Micro-influencer startup Tribe raises $5.5 million in pre-IPO capital, amid tech frenzy on the ASX


Tribe chief executive Anthony Svirskis and founder Jules Lund. Source: Supplied.

Aussie micro-influencer marketing startup Tribe has bagged $5.5 million in pre-IPO funding, as the startup considers the opportunities of an especially lively market for tech stocks.

Founded in 2015 by TV and radio host Jules Lund, who was shortly joined by chief executive Anthony Svirskis, Tribe is a marketplace connecting brands with social media micro-influencers.

The latest round follows a $10.5 million raise back in 2019, which fuelled an expansion into the US market.

This time, investors included Saville Capital, Cyan Capital and SG Hiscock. They join a group of high-profile existing backers, including Catch Group founders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, former Unilever exec Keith Weed and Expert 360 founder Bridget Loudon.

Given the potential of an IPO process, Svirskis doesn’t share any specific recent growth figures.

But, as of 2019, the business was growing at a rate of 100% to 150% year-on-year. It seems that trajectory is continuing.

The startup’s expansion into the US, in particular, has been “a really positive story”, that still holds a considerable growth opportunity, he tells SmartCompany.

“Whilst it’s big and vast, it’s our fastest-growing region,” he says.

When asked why an IPO was the right growth strategy for Tribe, Svirskis stresses this is just one pathway under consideration for the business at the moment.

There’s no timeline in place as of yet, and “we will need to monitor market conditions”, he notes.

“But, there is a strong appreciation for technology companies in global markets.”

A millennial appetite

And he’s not wrong. The past 12 months has seen a flurry of activity in tech stocks, both in Australia and overseas.

A shift towards e-commerce, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen the share price of ASX-listed buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay skyrocket, for example.

Last year also saw tech-enabled retailers Adore Beauty and Booktopia go public, as well as fintechs Douugh and Payright, tradie marketplace Hipages, and edtech OpenLearning.

In the US, tech giants such as Amazon and Tesla reached record highs in 2020, while Airbnb and Doordash went public in the same week, reportedly becoming the sixth and seventh largest tech IPOs in US history, respectively.

Snowflake’s IPO in September came in at fifth-largest.

Just last week, dating app Bumble went public in a wildly successful float that crowned founder Whitney Wolfe Herd as a self-made billionaire.

And in August, Aussie-grown BigCommerce also listed on the Nasdaq with great success.

There are certainly interesting things going on in the public markets, Svirskis notes, and he’s excited to see investors embracing tech companies.

This can — at least, in part — be put down to an increasing number of younger people embracing share trading, using accessible apps such as Robinhood and Aussie offering Stake.

That trend came to a head last month in the GameStop saga, which saw retail traders join forces to save a dwindling but much-loved chain of bricks-and-mortar stores, and scupper the institutional hedge funds shorting the stock.

Incidentally, neither Stake nor Robinhood fared particularly well in the melee.

But, an influx of cash-rich millennial investors can only be a good thing for a business like Tribe.

“We’re in the space of content, and social media, so the themes of the business are understandable to many types of investors,” Svirskis says.

And, it had a strong focus on “business fundamentals” too — that is, growth and profitability — which he hopes will make it a wise investment, as well as a culturally appealing one.

“The last 12 months has shown Australian software businesses are performing well locally and globally,” he says.

“We hope to be another local success story.”


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