The team at Techboard are very pleased to bring you this article by Guest Blogger Paul Towers, the founder of one of Techboard’s media distribution partners, Startup Soda.
Australia has a love affair with marketplace startups. We were one of the first countries to see significant adoption of platforms such as eBay and have had our fair share of home-grown success, with the likes of Freelancer, AirTasker and DesignCrowd all gaining mainstream appeal. It is only natural then that Australian entrepreneurs and founders continue to discover new opportunities ripe for disruption using this model.
In this post we focus on seven Australian marketplace based startups that have raised funding in 2016. This ranges from early stage startups still seeking product market fit, to those have raised well into six figures from some of Australia’s top ranked VC’s.
Yabble is an online marketplace where parents can find and book out of school activities for kids and where activity providers can be discovered and fill their classes. The company was founded by Anna Powell and Dan Pickering and was successfully accepted into the RAC Seedspark program in 2015.
Currently Yabble is focused on gaining traction in their local market of Perth. The company does however have aspirations to quickly expand across Australia. In addition to providing a marketplace to discover and book new activities for their children, Yabble provides a backend management system for businesses on the platform. This provides an ongoing incentive for the businesses to remain active and to continue to advertise the programs that they provide.
Yabble were winners of the RAC Seedspark Program and also raised further funding in 2016 when they were accepted into the Vocus Upstart Accelerator.
TheRight.Fit bills itself as the very best place to find Creative Talent. The company was launched in late 2015 by Taryn Williams and Aurelien Labonne and has signed up more than 1,000 brands and agencies to the platform. This includes national and international brands such as Ogilvy, Channel 10, Universal Music and General Plants.
Taryn Williams brings a wealth of experience with a deep knowledge of the industry. Taryn is a former model herself and then went on to found WINK models back in 2007. It was during this time that she found the ability for brands and agencies to quickly find and secure talent as an area ripe for disruption.
In August 2016 TheRight.Fit announced that they had closed a $750,000 seed round with AirTree Ventures.
Snappr is an online marketplace that state they are “here to change the world of photography”. The platform aims to instantly connect consumers with professional photographers for any occasion. The company was launched in early 2016 by Matt Schiller and Ed Kearney, both experienced entrepreneurs who had previously bootstrapped their earlier company, GownTown, to considerable success.
Since launching, the platform has gained significant initial traction with more than 700 photographers applying to join the site. Snappr does however have a strict quality control process and has only admitted around 10% of all applicants to the site and aim to bring on new photographers only when demand requires it.
After emerging out of the beta phase the company managed to raise $500,000 in seed funding, which was more than their initial goal of $200,000.
Prevyou is an online platform where innovative companies can connect with the most talented young minds of Australia in a quick, easy and more meaningful way. Prevyou not only match businesses with the perfect student for their roles, but they use that information to provide practical upskilling to ensure these candidates can hit the ground running. Overall, the company aims to bridge the gap to the professional world, by creating job ready graduates.
The company has been accepted into the Vocus Upstart Accelerator program which commenced on 1 August 2016. Over a three month period the company will continue to build out their business and aim to go from initial pilot to a startup with traction and the potential to raise further funding.
To date the company has raised $40,000 as part of the accelerator program in 2016.
Sprout Kitchen is a Melbourne-based startup that allows businesses to rent out flexible kitchen space. The company was founded by James Jordan after pivoting from another startup idea he had at the time called Danny Burrito, which was to be an on-demand delivery startup.
It was during this time that he found that Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights were the only times during the week that really made money in the restaurant industry. As a result he set out to find a solution that would allow him to set up his food delivery service to only operate on during this time. In doing so he was required to rent out kitchen space from catering companies and thus arrived at the idea for a platform to connect these two groups.
Since launching Sprout Kitchen the company was accepted into the Slingshot Simplot Ignite Foodtech Accelerator Program where they received $30,000 in funding.
GetFoodi is an online marketplace co-founded by University of Technology Students Sia Sajjadi, Adam Love and Johnson Su. GetFoodi aims to connect boutique bakeries with food lovers by streamlining the point of sale through one website.
The team initially came up with the idea for GetFoodi after seeing the explosion of bakeries, cafes and restaurants that were showcasing their products on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. On these channels there was no way for the consumer to quickly purchase the product, and boutique bakers and store owners may not have the time or resources to launch a full blown e-commerce store.
GetFoodi was launched out of the UTS Hatchery program and received a pre-seed investment of $150,000 early in 2016.
Therapair is an on-demand marketplace for massage therapists. The company was launched by Danielle McFarland and Sheree Evans who wanted to create something that was more than just an online directory of therapists. To stand out from the crowd and to give consumers confidence in the platform Therapair takes professional photos and videos of each of its therapists to create a visual representation of the look, feel and type of service offered.
In addition to connecting consumers with massage therapists, the platform also provides all of the backend scheduling and management tools required by the business owner. The company also take an alternative approach to monetisation compared to most other marketplaces. Instead of taking a percentage of each and every booking, Therapair takes 20% from the initial booking and then $5 for every subsequent appointment that follows.
Therapair currently works out of BlueChilli on the Gold Coast and received an initial investment of $25,000 after launching in July this year.
Paul Towers is a 3 x Entrepreneur with a passion for supporting the Australian startup ecosystem. He currently runs Startup Soda, the popular daily newsletter that surfaces the best news, blog posts and tactical resources from Australian startups, Founders and VC’s.