Pre-launch Melbourne startup Foxley secures more than $700,000 in seed funding

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A Melbourne-based website design platform has secured more than $700,000 in seed funding before it has even launched.

Foxley aims to a be a universal system to produce “badass” business websites, enabling users to design and build online businesses for a monthly subscription fee.

Foxley founder Bianca Board says she decided to approach investors early on in order to have adequate funding to help build the perfect platform.

The capital injection comes from a range of sophisticated investors and was facilitated by Tauro Caital Partners, who produced a 107-page memorandum that was sent out to high net-worth individuals.

Board says the market is ready for a platform like Foxley, which will provide knowledge, tools, motivation and support for designers in building successful business websites.

“The timing is perfect now and we wanted to get it to market quicker,” Board tells StartupSmart.

“People are getting fed up and small businesses are failing at generating new business and keeping up with technology.

“So we thought we really needed to strike now.”

She says having Tauro on board early on helped to establish a team of powerful investors including Chris Riquier, Chris Pattas and James O’Donnell, bringing together digital experience from brands like MYOB, Aussie Home Loans and TNS.

“There were so many different opinions and advice being thrown our way in all these interviews and meetings – Tauro acted as a filter for that,” Board says.

Building the prototype

In order to attract this very early-stage capital, Board says it was crucial to establish a working prototype and some interest in the market.

“We spent a few months developing a really detailed model and go to market strategy,” she says.

“Do as much as you can to have something you can walk people through, that they can touch and feel.”

The startup already has 500 users selected to test a beta version and 2000 other hopefuls on a waitlist.

This helped to ensure potential investors that users will jump on board as soon as Foxley launches.

“A lot of founders are afraid of rejection – the fear of people not liking their product,” Board says.

But she says this fear needs to be addressed before money is wasted developing the perfect product that no-one wants to use.

The Foxley offering will be rolled out in three distinct stages, with a beta business builder platform expected in October, an AI and marketing platform slated for March next year and finally a designed marketplace later in July.

The pitch

When actually pitching to the high-profile investors, the Melbourne-based founder says it was crucial that she had a deep knowledge of the business, the financial model, roadmap, marketing strategy and growth forecast.

“When it came time to pitch to investors we knew all the details inside out,” Board says.

“Don’t skip the detail and the planning.”

But most of all, the ability to raise funding for a pre-launch ventures comes down to the people behind it.

“When I asked our investors a few weeks after why they invested in us, it came down to my partner and I and our passion,” Board says.

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Dinushi Dias is a journalist at StartupSmart and multimedia content producer. When she’s out of the office, she works on social projects with her We Love It Productions family and buddying filmmakers.
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  • bezbox

    With a starting price point of $97 USD per month, it will be interesting to see how many designers actually fork out the money when it comes time to pay. 500 users on a free platform can turn into almost none when you start charging. I think the investors may well rue stumping up $700,000 in this idea. Fingers crossed it works out!

    • Boyd

      $97 p/m is quite reasonable. If you consider a website is probably going to have a refresh- rebuild every 4 years anyway, and really, you wouldn’t expect much change from $4-5k, that works out as a pay as you go less impact on cash flow model.
      I can see how their projections suggest if they hit 5,000 users they could also have 100,000 users. Whether it is scalable as pure SaaS or whether it requires human consulting I don’t know.
      I personally believe that within 5 years a website build will be a simple click drag plug play model and creation won’t have much intellectual value ascribed for most builds. They’re mostly forumalaic now anyway (Large Typography, Hero Images, Background Videos, Semi-Flat Design, Hamburger Menu, Giant Product Images, Video and Picture functions and some with blog ability) When I consider what I can get for $500 through Fiverr…..
      I hope this becomes a raging winner and wish them well, our industry needs successes