5 Australian creative tech startups that raised in 2017
In 2017, a record $230 million of venture capital was poured into Australian startups according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse Report. Here are just a few examples of some standout pioneers in creative tech that successfully closed a round of funding last year.
Bluethumb is an online art marketplace that gives artists an opportunity to sell their work to a wider audience. This digital alternative to galleries gives the power back to the artist by providing an impartial platform. Photos and descriptions of the artwork are simply loaded to the site, leaving the business and marketing side of things to bluethumb.
The platform hit its first major success by winning Creative3 Pitch in 2015 — a pitching competition that highlights the best Australian creative tech startups. In the same year, bluethumb closed a seed round of $500,000 through private investors. In 2017, they successfully closed their Series A funding for a total of $1 million.
Cardly is a greeting card startup that converts your digital message into a physical card which is mailed within the same day of ordering. The company was started three years ago by business partners Patrick Gaskin and Tom Clift who wanted to shake up the $17 billion dollar greeting card industry. This overhaul included allowing the card artists to incorporate personalised styles and doodling to messages that mirror an individual’s handwriting.
Cardly features hundreds of designs from artists around the globe and has printing offices in Sydney, New York, and London. Cardly plans to expand their customer base to 17,000 and extend shipment to more European countries in 2018. To support these efforts, the team closed a seed round investment of $230,000 last year, steered by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA).
Glamcorner offers designer clothing at an affordable price by using a similar business model to tenants renting a property. Instead of purchasing expensive one off garments, customers can hire an item to wear and return it within three days.
Since inception, Glamcorner has grown to over 40 employees, a dress inventory of 3,000 and a turnover of $50 million in designer gear. In 2017, the rent-a-dress company reported a profit margin of $1 million — a feat seldom accomplished by startups within the first few years of operation.
Airtree Ventures was quick to invest in the company, leading a Series A funding of $4.2 million. Other backers include Sass & Bide cofounder, Sarah Jane-Clarke, and Silicon Valley based financing company, Partners for Growth.
Travelshoot is a destination photography service that connects travellers with local photographers around the world. The website acts as a global marketplace, allowing prospective customers to choose from a series of countries and packages. Travelshoot not only tackles one of Australia’s largest export markets but a globally popular industry: as of 2016 the travel and tourism industry has reached an international economic contribution of $9.03 trillion.
Behind the successful startup is brother-sister duo, Sarah Pearce, and Tim Jones. The enterprising siblings raised $700,000 in total for 2017 from investors including CEA and Steve Baxter’s Transition Level Investments.
Milanote is a cloud based note taking app aimed at visual thinkers. Touted as the ‘Evernote for Creatives’, Milanote provides an all-inclusive platform for creative distribution which can be used by either individuals or teams — and storing this information in one place. This simple drag and drop interface allows for real time collaboration between team members — providing the perfect platform for digital agencies.
In April 2017, Milanote achieved a seed round of $780,000, led by the former CFO of MYOB, Simon Martin.
Do you know other startups that have raised in 2017? Leave us a comment below!
CEA has launched Collider, an accelerator dedicated to creative tech. Applications are open now.
Author: Shelli Trung
Shelli is the Investment Fund Manager for QUT Creative Enterprise Australia and listed as one of the top 100 angel investors to follow. She sits on the board of creative tech companies including Cardly, bluethumb and GiggedIn, and is mentor for the Collider Accelerator.