Startup News & Analysis

Sydney startup Get secures $3.4 million in funding, but this 23-year-old founder is in it for more than money

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Get

Get founder Daniel Liang. Source: Supplied.

Social payment platform Get has raised $3.4 million in funding as it prepares to expand internationally, however the raise is also about getting the right partners on board, according to founder Daniel Liang.

The round was led by Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek Holdings, as well as Click Ventures.

Founded in 2016, the startup was originally called Qnect, and provided a social network for ticketing, allowing users to see when their friends had put their money where their mouth is and actually splashed out on a ticket to an event.

Now, Liang is only 23, but he’s rebranded his business, survived a cyber attack and shifted his startup’s model to cater specifically to university clubs and societies.

On the platform, societies can sell membership, merchandise and tickets to events to members, while those running the clubs can use it to manage and contact members.

Now, the startup has about 220,000 users in Australia and Hong Kong, and is in the process of launching in Singapore.

Liang previously raised $500,000 in funding, but the time was right to go for a more substantial round, because “there’s just much more to do”, he tells StartupSmart.

“We knew we had the potential to be a great company,” he says.

This was also part of the rationale for changing the startup’s name from Qnect to Get, Liang says.

“We’ve done well with the name Qnect,” he says, with users sticking with the product because of the tools and features available.

“We knew we had a great tool — we wanted to take it to more people,” he says.

The idea was to make the name easier, and more indicative of what the startup does, Liang explains.

“We always helped people get tickets, merchandise and membership. [Now] we can help them get more stuff,” he says.

“Learn along the way”

The funding is pegged for adding new features to the platform and “making sure that those features on the product are the best in the market”, Liang says

The startup will also build on its marketing and product teams, and “hire the very best in design and engineering in Australia”, he adds.

However, the raise was also partly about securing strong partnerships.

“It’s more about the partners,” Liang says, “they can help us discover the mission”.

“They bring a lot of expertise,” he adds.

Vertex Ventures was an early investor in ridesharing startup Grab, which raised a mammoth $2 billion in VC funding recently, as well as in US GPS startup Waze and Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike.

Click Ventures also has a high-profile portfolio, as an early investor in Spotify and Meetup.

“There’s a lot of things we’ll learn,” Liang says.

When looking for investment, Liang advises other startup founders “not to spread yourself too thinly”.

The process of securing funding can be a long one, and “it’s a two-way conversation … you need to spend a lot of thought on how you can partner with someone”, he says.

“You have to be flexible and open to ideas, shift and be able to be agile, and show your strengths as you go along,” he adds.

Liang also has advice on the many challenges a founder faces, saying perseverance and persistence are key.

Get — or Qnect as it was named at the time — was targeted by a cyberattack in mid-2017, although Liang maintains the breach itself “was blown up in the media much more than it should have been”.

At that time, the startup kept constant communication with its customers, and Liang focused on looking forward.

Much bigger companies have been hacked and survived, he says.

“It’s not a fatal thing.”

He’s also learnt a lot by founding a company at a young age — and advises other founders to learn from as many people as they can.

“Try to hire people who are better than you, smarter than you, more experienced … learn along the way,” he says.

“It’s a personal journey as well,” he says.

“Make sure you make the most out of every day.”

NOW READ: “It’s all rollercoasters”: Here’s what it’s really like to bootstrap a company in Australia

NOW READ: How Monash University’s startup accelerator is helping grow a YouTube channel into a student-focused startup

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is a reporter at StartupSmart.

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