Kiwi start-up online survey research platform Stickybeak has raised $555,000 from investors it hopes will bring more than just money to the table.
The company has built a platform helping brands to conduct quantitative research through automated conversational style surveys on social media.
Co-founder David Brain, a former Asia-Pacific head for global PR firm Edelman, said the start-up wanted investors who would bring skills, expertise and contacts to grow the business.
“What we were after at this stage was smart money,” Brain said. “Stickybeak has been earning income from day one, we were really looking for people who could partner and help us get to the next stage.”
The list of investors who bought into the first round of funding, which valued the company at $3.55 million, includes Sacha Judd and Rowan Simpson from the Hoku Group who were early investors in TradeMe, Xero and Vend.
“They come with a huge degree of expertise in scaling up start-ups, and they have the sort of pockets that, if they felt interested, they could follow us to the next stage,” Brain said.
Other investors were welcomed for their wide networks of potential customers for Stickybeak. These include the founder of an Australian public relations firm Gabriel McDowell and the founders of Singapore-based consultancy firm Harrup Advisory.
Duncan and Niki Greive, the founder and chair of media start-up The Spinoff, are also on the list of new investors – Brain is a director on the board of The Spinoff - as is the managing director of Tasti foods, Josette Prince.
Stickybeak is pulling in capital as it chases a place in the research market which Brain said is worth US$64 billion, roughly 60 percent of this is quantitative research that could theoretically be suited to Stickybeak’s product.
“It is big. Bigger than we could address, 30-to-40 billion dollars,” he said.
The $555,000 will be used to continue development of the technology platform and add two full-time employees to the team of four founders.
It has also allowed Brain to step back into a founder role, with the appointment of Kerryanne Nelson (pictured left) as Stickybeak's new general manager.
The team behind the research start-up includes the co-founder of Parkable, Brody Nelson, and David Talbot, a pollster for UMR.
Brain been has more often on the side of dishing out funding, rather than asking for it. But he said now is a good time to be seeking capital.
“There are people around who don’t want to leave their money in the bank and think traditional equities are probably a bit toppy,” he told BusinessDesk. “So, there is a mood from high net worth individuals and institutions that they want to back New Zealand companies.”
Even KiwiSaver fund managers are setting aside money for private equity investments.
Kiwi Invest recently committed $54 million from its Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme to a venture capital fund operated by Movac, and Pathfinder Asset Management was an early investor in Rua Bioscience through its KiwiSaver fund.