From rags to VC riches: young entrepreneur set for US funding tour

Nathan Murphy, a young entrepreneur who was homeless on the streets of Darwin just a few years ago, is set to embark upon a month-long trip of the US after setting up meetings with investors to pitch his start-up EyeCrowd.

Murphy, who is 20 years old, is to spend two weeks in San Francisco and then two weeks in New York next month in an attempt to gain “significant” funding for his business.

EyeCrowd, which only launched a month ago, has been developed by Murphy in partnership with Sydney-based tech incubator BlueChilli.

The business acts as a crowdsourcing guide for marketing collateral such as logos. Users upload their marketing material and can see public opinions about it, both good and bad, in real time on the site.

Respondents are paid $1 per opinion, with businesses that use the service paying a fee to get feedback on their marketing ideas.

Murphy says that EyeCrowd can target research at target demographics and will prove cheaper than traditional market research activities.

“A lot of marketing material is decided by businesses and not customers, who are the ones who actually have to deal with it,” he says.

“Focus groups are very expensive – it can cost $400 to sit just eight people down and get their opinions, whereas we can get 100 opinions in 18 minutes.”

Murphy says that he’s excited by the US trip, a journey that represents a stunning turnaround for the entrepreneur, who spent time living rough after a family disturbance.

“I want to pitch to VCs there and get some PR,” he says. “I expect to be ripped apart by the VCs there, but I’m actually looking forward to that.”

“I’ve got a thirst to be the best I possibly can. I envision something in my head and then don’t stop talking about it until it gets done. That really helps create momentum.”

Murphy previously founded Audio High School, which provided audio-based school books, but has put the business on the backburner to focus on EyeCrowd.

This article was first published in StartupSmart.


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