Australian start up gets funding from backers of Facebook and Skype

A six-month-old Sydney-based web company that took just a month to build has become the latest investment for one of the earliest backers of Facebook and Skype.

Spreets creates discount offers for a range of products and markets them over the internet. Now it has received $2 million from Europe-based technology investor Klaus Hommels, who with business partner Oliver Jung has emerged as one of the world’s biggest backers of online retailing.

Spreets’ co-founder and chief executive officer Dean McEvoy said his company’s rapid rise to prominence in the Australian web and online shopping communities since its launch last December is what attracted the attention of Hommels and Jung.

“They already knew that the space is extremely valuable, and the winners in the market are those that run quickly, and they saw us doing that and on minimal resources,” McEvoy said.

Spreets’ business model is to negotiate deals with companies to sell their products and services at discounted rates to bulk buyers, and then advertises the deals to its users. Should enough users opt for the deal, it goes ahead. Users are welcome to recruit other people to the service in order to get enough people to make the deals happen.

The company has used the money to open new offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

Spreets has also signed an agreement to promote its discount deals through brandsExclusive, an invitation-only Australian online shopping club with more than 350,000 members. Hommels and Jung are both investors in brandsExclusive.

Early companies to use the Spreets service include the restaurant chain Wagamama, which is offering a $20 meal deal to Spreets members for only $7.

Online shopping appears to be in vogue again with investors, with the US-based online group buying site Groupon raising US$135 million earlier this year at a valuation of US$1.3 billion.

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