Stephane Ibos says he and Arnaud Lachaume, co-founders of cloud-based business app provider Maestrano, weren’t really looking for investment when they launched late last year.
But in its first three months of business, and after attracting attention at a TiE Sydney pitching event, they’ve now raised $1 million in funding from Australian technology business leaders to ramp up the company’s growth.
They’ve already shown there’s a strong desire for their service from small and medium businesses following a small marketing campaign on the internet in October that saw 350 users signed up in just seven weeks.
“We’re a bit of a cliché story,” Ibos says, describing how he and Lachaume started out as “two founders in the lounge room of a flat”.
With the funding they’ve received they’re now setting out to hire staff and take on an office.
“We could not possibly ask them to work from the sofa,” Ibos jokes.
They are also planning to expand their marketing effort.
Maestrano aggregates a range of open source business applications via the cloud that small and medium-sized businesses can access in one place.
Ibos and Lachaume have known each other for nine years, first meeting at Telecom Paris Tech. They started Maestrano after time in large corporate environments, with Ibos working at global electrical systems provider Thales, and Lachaume at Macquarie Bank.
Ibos says they found smaller businesses didn’t have the tools to handle large contracts.
“We thought, ‘this is the 21st century, surely there’s something we can do’,” he says.
And that’s when they came up with the idea of a marketplace for business apps.
“One place where they find everything they need but don’t need any technical knowledge,” Ibos says.
He says they’re aiming to increase their customer base and then look to expanding to the US and then Europe next year.
Ibos says they ensure the apps they feature are reliable and are used frequently by only choosing ones that are used by at least 100,000-150,000 businesses around the world and have a good track record.
This article first appeared on StartupSmart.