Tiger Pistol plans Asian rollout following $1.15 million angel round

Melbourne-based start-up Tiger Pistol has launched a social marketing platform specifically for SMEs, after raising $1.15 million in an angel round led by Australian investor David Solomon.


Tiger Pistol, founded by chief executive Stephen Hibberd and chief client officer Troy Townsend, has unveiled a social marketing platform for SMEs.


The platform provides a range of social marketing apps as well as industry-wide performance benchmarks, providing “transparency and predictability” to the social media marketing industry.


Tiger Pistol released its platform in closed beta in late 2011, attracting more than 1,600 SME users from more than 100 countries.


It also attracted a number of larger corporate partners and customers including Expedia, Hotels.com, Twinings, The Weather Channel, Village Roadshow, Webjet, the ABC and the BBC.


The platform, which integrates into Facebook, plans to add Twitter, LinkedIn, Sina Weibo and Kaixin001 in an effort to carve a slice of the estimated $2.5 billion small businesses spend on social media marketing every year.


The company is backed by a $1.15 million angel round led by local businessman and investor David Solomon. The other two investors have asked to remain anonymous.


Hibberd says the trio has taken a double-digit stake in the business, with Solomon making up a “good proportion” of the $1.15 million round.


“David had seen what I’d done in the past – I’ve known him for some time,” Hibberd says.


“He was looking to up his investment in the new media and new technology space, so he was very open to backing the people involved [in Tiger Pistol].”


“It was very important for us to launch with a product that was able to internationally compete, and have some really key points of difference to the global leaders in the US.”


The business is already planning to raise another round of funding, possibly from US investors. According to Hibberd, the round could be anything from $1 million to $3 million.


Tiger Pistol has networks across the Asia-Pacific, South America, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe, but will initially focus on the Asia-Pacific market.


“There are more Facebook users across the Asia-Pacific region, excluding China, than the US. The adoption of social marketing is growing rapidly,” Hibberd says.


“Brands and SMBs have lacked an understanding of the value a business derives from a fan, so they have just spent money and effort trying to get more.”


“But are they the right ones? And what is their value? Our platform allows them to increasingly understand who’s engaging with them [and] what value they bring to the business.”


“[The platform also] gives them the insights and tools to continue and grow the engagement in a valuable way.”


Hibberd says Tiger Pistol aims to simplify social marketing for small businesses with a range of “drag” and “drop” tools, coupled with enterprise-grade analytics and benchmarking.


“We think the combination of simplicity and rigour is critical for the sake of the industry as well as the businesses who are spending their hard-earned money and demand a return,” he says.


The Tiger Pistol platform lets SMEs create a series of tab pages and apps designed to attract and engage fans, and convert fans to customers.


Using templates and drag-and-drop widgets, the tab pages and apps can be created and personalised in any language.


According to Sanjay Bhasin, of marketing and communications company Young & Rubicam, the Tiger Pistol benchmarking and analysis will subject social media marketing to the “same scrutiny” as other marketing channels.


“This has been the missing link for many companies, so we would expect this to add further growth to a market already growing at amazing speeds,” Bhasin said in a statement.


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