A Victorian tech company specialising in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for global markets has secured a $5.8 million deal with South Korea that will see its smart water systems deployed in 24,000 households by the end of 2017.
Freestyle Technology chief executive Mohan Jesudason says the company has spent the past four years “building a range of proof-of-concepts” for the South Korean region.
“There was a glaring gap in the water sector,” Jesudason tells StartupSmart.
“Electricity is a monopoly play. Gas is cheap … water is more disparate.”
During this period, Jesudason says Freestyle Technology worked closely with South Korean municipalities to develop smarter, data-driven solutions to manage water usage and quality with IoT devices.
“Korea is a very advanced country technologically, they’re fiercely loyal – Koreans tend to buy Korean made,” says Jesudason.
“So what made this even more exciting for us is that we’re an Australian company winning an important mandate over there.
“We’re the first and only IoT rollout in the water sector in South Korea at this stage.”
The South Korean deal marks an exciting milestone for Freestyle Technology’s development of IoT and its commercial applications, says Jesudason.
“Being an early stage company from Mount Waverley, making really solid in-roads in a number of international markets is exciting,” Jesudason says.
“We’re 56 people, we speak 19 languages in the company – we focused on Asia.
“Last year, we made a very deliberate decision to take our technology and move that into customer-centric solutions.”
In 2016, Jesudason told StartupSmart the company has invested more than $45 million into IoT research and development and was expecting to create 150 new tech jobs. At the time, he said this investment would lead to more than $200 million in exports over the next few years.
Jesudason declined to provide further comment on this or revenue.
Plans underway for an IPO
In the second half of this year, Jesudason is planning to float Freestyle Technology on the ASX and over the next few weeks will be “appointing managers” to get the business ready for an initial public offering.
Jesudason says the decision to go public is to open up the company to more shareholders and help it seize the fast growing market opportunity for IoT devices across major industries like water, electricity and gas.
“We’re looking to raise $10 million on a pre-money valuation of $10 [million],” he says.
“We’ve raised about nine of the ten.”
According to Fairfax, the company has raised $50 million to date.
“Preparation is key,” Jesudason says.
“You don’t get a second chance here and if you’re planning on going public and if you decide [later] you’re not quite prepared you’re going to be roast.
“You have to be very clear about why you want to go public. In our case we’re keen to go public because the growth profile in this category is so strong … companies like us are very well positioned in this space.”