Creative Enterprise Australia and Steve Baxter co-invest $500k in travel photography startup

Queensland-based travel photography startup Travelshoot has announced it has closed a $500,000 seed-funding round from QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) and Steve Baxter’s Transition Level Investments to scale its business and tackle the global tourism industry.

The on-demand photography service that connects travellers with professional photographers launched in 2015 when co-founder Sarah Pearce won the My Shark Tank Australia competition. Since then, Travelshoot has tripled its global network to over 75 destinations, and secured major partnership deals with global travel agencies.

CEO of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Anna Rooke, said Travelshoot is revolutionising the travel photography market by offering an on-demand marketplace to satisfy travellers’ growing appetite for an affordable and convenient photography service anywhere in the world.

“The investment will allow Traveshoot to scale its business in top markets and maximise global tourism opportunities, specifically with its existing travel partners, including Flight Centre Travel Group, Helloworld and RACQ,” Ms Rooke said.

Co-founders and brother-sister duo, Sarah Pearce and Tim Jones, agreed that identifying and attracting the right investors was crucial to their approach.

“We didn’t use a scattergun approach – we looked for investors who would not just invest in us financially, but were also prepared to add strategic value and mentor us through potential key business challenges,” said Ms Pearce.

“Our technology, along with our customised and tailored approach to acquiring customers through strategic travel partner really solidified the investment,” she said.

Mr Baxter’s interests aligned with this global growth strategy.

“We have a favourable view of the tourism space being one of Australia’s largest export markets and continues to grow,” said Mr Baxter.

“It is enviable to see two founders who have built the business to this point through their own personal funding, showing their adaptability and hustle to make things work even on tight budgets,” he said.

Both Baxter and CEA’s CEO, Anna Rooke, considered the founding team to be critical to their decision to invest.

“For CEA, we felt that Travelshoot had all the essentials on why we invest; a compelling value proposition, a clearly defined global customer market, strong evidence of customer traction, a clear execution plan and, above all else co-founders who have the flexibility and resilience to navigate the business to scale,” said Ms Rooke.

Baxter and CEA will add value beyond cash by offering the cofounders strategic guidance, knowledge of new markets, sharing networks and providing mentorship to help overcome the inevitable hurdles involved in a startup journey.

The CEA Startup Fund – established by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia in 2013 – is the first and only dedicated investment fund specialising in accelerating the growth of creative tech companies. The fund, which offers between $25,000 for pre-seed stage and $150,000 for early-stage businesses, is available for commercial investment in high-growth, scalable businesses in Australia.

About QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA)

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) is Australia’s only dedicated incubator, accelerator, coworking space and investment fund for creative tech startups.

Since 2008, CEA has established more than 50 startups, engaged with 4,000 entrepreneurs, supported over 500 creative industries businesses on site and raised over $60m in capital. CEA offers access to workspace, business mentoring, special events, networks, research expertise and capital to foster the growth of the creative industries in Australia.

For more information, visit: www.qutcea.com/startup-fund/

About Travelshoot

It is Australia’s first destination photography service and connects travellers with local photographers around the world to easily capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Travelshoot helps couples, families and friends to obtain high quality photos of their holiday or travel experience without stripping the holiday budget.

For more information, please visit www.travelshoot.com

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