Norbit, a Brisbane-based marketing technology startup, has recently announced raising $400 thousand in seed funding. Funding is courtesy of Premium Funding’s Hayward Family and McVay Real Estate’s Sam McVay.
Norbit was launched in 2015 by Gerry Mezzina after building it as a product within Follow Digital Agency, where he is general manager. The app was developed in order to address the need for retailers to generate authentic customer loyalty.
“We had developed, tested and had a scalable business model, which made raising seed funding much simpler,” Mezzina says, explaining the importance of having “products in place” and metric growth to show investors when looking for financing.
The app leverages many aspects of the customer experience in brick and mortar stores in a way that combines engagement and gamification. Norbit lets retail companies reward, attract, and retain customers from the platform.
“We worked with shopping centers for five years and saw the foot traffic decreasing,” Mezzina said, noting he was observing more and more people “shopping online rather than going into a shopping center.”
The startup takes into account consumer’s great interest in reward programs, as 80% of Australian consumers are more likely to buy from a company whose program they are participating in.
“We’re really lucky to have a great relationship with early Norbit customers, who have been open to rolling out the technology in its early stages and working with us to improve product-market fit,” he said.
Mezzina believes the most crucial aspect of getting funding “wasn’t the capital – it was funding the right partners.” He says that startups should look into strategic investors that can help down the road, rather than being focused solely on capital injections.
“Finding investors who believe in us, who value our approach to business and who bring so much more than just a capital injection validates what our team has been working so hard for, and we’re excited for the next phase,” said Mezzina.
The white-labeled app is in use in eight Queensland shopping centers and has over 30,000 users. As a result of the seed funding, these current users will gain access to a “whole suite of new features,” according to Mezzina. This may even eventually involve the use of artificial intelligence which will display retail recommendations based on algorithmic-learning.
The app is currently based only in Queensland, but the company plans to roll out the app to New Zealand and the rest of Australia, with potential global expansion down the line.
Ross Hayward is the director and owner of Premium Funding.
“I’ve worked closely with Gerry over the past few years and have been following their progress. When Gerry mentioned to me he was looking to raise funds to ramp up expansion, it was a no-brainer,” Hayward said.
Sam McVay is the managing director at McVay Real Estate.
The funding for Norbit will be used in the development of many new features for the application. It will also allow the company to expand beyond Queensland.