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Carosa puts Melbourne start-up on the Agenda

Monday, 21 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond

Melbourne-based online start-up TheAgendaDaily.com says it will focus on expanding its CRM strategy after receiving funds from Domenic Carosa’s Future Capital Development Fund.


Led by Blake Hutchison, TheAgendaDaily.com offers customers handpicked recommendations and curated private sales, with a focus on restaurants, nightlife, shopping, style and leisure.


Recommendations are reserved for new and unknown offerings in a local context, while private sales seek to deliver optimum engagement for local experiences.


TheAgendaDaily.com operates in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Following an investment from FDCF, it plans to hire more salespeople across the country.


FCDF executive chairman Domenic Carosa says Agenda is an attractive investment due to its high quality reviews, loyal and engaged members, and compelling offers of “phenomenal” value.


“We see this as the next and logical evolution in group-buying through coveted lifestyle offers to customers – it’s win-win for members, suppliers and for Agenda,” Carosa says.


FCDF typically invests in fast-growing internet, mobile and technology companies, which have already attracted customers and are generating transactional revenue.


It invests anything from a few hundred thousand dollars to a million, usually taking a significant minority stake. In addition to capital, FCDF offers assistance to aid each company’s expansion.


“With start-ups these days, you can do a lot with a quarter of a million dollars or half a million dollars,” Carosa says.


“My view is that if you spend a little bit of money, you can get something up and running, prove the model and then go and raise the next round of capital.”


FCDF will not invest in a company unless it can be actively involved in providing strategic input, relationships and practical operational support.


As such, Agenda will relocate its headquarters to the FCDF Melbourne office, where it will join a host of other companies also belonging to the fund’s portfolio.


According to Andrew Fiori-Dea, chief executive of FCDF, the combination of content and commerce on the Agenda website represents a “significant opportunity”.


“Agenda has done a great job building a trusted relationship with members and we intend to assist and accelerate this through collaboration [and] ongoing innovation,” Fiori-Dea says.

Meanwhile, Hutchison says Agenda is “delighted” to have received an investment from FCDF, regarding it is an endorsement of the model’s potential.


“Ultimately, we’re about top places, top product and top experiences,” Hutchison says.


“We believe we have a model which offers great value to members and a superior opportunity for business owners and managers.”


“We will now focus on expanding Agenda in terms of content, experiences and services, aimed at deepening our relationship with members and suppliers.”