Roamz launches following $3.5m funding drive

Roamz, an Australian social media-driven location-based app, has debuted in California today after securing more than $3.5 million in funding prior to launch.


The business marked its official unveiling at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, in front of some of the heaviest hitters in the tech industry.


Unusually for a tech start-up from Australia, Roamz attracted significant investment before its debut, taking $3.5 million from marketing firm Salmat in January.


It followed this up by receiving a share of the $1.8 million Mobile Concierge Grant, alongside the likes of Google and Nokia.


The business was founded by Jonathan Barouch, who sold his company last year. Following the Salmat investment, Barouch owns 37% of Roamz.


The app works by providing users real-time, personalised recommendations of nearby attractions, such as restaurants and museums.


The information provided by the app is pulled from social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, with users able to personalise the feed by adding friends’ updates.


“This is a great opportunity to reach engaged users looking for places and things to do,” Barouch tells StartupSmart.


“I think we’re in the right place at the right time. It’s not a daily deal kind of deal – it’s a consistent product that can really amplify word-of-mouth.


“It doesn’t really compete with FourSquare or Facebook. It’s content that people wouldn’t see normally, although of course we realise that we have to show ROI to those with a limited digital budget.”


“It’s about hitting a global audience now. It’s really nice to launch in front of such top influencers. But we have a great team in Sydney and we’ll focus on one day at a time. I’d be thrilled to have 100,000 users by the end of the year.”


Roamz, which will be available in the iPhone for free before a revenue model is decided upon, has a 12-strong engineering and marketing team based in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.


“There’s huge awareness of Australian start-ups in the US now,” says Barouch. “I spoke to some journalists in Silicon Valley and they’d all heard about Atlassian and 99designs.”


“There’s a real appetite for what’s going on in Australia.”


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