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Sydney start-up Tapestry pockets $600,000 investment

Friday, 16 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Sydney-based tech start-up Tapestry, which has created a social media platform suitable for older people, has snagged $600,000 in a funding round led by Sydney Angels, having already won two grants from Commercialisation Australia and a national iAward.

 

Tapestry was founded in 2010 by Andrew Dowling who, after travelling to China to complete a Master’s degree, created a simple social media platform for older people.

 

Dowling says that he realised that China, like so many other countries, faces the challenge of an ageing population, along with surging popularity for social media.

 

As a result, Tapestry is building a platform that brings social media together into one, easy-to-use interface, enabling elderly people to stay connected to their families.

 

This means they don’t have to manage multiple accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

 

The platform was designed in close consultation with senior users, with the goal of creating a product that is easy to use by anyone, regardless of how familiar they are with technology.

 

Tapestry has now secured $600,000 in seed funding in a round led by the Sydney Angels group of investors. Other investors include David Greatorex, Su-Ming Wong and Brand Hoff.

 

Neil Bourne, of Nextec Strategic Capital, is also an investor and has joined the Tapestry board.

 

According to Dowling, Tapestry is “thrilled” to have won the trust and confidence of these investors.

 

“It’s very exciting to know we have the initial capital now to make our vision a reality,” Dowling says.

 

“The intention of the capital-raising is to demonstrate the product has legs here in Australia before looking at where we go next internationally.”

 

“Our goal now is to build the first commercially viable version of the product, prove out the business model and validate the opportunity… for us to seek next-stage growth capital.”

 

While the Tapestry platform was initially inspired by the generation gap in China, Dowling says most of the interest is coming from English-speaking markets.

 

As a result, the company will first expand into markets such as North America and the United Kingdom, he says.

 

This isn’t the first funding Tapestry has received – it has also won a Commercialisation Australia Skills and Knowledge grant, and a Commercialisation Australia Experienced Executive grant.

The first of these two grants was used to fund IP protection and market research. But the second is yet to be utilised.

 

“We actually haven’t tapped into that grant. We’re yet to find an experienced executive who is suited to rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty,” Dowling says.

 

Tapestry also received a 2012 national iAward for innovation.

 

According to Bourne, Tapestry has a “real shot” at changing how families interact across generations.

 

“We’re very excited about what Tapestry is creating,” Bourne said in a statement.

 

“It has the potential to not only improve the quality of life for many seniors, but challenge the way the aged care industry delivers its services.”

 

“At a time when the aged care industry is coming under increasing pressure owing to Australia’s ageing population, great start-up ideas like Tapestry are invaluable to families and society alike.”