Social media platform Litt bags $1.5 million in record time, as Aussies show appetite for alternatives to Facebook

LITT co-founders Brent Thompson and Peter Salom. Source: supplied.

Aussie social media startup Litt has raised $1.5 million through an equity crowdfunding campaign, and it’s broken a few records along the way.

The Perth-based startup became the fastest business to raise $500,000 through an equity crowdfunding campaign. It reached the milestone — and its minimum target — in just 40 minutes.

Within 11 hours, it became the second-fastest business to pass the $1 million mark. This is second only to fintech Thrive, which hit $1 million in less than two-and-a-half hours just weeks ago.

Litt is also reportedly the fastest startup to have reached its maximum target. It topped out the $1.5 million raise late Thursday night on equity crowdfunding platform Birchal.

Putting it mildly, Litt co-founder Brent Thompson tells SmartCompany it “went well”.

“We’re super excited,” he adds.

The platform is designed to connect people with each other and with local businesses. It incorporates a digital wallet and when a user views an ad — either a video or augmented reality experience — they earn a “Litt point” which can be spent at participating businesses.

This means ad revenue is directed to the users, Thompson explains, and then ultimately back to the businesses that are advertising.

“That’s a big differentiator,” he says. “We’re changing the face of digital advertising.”

The startup has previously raised smaller amounts of funding from friends and family. But, for a business that has community at its core, equity crowdfunding seemed like the obvious next step.

In total, the startup now has 682 new investors. That’s another 682 “family members”, Thompson says. “They can own a piece of this thing and help us launch.”

The $1.5 million in fresh funding will allow the business to scale throughout Australia, Thompson adds. He and the team will be building out the sales and marketing staff, and bringing brand ambassadors on board in order to scale as quickly as possible.

Ultimately, the founders have their eyes on international expansion.

Source: supplied.

A social media revolution?

This raise comes amid ongoing conversations around social media and the role the big tech companies play in society — and the timing has worked out well for Litt.

When Facebook banned news content last month, in response to the news media bargaining code, Litt saw an 83% increase in members signing up and a 72% increase in new businesses coming on board.

It also saw a 153% uptick in expressions of interest for its Birchal campaign, which was yet to go live at the time.

The platform now has more than 400 small businesses on board and 17,000 members — a number that has been growing 80% week-on-week since mid-February.

But Litt is not the only startup seizing this opportunity. The raise comes in the same week that Vinomofo co-founder Andre Eikmeier launched his own social media startup, Good Empire.

Users take part in TikTok-style challenges, designed to take action on a set of 17 “missions” aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They then share their videos across other social media and challenge others to take part.

Good Empire is also raising funds through a Birchal campaign, which is currently in the “expression of interest” stage.

Thompson believes we’re at something of a turning point. There’s ever-increasing demand for social media platforms that have good intentions at their heart; platforms that are giving back to the local community (and paying Australian taxes) and transparent in how they operate.

The COVID-19 pandemic is “waking a lot of people up”, Thompson says.

“A lot of people are starting to become a lot smarter.”

That’s not to say he expects Australian-made platforms to take off overnight.

“We’re not silly, we know everyone isn’t just going to stop using Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook,” he says.

“But we want Litt to be another alternative that actually helps.”


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