Investment platform Wholesale Investor has launched a new Software-as-a-Service capital raising admin platform, designed to take the hassle out of finding backers and securing funds.
The Capital Raising Intelligent Investment Secondary Platform (CRIISP) is designed to provide startups with a space to engage with investors and ask questions.
It’s also intended to help manage ongoing fundraising processes, with tools for managing and tracking investor interest over time.
Speaking to StartupSmart, Steve Torso, co-founder and managing director of Wholesale Investor and CRIISP, says he noticed in the initial years after Malcolm Turnbull announced his National Innovation and Science Agenda there was “a bit of a boom” in the Australian startup space.
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However, while in the following couple of years there was a lot of energy and activity, “it also became a lot more fragmented”, he says.
Australia has active VC firms, co-working spaces, equity crowdfunding platforms, incubators, accelerators and more, Torso explains.
“Everyone’s doing their own thing, but there’s no software, or no platform, that brings the whole process together,” he says.
CRIISP is intended to “bridge the gaps” in the ecosystem, he adds.
“There’s no shortage of money”
The CRIISP platform could also provide an easier route to funding for small or early-stage startups.
Rather than imposing fees on capital raised, the platform will charge a monthly fee, with a reduced price for startups and early-stage companies, and a free limited starter option.
According to the KPMG Enterprise Venture Pulse Q4 2018 report, released at the beginning of this year, while overall VC investment in Australia has increased, the average deal size has too.
This has led to some concern from the startup sector there’s a lack of seed-stage funding available for Aussie startups.
“There’s no shortage of money available,” Torso says.
“Anything that creates more visibility will help the capital raising process,” he adds.
The platform has the potential to pair strategic angel investors with the kind of ventures they want to back.
“We’re trying to help strategic money find a home with potential companies that are relevant for their direction going forward,” Torso says.
Learning from someone else’s mistakes
Ahead of the launch, Torso and the CRIISP team have been working with investment groups to help refine the product. And so far, the response has been largely positive, the founder says.
People are “surprised no one has done this before”, he explains.
Rather than placing the product as a service offering, he sees the platform’s job as that of an enabler.
“It would be considered a B2B platform, but really our job is just enabling an ecosystem,” Torso says.
“That’s all we’re really thinking about.”
Currently, it’s a software product, but in the future, Torso plans to offer guidance for startups on how they can prepare for a capital raise, and access the right investors.
“Going forward, we’re going to spend a lot of time doing education for founders,” he says.
“Software does only one thing — it just helps facilitate and enable — the rest of it is that we have to make sure founders actually use it to its full capacity.”
And Torso himself will be basing this content on some of his personal experiences.
“It’s the best way,” he says.
When you’ve been working in the capital raising space, he says, it’s easy to make mistakes.
“The education we’re providing is basically all the mistakes I’ve made personally myself, and also that I’ve seen our clients make.”