Raising Capital in a Post-COVID World
How a Founder in Perth, Australia, raised capital without chasing after investors with a pitch deck.
- A digitally connected word has changed how companies are raising capital
- With COVID here to stay start-ups are adapting to the new market conditions
- Real Revenue and runs on the board helped this Australian tech start-up raise capital
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, life has been anything but easy, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. According to a new report from Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable, 22% of SMB's in the US closed after COVID swept through.
According to the same report, 27% of businesses reduced their workforces. Yet, despite the setbacks, small businesses are starting to bounce back and feel hopeful for the future, especially those who changed their business model and adapted under pressure.
70% of B2C companies and 67% of B2B companies that grew changed their business model in some small way over the last 12 months. Some of the most popular changes include moving services online and targeting a different target market.
For start-ups, the experience was similar. While it seemed like the pandemic shut down all opportunities to raise capital, a small start-up based in Perth, Australia, experienced a very different story. It successfully raised money that set the stage for the next chapter of their business.
RosterElf is a cloud-based staff rostering platform with four core elements of functionality for small and medium businesses. These include managing staff availability, building and communicating rosters, tracking time and attendance, and payroll integration.
With the world more connected than ever RosterElf Founder Simon Ingleson found raising capital a smooth process
The complete staff scheduling software has seen significant growth over the past year, including expanding its business model and building strategic partnerships. To help raise capital, the start-up focused on attracting the right attention using proof of concept and good market communications.
Instead of chasing investors for money, Simon Ingleson, CEO of RosterElf, explains, "In the early days, we were bootstrapping as much as possible. Then, we started with small initial funding rounds to develop the business model and generate customer revenue."
The goal for RosterElf was always to continue doing what they do best. Ultimately performance would help them land press and attract the right investors. He explains, "You want the right people involved and guiding your business. If the investors don't understand your vision, they won't give you the necessary support."
When asked how we would recommend companies position themselves for discovery, he explained, "Focus on staying top of mind and keep everyone updated with what you're doing. If you do that and focus on your business, you'll be surprised with the power of networking and word of mouth."
Despite COVID-19, the economy in Australia has done exceptionally well. Interest rates are low, and stock markets are operating well above average. With interest rates low and inflation fears devaluing cash holdings, investors are looking for growth companies for their investments.
The following 6 to 12 months are likely to be some of the most accessible times to raise capital for the foreseeable future. Plus, with almost everything done online, investors don't need to meet with founders face to face, and investors from around the world can access deals anywhere.
As a result, Simon says he's in regular contact with people interested in investing or talking about opportunities with RosterElf worldwide. In addition to his approach to contacting investors, he also accredits his success in raising capital to three essential elements.
The first element is a product that's generating revenue. From the start, RosterElf has proven it can compete with the top companies in the workforce management space. And they made sure to show investors that they were hitting well above their weight.
The second element that helped was satisfied customers. Investors could read online reviews, do independent research, and see what users think. Having live, happy customers paying money to use the service helped secure funding.
The third element is strategic partnerships that support multiple business models. For example, at the time of the raise, RosterElf had just signed a partnership with ClubsNSW for a customized version of RosterElf. ClubsNSW represents around 1200 venues across Australia, which quickly opened up a large market.
Simon says, "I encourage anyone raising capital to think about different business models and revenue streams you can develop. Just keep in mind that you can't do it all at once. Instead, create a clear three to a five-year strategic plan with a few different options selected."
RosterElf, the magically simple software, is just getting started. Simon explained, "We've got an exciting journey ahead. We're hiring the right people to grow, we're expanding into new markets, and the ClubsNSW product has now launched. So, we've got a lot going on."
With the recent round of funding, RosterElf is focusing on executing and meeting its goals over the next two years. If they can hit those, the future of RosterElf is looking very promising.
RosterElf is a Magically Simple cloud software platform that handles all SME staff rostering tasks with ease. It takes care of everything from staff availability, rostering, shift swaps, clock-in-out and has payroll integration features including Xero, MYOB, and Sage.