An Aussie startup offering a corporate-focused alternative to ride-sharing providers such as Uber and Taxify has announced it will undergo a $5 million initial public offering to list on the Australian Stock Exchange in June.
GoCatch is a ride-sharing startup founded in 2011 by Andrew Campbell and Ned Moorfield and was initially developed as a way for customers to book and track taxis through a mobile phone app. It later pivoted towards an Uber-style service aimed at the VIP and corporate markets.
To date, the company has raised $12.3 million in capital from backers including Square Peg Capital and the Kahlbetzers family, and has just closed a modest $1 million pre-IPO raise to help it tackle the trials and tribulations of going public.
Startup listings in Australia have been under increasing scrutiny in recent months, with the likes of GetSwift and Big Un suffering criticism and market cap drops because of recent issues over disclosure.
But Campbell says he’s not fazed by the scrutiny, telling StartupSmart GoCatch “isn’t a startup anymore”, but instead is a mature, seven year-old business on the cusp of profitability — a line he’s hoping will draw in investors.
“We think investors will respond well to a profitable business model, and we may very well be the first company in the space to have a profitable and sustainable business model,” he says.
However, the company’s profitability is yet to be established; Campbell says the company is “close to profitable” and on track to be by June. The choice to list was also a result of GoCatch being Australian owned and operated, a rarity in the Australian ride-sharing market, says Campbell.
“We want to provide an opportunity for the fragmented market of vehicle owners to invest in the distribution channel that originates their bookings. With the capital we’ve had invested to date we’ve developed a user base of 59,000 drivers and a sustainable business model, so we’re not doing it for the capital,” he says.
The listing will also give GoCatch a significant point of differentiation over other private ride-share operators, and Campbell believes the company going public will instill more confidence in its corporate and VIP users, who will feel more comfortable having their data housed with a company domiciled in Australia.
Rocky pasts behind them
GoCatch has had a somewhat checkered past, with Campbell leaving the company in 2014 to direct the Slingshot accelerator, handing the reins over to co-founder Moorfield, who then left in 2016. The chief executive role was then given to former CarAdvice boss David Holmes before Campbell took over again last year.
Moorfield said the decision for him to leave was a “collective” one by the GoCatch board and he remains a significant stakeholder.
The company has also been involved in a stoush with the NSW Taxi Council and has previously reported its fight with Uber in Queensland as “brutal and dirty”.
A number of offers for the purchase of GoCatch were also considered in 2015, but Campbell says those offers were rejected and the idea of a sale pushed away. All the company’s shareholders are “aligned behind” the IPO pathway, he says.
The company has also recently appointed the chairman of the NSW Hire Car Association John Bartolotta as a non-executive board member.
Speaking to other founders who may be considering a listing at some point in the future, Campbell says the best advice he can give is to focus on profits from the get-go.
“Focus on a sustainable business model that revolves around executing on your key strategies. It’s essential if you want to go down the listing path,” he says.