App developer gains $5m in US funding round
Congrats to StQry Inc – now Area360 – who have raised US venture funding. Terrific to see the acknowledgement they have given to the wider ecosystem including angel investors in their success to date.
Wellington startup Stqry (pronunced “story”) has closed an initial $5.5 million funding round and announced a name change as it expands off-shore.
Now named Area360, the company’s software allows organisations such as museums, art galleries, airports and hospitals to engage with customers through geo-location technology – including beacons, GPS and WiFi – helping them to discover, connect and engage with what’s around them.
The startup was formed in 2012 by Chris Smith and Ezel Kokcu and now counts more than 400 customers worldwide – including Emirates, Te Papa, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
“We started AREA360 to give organisations the ability to enhance their customer experience by providing navigation as well as relevant information and unique opportunities along their path,” Smith said.
“Using beacon and other location data, our platform enables customers to create a broad portfolio of useful services.
“For example, airports can deliver navigation to and from gates, along with a stop at the nearest Starbucks, museums can bring to life that new piece of art by presenting a video on the artist’s inspiration, and an operations manager can track their most valuable assets in real time.”
The funding round was led by US technology venture group Madrona Venture Group and comes as they were expanding their Wellington office and opening their US headquarters in Seattle, Smith said.
Area360 had received support in New Zealand from advisors Gareth Morgan, Dion Mortensen, Alan Gourdie and Sven Baker, as well support from organisations including the Callaghan Innovation, NZTE, Grow Wellington, and the ICE Angels.
“The support from New Zealand’s startup community helped us to thrive and our customer response has been overwhelming,” Smith said.
“We look forward to continuing to grow our business in the US, New Zealand and the rest of the world.”
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) customer manager Mike Evans said the company was a great example of an ambitious New Zealand tech company growing internationally by entering new markets.
“Their partnership with Madrona is an important endorsement of their already considerable success.”