Australian web 2.0 start-ups raise big capital

news, the Adelaide start-up spun out of Flinders University has elicited a $2 million angel investment round to steer international commercialisation of its user interface technology. Meanwhile, TechCrunch reports that Australian-based travel marketplace has also won $400,000 in seed funding for its ride-sharing service, which also collects transportation data.

Thereitis displays large collections of visual data in the form of icons and images in a 3-D array organised around axes of relevance, to leverage the human ability to detect objects of interest in clusters of related data. Using a patented three-dimensional compression algorithm to get rid of void space, Thereitis supports an array of four or more dimensions of information.

Thereitis CEO Guy Sewell explained in a statement that the core IP was based on ten years of academic research from a researcher at Flinders University. Sewell came across the concept while working in a commercial capacity in the media and being approached by Flinders University. “I thought the concept had the potential to scale globally, so quit my career and started on the commercialisation journey,” Sewell said.

The capital raise finishes off an extraordinary year for Thereitis, in which the start-up raised a small seed round at the beginning of 2011, won a Commercialisation Australia Proof of Concept Grant worth $250,000, acquired its first beta customers and won ‘Best Early Stage Company’ at Tech23, Sydney 2011. The company intends to continue maintaining its R&D team in Adelaide while developing its sales reach globally, with the US and UK markets being a priority, closely followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The press release announcing the capital raise stated that beta customer results have confirmed that consumers appreciate searches using Thereitis technology, are more engaged with products, and equate the experience to shopping in online brick-and-mortar stores.

Revealing aggressive growth plans with both business and consumer product offerings, Thereitis stated that it would be licensing its technology to ecommerce partners worldwide once the beta period ends in July 2012. The start-up plans to reach these partners with direct sales at the enterprise level and a self-service platform for smaller operators, to allow low touch sales 24×7. The consumer product range will include a global shopping portal, and iOS and Android applications to manage users’ data, supported by the start-up’s Facebook application, ‘Spaces’.

Thereitis is one of several prominent Australian web 2.0 start-ups to have raised sizable capital of late. Jayride’s angel funding was led by Andrey Shirben, according to TechCrunch, one of the initial investors in digital marketing software company Kenshoo. Shirben revealed that the angel round was planned to be for $350,000 but became overbooked by 30–40 per cent after he sank his money into it. As part of its plans to develop its geographical transport data coverage, Jayride intends to raise another round led by a US venture capital firm within a year.

In comparison to other ride-sharing and carpooling start-ups, Jayride’s USP is to offer a single interface for locating all of a user’s transportation options, including commercial transport, and aggregating that data with the available ride-sharing options. Jayride was founded as a carpooling site by Ross Lin and Rod Bishop in 2008. The service presently supports Australia and New Zealand, with plans to enter the UK and Ireland market very soon.

Image credit: Fernando Mengoni, royalty free