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Tauranga's SwipedOn raises $1 mln to accelerate growth after hitting $1 mln in sales

Thursday 25th January 2018

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Tauranga-based software firm SwipedOn has raised $1 million from institutional and angel investors as it seeks to speed up growth having hit $1 million of annual sales. 

The software-as-a-service company replaces paper visitor books with an iPad application, generating enough sales for organic growth over the four years without the need for a dedicated sales team, and it's now used in more than 2,000 cities worldwide. Chief executive and founder Hadleigh Ford said SwipedOn's organic growth has been with a positive cash flow, but since hitting the million-dollar sales mark and raising new funds, the investment in new staff will see that turn negative. 

"It's every arm of the business that we are shoring up and increasing spending on - largely sales and marketing, then HR across the board, and certainly developers are a scarcity as well," Ford told BusinessDesk.  "There's no point taking money if you're not going to spend it. We've bootstrapped the business, grown within our own means to a million of revenue and will look to expand it and accelerate with the capital injection."

A former ship's captain and harbour pilot, Ford came up with the idea to develop the app after coming across a tatty visitor's book on a multi-million dollar superyacht, and thought it could be done much better, but couldn't find an alternative. 

The offer was oversubscribed by $300,000 and filings to the Companies Office show the capital raise valued SwipedOn at $4.3 million, with shares sold at $3.07 apiece. Local angel investor group Enterprise Angels was the biggest backer, with Stephen Tindall-backed venture capital investor K1W1 and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund accounting for almost three-quarter of the raise. 

Ford said the company sought the funds through a private raise, which was a more appropriate avenue to fund a business-to-business product. 

Since raising the money SwipedOn has already hired five new staff, and employs more than 20 people with its headquarters in Tauranga. 

The bulk of SwipedOn's revenue comes from overseas with about three-quarters in the US and UK, followed by Australasia as the next largest source of sales, he said. 

Ford said the firm has aspirational growth targets and the team is "putting a lot of plans in the coming year to achieve that". The app has been used by more than five million visitors with millions expected in the coming year and targets small- and mid-sized businesses with a US$19 a month entry level product. 

(BusinessDesk)

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