Sydney-based web start-up The Loop has secured $2 million investment ahead of an ambitious global expansion plan that will kick off with a roll out in the UK.
The business, which was launched in December 2009, has received the funding from seven private investors. The capital comes on top of a $350,000 funding round last year.
Former MTV executives Pip Jamieson and Matt Fayle, the founders of the business, still own the majority of the business and will lead its foray into new markets.
The Loop acts as a jobs resource for creative professionals, ranging from architects to web designers. The site allows creatives to display their portfolios, rather than just their resumes. More than 20,000 people are signed up to the resource.
Companies seeking to get in touch with creative talent have to pay $10 for a “virtual handshake”, while job ads are posted for $150 a time. Freelancers are charged $50 for a listing.
The Loop recently added another feature, called Spaces, which allows businesses to rent out empty office and warehouse space to freelance creatives.
The business has attracted an impressive client list, despite being under two years old, including Google, MTV, The Nine Network, Sydney Opera House and Pacific Magazines.
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The new investment has been used to bolster the business’ team, including marketing and sales heads. Expansion to the UK is expected to take place in the first quarter of next year.
“We could’ve done the expansion organically but we wanted to accelerate the growth before someone else does,” Jamieson tells StartupSmart.
“No one is really doing what we doing, which is really exciting. LinkedIn is a great tool for professional networking in the corporate sector, but creative can’t showcase their work and they are put off a bit by the design of LinkedIn.”
“LinkedIn is almost a virtual depository of business cards in the sky, whereas creative want to meet people they’ve never met and then take the relationship offline. It’s almost the opposite to LinkedIn.”
Jamieson says the business has ambitious plans for the future, by primarily targeting large companies, while retaining a community feel to the site.
“The UK will be first, followed by new offices in other countries,” she says. “We’ve been inundated by requests from other countries to set up there.”
“Every entrepreneur’s dream is to lead an IPO. If we can do that in five years’ time, that would be magic, but there’s still a long way to go before that’s more than just a dream.”
Pip Jamieson, co-founder of The Loop