A version of this article was first published in the National Business Review NZ by journalist Campbell Gibson.
IAN DUNBAR: VideoSign will launch in the US in late 2017
Auckland-based software start-up VideoSign has completed a $1.5 million capital raise, bringing on a South African financial services firm as a 10% shareholder.
VideoSign develops video business meeting software which allows users to create, edit and sign digital documents. Its target industries are financial advice, insurance, accounting, banking and property.
VideoSign was founded by Craig Meek, also the co-founder of Virtual Spectator, the company that pioneered the real-time 3D graphics of the America’s Cup regattas in 2000 and 2003.
Chief executive Ian Dunbar says the South African firm – Moonstone Information Refinery – contributed just over half of the $1.5 million funding round, with existing shareholders providing the rest.
Moonstone is a customer of VideoSign but it will also act as a distributor in South Africa, which will make it easier to expand in the country because Moonstone has 30,000 clients, Mr Dunbar says. He says a 5% uptake in two to three years through a distribution channel would be a good result.
Mr Dunbar says the capital will be used for its global aspirations, having just launched in the UK and South Africa. It will sustain the company until a larger raise mid 2017 – about $5 million – before the company takes on the US market.
The company has raised about $4.5 million since it was founded in 2013, Mr Dunbar says.
VideoSign’s four main markets are New Zealand, Australia, the UK and South Africa.
Mr Dunbar says those four countries have similar legal frameworks and regulations, which made it easier to break into them.
Mr Meek, who is VideoSign’s largest shareholder with 20%, is the company’s director of design but Mr Dunbar says the founder hasn’t taken a back seat.
The first million
VideoSign has 18 employees and is targeting $1 million annualised revenue in the next six months. It isn’t profitable but hopes to achieve that in the next year, Mr Dunbar says.
About 60% of its resources are in New Zealand, with 40% in Australia and overseas, but Mr Dunbar says it’s the reverse for revenue.
VideoSign, which is hosted in the Oracle cloud, is able to integrate with other platforms because it has a well-developed and flexible API (application program interface), Mr Dunbar says. It has just completed integrating with a sixth external platform.
Platforms VideoSign tends to integrate with customer relationship management and financial planning platforms, including Sugar CRM, Iress, CCube and Midwinter.
Mr Dunbar says constantly adapting to other platforms is challenging but it also becomes a competitive advantage because the platforms become key distribution channels.
OUR VIEW: The VideoSign team will continue to challenge the way they engage and grow the business much as it continues to challenge the VideoSign user community to evolve the way they do business. It’s a mobile, digital centric world and we intend to be a partner that is on the cutting edge of creating change and building relationships along the way. Thanks to Campbell Gibson from NBR for the interview.