Melbourne experience startup AmazingCo has raised $5.1 million in Series A funding, including repeat investment from Aconex co-founders Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot, to ramp up what co-founders Jeremy Cox and Silvia Hope believe could be a $1 trillion global opportunity.
Rampersand VC and Macdoch Ventures were also repeat investors, and Artesian also contributed to the round.
AmazingCo was originally founded in 2012 by Cox, Hope and co-founder Nick Brozovic as a children’s party provider.
Since then, it has evolved into a platform providing experiences — from Blue Mountains picnics to dog-friendly bar crawls to backyard movie nights.
In June last year, the startup raised $2.3 million in seed funding to scale its operations and further expand the business overseas.
Now it’s up and running in Australia and New Zealand, and in 23 cities in the US.
Speaking to StartupSmart, Cox says AmazingCo is on track to be in 50 cities globally by “very-early-2020”.
“It means the world”
Hope says this latest funding round is “a lot about expansion”.
The team will be focusing on “both the global city-by-city rollout, but also the experience creation”.
While by early next year the plan is to have additional locations and customers, AmazingCo will also “be offering dozens of new experience formats which have all been designed from the ground up”.
However, the round was also about securing continuing support from investors who believe in the startup and its vision.
“It means the world,” Cox says.
For founders, it’s important to find investors who believe in the mission and the vision of the business, he says.
“We have certainly found that — from the people who were there very early on to those that are coming on board in this round.”
While some of the investors are very active, jumping on the phone every week or once a month, others are happy to stay on the sidelines, and to jump in when needed, Cox explains.
Either way, “any time we send an email, or a request for help, there’s a significant amount of support that comes back”, he says.
“The key here is knowing your investors, working out how they can help, how they want to help, and being targeted in the requests you would put out there.”
A $1 trillion opportunity
Ultimately, the co-founders believe the investment will pay off.
In the future, the biggest company in the world “will not be one that sells things, it will be one that sells experiences”, Cox explains.
AmazingCo has a huge potential market, he adds. According to the OECD’s Better Life Index, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita in Australia is just shy of $50,000.
“Stack that up across 50 cities — you’re talking about a $1 trillion opportunity here,” Cox says.
Equally, there is a shifting trend in the way people are spending that disposable income, he says, with people buying fewer things, and “more memories, he says.
“We are the sum of our experiences, and AmazingCo can help people deploy their experiences better. If you do that right, then the monetary outcomes will look after themselves,” Cox explains.
“For some investors, that’s a vision that doesn’t make sense. For others, it’s a vision that makes complete sense.”
Learn, reset, change
For other startups hoping to raise some cash, Cox explains any capital raise is “an ongoing journey”.
When you’re talking to investors, they may not be interested today, but you still want to make a contact that could come in handy in the future.
“Always have an eye on the relationships your building,” he advises.
Equally, in any discussions “you’re looking for people whose eyes light up”, he says.
“Look for those moments of true connectedness to what you’re working on.”
If you book a 30-minute meeting that ends up running for 90 minutes, “that’s a sign … of people who want to engage you in the problem space you’ve got”.
Also speaking to StartupSmart, co-founder Silvia Hope adds that throughout the journey, there is “so much that we’ve learnt”.
What is important, she says, is to take that new wisdom — both from external advice and your own experiences — and use it.
“As you learn, make sure you are implementing those learnings into what you’re doing,” she says.
“You’ve got to learn, you’ve got to reset, you’ve got to change … that’s been really important for us.”