The co-founder of HootSuite has shared his thoughts on the Australian start-up scene’s lack of investor capital after embarking on a global tour for his new start-up Quietly.
HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organisations to execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard.
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It was founded in Vancouver in 2008 by Ryan Holmes, who developed the platform alongside a team including Dario Meli.
Meli, who has since moved on from HootSuite, is launching a new company called Quietly – a network for connecting trendsetters, travellers, curators, writers and brands.
Quietly allows users to receive highly accurate recommendations from their friends and trusted brands.
Meli – who founded Quietly in December with Sean Tyson – is on a global tour to raise awareness of the service ahead of its launch to the public. This is expected to happen in March.
Having already visited Columbia and Peru, Meli is currently in Sydney, where he is looking to connect with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, bloggers, and anyone in media and publishing.
Meli points out the Quietly team consists of just four people, so there are no immediate plans to hire Australia-based staff. However, he describes Australia’s start-up scene as “quite good”.
“I’ve met with people who operate a few start-ups and have another meeting tonight that I’m going to be attending,” he says.
“I’m presenting at Fishburners tomorrow, so I’ll be meeting many [more] entrepreneurs and many start-ups. The reception has been great.”
When compared to the United States, Meli believes there is “not necessarily a lot of access to capital” in Australia. He also believes Australia has a relatively smaller consumer scene, which makes it hard to scale.
Meanwhile, Meli insists his association with HootSuite has limited benefits.
“That really is in reputation only. Quietly is brand new… The entire journey is a fresh start,” he says.
“The point of this trip is not to talk about HootSuite at all. HootSuite is doing its own thing. I’m not involved in operations any longer.”
Meli and Tyson have already raised a small seed round for Quietly, but they haven’t ruled out raising additional funding further down the track.
The ultimate plan for Quietly, says Meli, is to go global, hence the worldwide tour.
“We’re taking a global perspective and it’s an unknown. That’s why we’re going to Bangkok and Rome and Prague and Amsterdam,” he says.