Startup Funding for Handkrafted

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QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Startup Fund invests in custom made craftsmanship platform, Handkrafted.

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia which is Australia’s only creative incubator and investment fund has announced today investment into Handkrafted, which marks the fourth investment for its Startup Fund – and the first in the craft artisan marketplace.

“Handkrafted has a strong founder and unique service offering,” said QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) CEO, Anna Rooke. “There is a clearly growing demand for artisan handmade goods through the maker movement. The company is a good fit with our fund’s mandate to invest in high-potential businesses in the creative industries.”

“Handkrafted Founder, Fred Kimel has fantastic expertise in building online products, designing a great user experience and also has a genuine passion for handmade goods,” said Ms Rooke “We believe that Handkrafted has the potential to be internationally recognised in the $26 billion bespoke furniture market, as the go-to-place for commissioning handmade goods such as furniture, leatherwork, metalwork, woodwork and more.”

“Handkrafted is an online marketplace that connects skilled craftspeople and artisans with customers who would rather buy a custom-made item than a mass-produced one,” says Handkrafted Founder and CEO, Fred Kimel. “I am passionate about the maker movement and it became clear to me that there is a growing demand for quality hand-made goods, but until now no good way of connecting with makers. The Handkrafted website launched in early 2014 and has already received hundreds of client briefs. Our business model is to take a small transaction margin on all orders placed through the site and also provide premium subscription services to makers. We are also already seeing early adoption from interior designers and architects who are looking for special or statement pieces for their retail and commercial client projects.”

Handkrafted first came to the attention of CEA when Fred showcased the business at Creative3 Pitch, an investment forum for startup companies which is curated and hosted by CEA. “Since pitching I’ve received investment from CEA’s Startup Fund and other investors,” said Mr Kimel. “The pitching process helped to give my business exposure to the investment community and the feedback I received as part of the process was really valuable. It was also a great introduction to CEA’s Startup Fund.”

“I saw QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Startup Fund as a great fit for investment in Handkrafted as it is the only fund in Australia focused on the creative industries,” said Mr Kimel. “Having CEA involved in the business will hopefully help to open doors and bring additional credibility to the Handkrafted brand.”

Along with the investment from CEA, Handkrafted has also secured $100,000 investment from Sydney Seed Fund and additional investment from a number of angel investors. Most of the money raised from the current round will go towards extending the website’s functionality, raising brand awareness and bringing on new makers.

“I have ten years’ experience in systems design and product management, most recently as a senior product manager at Macquarie Bank with responsibility for their online business banking,” said Mr Kimel. “I decided to leave the corporate world because I felt this was great opportunity to build a business that leverages and supports a growing global community of independent makers who are committed to producing high-quality, sustainably made and personalised products that are made to last. People are becoming much more discerning about the items they buy; they want to know how things are made, by whom, under what working conditions and where and how the raw materials were sourced.”

Handkrafted is QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s fourth investment, bringing the total amount invested by CEA in Australian creative companies to around $350,000. “We expect to invest in another three to four startups between now and the end of 2015,” says Ms Rooke.
The CEA Startup Fund invests between $25,000 and $150,000 in businesses with high-growth potential in the creative industries in Australia. The fund aims to invest in emerging and startup businesses with significant growth opportunities to tackle large global markets and potential to attract other investors.

If you have a high-potential for-profit company in the creative industries and are seeking investment you can contact QUT Creative Enterprise Australia on 07 3337 7801.

To find out more about Handkrafted visit www.Handkrafted.com.

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