Well-Connected PoweredLocal adds big backers in $500,000 raise

PoweredLocal CEO Michael Jankie wanted more 'outside smarts'

PoweredLocal CEO Michael Jankie talks startup investments

This article originally appeared in The Australian

Melbourne-based social media intelligence start-up Powered­Local has closed a $500,000 raise, adding some big names to its list of backers, including Salta Group’s David Tarascio and Netspace founder Stuart Marburg, as well as lead investors Rimon Investments.

Mr Tarascio is the son of property magnate and BRW rich lister Sam Tarascio and Mr Marburg appeared on the BRW young rich list in 2013, having founded and then sold Netspace to iiNet for $40 million in 2010.

Rimon Investments, which led the raise, is investing in PoweredLocal for the first time. Rimon’s start-up investments, focused on Melbourne, are now being spearheaded by Dimension Data’s Steve Nola.

Other first-time investors include Avalanche Technology Group boss Peter Cameron, who founded AVG Antivirus, and prolific angel investor Adrian Stone, founder of AngelCube.

David Engel, general manager of Doshii, has also participated. Doshii is a payments start-up backed by Westpac’s Reinventure arm.

PoweredLocal has received a follow-on investment from Adam Clarke, former managing director of Open Table.

The start-up’s CEO, Michael Jankie, told The Australian the funds would be used to accelerate the company’s growth, and said it was already profitable.

“We could’ve funded the new stage of the business through our existing revenue” Mr Jankie said. “What we wanted was a group of smart, well-connected supporters that understood our business and could lend their expertise to prepare us for explosive growth. That’s what we’ve got.

“For me and my co-founder Gary (Tramer) it was a bit strange, we actually said as founders it’s lonely at the top, and we wanted more outside smarts. ”

Mr Jankie said his business model had expanded somewhat from being a WiFi provider for cafes and other bricks and mortar businesses to also providing data analysis and word-of-mouth referrals for businesses.

“The real opportunity here is not 100,000 customers paying 50 bucks a month, but we think there’s much more to it,” Mr Jankie said.

By David Swan