Thereitis.com, an Adelaide-based tech start-up, has secured $2 million in angel funding from local investors, as the business gears up for rapid expansion across the globe.
The funding, for an undisclosed equity stake, has come from a dozen individual investors, all but two of whom are from Adelaide.
Thereitis has managed to raise the thumping cash pile despite still being in its Beta phase and before it has signed major distribution deals in the US, Europe and Asia, although it is in talks to roll out in all three of these major markets.
The business, which was profiled by StartupSmart late last year, is built on the back of technology spun out from Adelaide’s Flinders University.
The technology works by presenting a new way of displaying large collections of information on computers, tablets and smartphones.
Rather than show a long linear list of, for example, runners for sale on a web page, Thereitis’ technology presents the products in a virtual 3D “cloud”, which allows users to easily move through the products and pick them out visually.
Thereitis’ founder, former Fairfax executive Guy Sewell, says that the money will be used to grow his team, with Sewell himself set to relocate to the US.
“It’s a huge round of funding for Adelaide and there is no material change in the control of the business,” he tells StartupSmart.
“The money covers us operationally for a good couple of years. We’ll have around 10 full-time people in Australia – we have six at the moment – and sales people in Europe and Asia, depending on whether we go director or via a distributor.”
“At the moment, I’m doing capital raising, PR, marketing and everything else, so we’ll look to get some people to help with some of those aspects. We may also look to use the money to get matched funding from Commercialisation Australia.”
Sewell says that the consumer-facing part of the business – in the form of iPhone and Android apps – will be launched within three months.
Thereitis has already got several hundred retailers on board for its own shopping portal, with the business set to take a cut of between 3% and 11% on each sale that is pushed to another brand.
“We’ll be launching an iTunes visualisation tool which will be great because going through iTunes is a difficult and laborious process,” Sewell says.
“Our technology will make browsing in iTunes easier and will expose people to content they aren’t familiar with. I think when people get their hands on it, they will love it – it’s like what they will have seen on CSI or something, but with their own data.”
Sewell puts the success of the fundraising effort down to the potential of the product.
“The technology is exciting and it has a strong B2B and consumer revenue streams – it isn’t restricted to one,” he says.
“We’ve obviously got to execute properly, but the investors saw they could get huge multiples in their return on investment. The product is sexy and it has IP protection, so it’s in a strong position.”