Pre-Series-A technology start-up Sinorbis, which assists Australian companies and marketing agencies to engage Chinese digital customers, has closed an oversubscribed $2.3 million bridging round, bringing its total capital raise to $3.9 m to date.
In a press release announcing the raise, co-founder and CEO Nicholas Chu explained that Australian companies have ‘traditionally struggled’ to market their goods to Chinese digital consumers, relying on intermediaries such as local agencies and ‘Daigou’ agents in Australia. He added that much of the digital marketing spend by these companies is “misdirected or simply lost in translation” and that his company’s in-development digital marketing platform will enable companies and marketing agencies to ‘better target this spend’
Chu told Dynamic Business that funding from the bridging round will be used to commercialise the company’s platform, refine its customer acquisition model and develop the future versions of its cloud-based software to “allow Australian companies and their marketing agencies to directly market to Chinese digital consumers, much like they’re already able to do in the West”.
The round was led by the team behind Executive Channel Holdings (ECH), which Chu praised: “they bring a wealth of knowledge in the media and advertising space that will help us to scale significantly in the coming years”. The round also saw Sinorbis onboard Bruce Fink (Co-founder and executive chair of ECH, principal of Bickham Court Group), Charles Parry-Okeden (Global CEO of ECH), Chris Winterburn (Managing Director of Media i) and Ian Gardiner (Head of Startup Ecosystem at Amazon Web services).
“We can rely on these highly-respected thought leaders to provide us with expertise in many areas – understanding of a specific industry, technology, capital raising, entrepreneurship and more,” Chu said.
The company, which also has a consulting arm, previously raised seed capital, 18 months ago. It used that funding to open its headquarters in Sydney, along with offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Colombo, and develop the first version of its platform, which Chu promised will be launched “very soon”.
Chu said that since Sinorbis launched in 2016, its revenue has grown 550% YoY and it has signed directly with 15 clients (“and much more indirectly”) across a broad range of Industries – namely, Higher Education (including UNSW, UTS, UTAS), Consumer Goods (A’Kin, Bridestow, Waterpick), Services (REA, Cornerstone On Demand) and Tourism (Anantara Hotel Chain).
He advised other start-up founders looking to raise capital that “just going after the money” without considering who an investor is, and what else they can offer, is “a mistake”. He continued, “My advice is to pick the right investors for the business, depending on its level of maturity. You’re giving away a part of your company so you really need to be careful about who you ask for money. For Sinorbis, we paid specific attention to have a strong alignment between our potential investors and our strategy and made sure they could actually help us to develop our business.”