Backed by media industry veterans John Croll and Michael Bade, Sydney-based startup Truescope is one step closer in its mission to becoming a global intelligence analytics player after securing $6.2 million in seed funding from venture capital firms Investible and Jelix Ventures.
Backed by AI and user-friendly technology, and without the burden of having to rely on legacy software and platforms, the business is accelerating its growth plans by launching in the US.
Truescope’s cloud-based SaaS integrated platform harnesses millions of social media posts to provide immediate insights to assist its customers with reputation management, competitive intelligence and crisis communications.
“I've been in the industry for all my working life and was CEO Media Monitors and Isentia, for 20 of those years, which was a fantastic run,” CEO John Croll tells Business News Australia.
“I love the industry - I thought there was so much more that still could be done, and after taking a year off I thought why not get back into it if I can get the right team of people together? That's why I spoke with co-founder Michael Bade first, because I really respected what Michael had done over the years, building Mediaportal and world-leading SaaS platforms.
“My motivation came from a love of the industry, working with the right people, and really understanding that there was so much more that could be done for a communications professional - if we started from the ground up with no legacy software, we could build something great for them.
Co-founders John Croll and Michael Bade, who founded the company in 2019, are experienced experts in the field and have built up 200 corporate and government clients in New Zealand, where the product first launched.
Expanding via a joint venture in Singapore last year, the business brought 50 clients onto the platform, securing $2 million in contracts in the space of just over one year. Croll admits it helped that the co-founders were familiar with the Singapore market.
After initially targeting specific industries in Singapore, the business will follow the same strategy for its US expansion. It also hopes to accelerate engineering and technology innovations in its SaaS platform’s pipeline.
“The US market is 20 times the size of the Australian market, and I've been working with some people over in the States for the last year, researching the market, making sure we've got the right people,” Croll says.
“We've started hiring our growth team in the US, who are moving over there to be present most of the time. We wanted to build a global platform from day one, so we've been testing the market, testing the platform, and ensuring we've got a great fit.
“It means a hell of a lot of focus, a hell of a lot of drive and getting the right people in the US to look after our clients.”
Croll is confident the technology platform will be well received in the US and believes it will allow the business to build at scale as it doesn’t require humans to interpret the data.
As brands are forced to constantly scan for threats to their reputation, by providing their customers with the ability to make quicker and better-informed decisions, the media intelligence business aims to help mitigate the risk of potential damage.
“The development team that we've got here in Australia - the productivity of those guys, and what they put push out as features every month is really exciting compared to working with legacy platforms that take so long to change,” Croll says.
“We are really happy with the platform, but now we've got some great investors, who put a lot of trust in us, so we've got to work hard and make sure we give them a great return.”
Although he has never had a funding relationship, Croll has known Ian Gardiner (partner) and the team behind Jelix Ventures for a long time.
“The Truescope business is unlike any business in the media intelligence space,” Andrea Gardiner, founder and CEO of Jelix Ventures, said.
“We are delighted to be partnering with John and Michael, and we look forward to following their success in their mission to better inform communications around the world.”
The co-founders were introduced to Investible through Tim Bennett at Prime Financial, who helped with the fundraising.
“With John and Michael’s vision, deeply relevant industry expertise, and innovative product spanning multiple media channels, we recognise the huge potential to support Truescope in its continued global expansion,” Daniel Veytsblit, investment director at Investible, said.
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