An Australian software start-up is looking to raise $1 million as it looks to explode onto the world stage, starting with a potentially lucrative contract with the New York City Transport Department, despite the business being barely a year old.
Mercurien, which describes itself as a software-as-a-service company that processes electronic transactions, has tied up deals with Telstra in Australia and Skymeter, a Canadian GPS manufacturer.
It is now looking to seal an agreement with the New York City Transport Department, with the company’s executives set to fly to the US next week for talks about its automated GPS payment system for vehicles.
The progress of Mercurien is eye-catching due to its pace. The business was only launched in July last year but has already raised $1.5 million in funding through the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board.
It is looking to attract a further $1 million in investment in order to fuel ambitious growth plans which include expansion into US and Chinese markets.
The company’s technology, the Mercurien Platform, allows businesses across various industries to transact at low cost on one platform across multiple sites instead of having a dedicated system installed on a site-by-site basis.
The technology has initially been used in car parks and for road tolls, allowing operators to integrate systems and process large numbers of payments more easily.
Mercurien is working with Skymeter to launch a GPS unit in Australia and New Zealand that will allow payments to be made on toll roads and car parks without the need for manual inputting.
The business has struck a partnership with Telstra, with the telco offering technical advice and support for a concept that can be adapted to mobile phones.
Mercurien was launched after 10 years of technical development work undertaken by Philip Haynes, the business’ chief technology officer.
Michael Graham, former managing director of Landor and now CEO of Mercurien, tells StartupSmart that the business was looking to exploit the growing machine-to machine transaction market, which is set to be worth $66 billion by 2014.
“Most things in business come down to time and money, and we can create large numbers at a very high speed at low cost,” he says.
“The GPS device take the car to the cloud if you like – it’s a cashless transaction where no human hands are involved.
“We’re pretty confident that the first point of entry will be trucks and that we can offer something more advanced than there currently is in this space.
“We’ve pitched to one of the US’ largest telcos, as well as a Chinese telco. This is very much a telco play with its use on mobile phones.
“We did a lot of planning before pressing the button on the launch, around five months or so. We were able to find a spot that was relevant to a large company.
“You can’t change much in this industry unless you have a relationship with a major company. We’ve taken a ride on the shoulders of giants.”