Area360 snags $5.5 million from US investors to launch Seattle growth plans
By Suze Metherell
Sept. 7 (BusinessDesk) - Area 360, the Seattle-based firm that owns the Wellington-founded STQRY app, has snagged $5.5 million from US venture capitalists Madrona Venture Group.
Madrona led the financing round for Area 360, which will use the cash to fund its expansion, as the company shifts its headquarters to Seattle from Wellington, and chases growth for its mobile location technology platforms. The company has made a number of Seattle-based hires, including appointing Dave Martin, former general manager of OnlineShoes.com, as its head of operations and Nathan J. Peterson, who worked at T-Mobile US, as head of marketing to join its vice-president of global sales Jennifer Smith.
"We weren't actually looking for funding, and we just struck this amazing partnership with Madrona Venture Capital - it was a really good match and great timing," co-founder Ezel Kokcu said. "That took us all up about three months."
The Seattle-based venture capitalist launched in 1995 and sources investors and offers advice for tech-based startups. Its history includes Amazon, classmates.com and cheezburger.
"They primarily fund Seattle-based companies, so very not Silicon Valley based VCs, but because our headquarters was in Seattle - which was the first city we start selling to in the United States - it just made sense," Kokcu said.
Area 360’s products are built for large and frequently visited locations such as airports, hospitals and museums, enabling non-technical managers to easily create and give visitors more information based on location data, like GPS or wifi. The apps are now able to give "proximity-based content delivery" down to one-to-three metres, which it claims is the tightest correlation of any beacon/location-aware platform on the market.
Previously Area 360 and STQRY have attracted funding from Gareth Morgan, Dion Mortenson, Alan Gourdie and Sven Baker, as well as the government's start up funder Callaghan Innovation, NZTE, Grow Wellington and the ICE Angels.
(BusinessDesk receives funding from Callaghan Innovation to assist coverage of the commercialisation of innovation)