Growing Your Small Business. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118319635.
  2. ^ a b c Yoo, Tony (28 July 2017). "Naomi Simson says people shouldn't fear AI, they should buy it - from her". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Steffens, Miriam (2 April 2012). "RedBalloon's vision was no flight of fancy". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b Krishna, Bala Murali (25 November 2013). "Aussies bring home 18 Stevies from New York". The Anthill Online. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  5. ^ Keating, Eloise. "Behind the scenes of Shark Tank with Red Balloon founder Naomi Simson". Smart Company. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  6. ^ Heber, Alex (10 July 2015). "30 of Australia's biggest tech influencers on Twitter". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  7. ^ Ham, Larissa (7 February 2001). "RedBalloon still flying high". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  8. ^ Tay, Liz (29 August 2013). "I Will Care For Your Baby: RedBalloon's First Corproate CEO On Taking Over From Naomi Simson". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  9. ^ Carmody, Broede (6 October 2015). "Naomi Simson's RedBalloon launches Redii, a stand-alone business for founders to reward employees". Smart Company. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  10. ^ Simson, Naomi. "Where it all Began". LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b McManus, Bridget (15 October 2009). "Challenge for rich and poor". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  12. ^ Butler, Dianne (28 October 2009). "Millionaire uncovers 99 reasons to walk a mile in their shoes". Courier Mail. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  13. ^ "The Secret Millionaire: The new TV show with a heart". Star Central Magazine. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  14. ^ Keating, Eloise (22 February 2016). "Australia's Best Business Blogs: 2016". Smart Company. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  15. ^ Howarth, Brad (30 November 1999). "Australia's best business blogs". SmartCompany. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  16. ^ Cook, Trevor (11 October 2008). "Australian business blogs list". Crikey. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  17. ^ Carlton, Maria (2008). The Power of More Than One. Maruki Books. ISBN 9780473115586.
  18. ^ Molloy, Stephen (2013). Appvertising – How Apps are Changing the World. Amazon Digital Services.
  19. ^ Enker, Debi (6 May 2016). "Shark Tank, where reality TV, big money and innovation come together". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Voiceless, the animal protection institute".
  21. ^ "Council of Governors". Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  22. ^ "New Book Release: Ready To Soar by Naomi Simson". BSchool. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  23. ^ "5 Business Lessons Online Business Leader Naomi Simson". Australian Institute of Business. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  24. ^ a b "RedBalloon Founder Naomi Simson – World's Biggest LinkedIn Influencers". Australian Businesswomen's Network. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  25. ^ Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (21 November 2012). "How to become a LinkedIn Influencer". BRW. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  26. ^ "The most "powerful" Australian chief executives and founders on LinkedIn revealed - SmartCompany". SmartCompany. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  27. ^ Patten, Sally (17 October 2018). "Women of Influence 2018 winner fights for recognition of Indigenous Australians". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Elcom CEO acknowledged with prestigious 2013 Pearcey Foundation Award". Elcom. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  29. ^ "NSW & ACT top entrepreneurs for 2011 named" (Press release). Ernst & Young. 24 June 2011. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.

External links[edit]