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Tweaky.com scores $450,000 from industry heavyweights

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

99designs co-founder Mark Harbottle is among the group of investors that has sunk almost half a million dollars into Tweaky.com, a marketplace dedicated to minor website customisations.


Tweaky.com, which describes itself as the world’s first marketplace for minor website customisations or “tweaks”, was founded by tech entrepreneurs Ned Dwyer and Peter Murray.


Each tweak comes with a 100% money back guarantee and is performed by a marketplace of freelance web developers handpicked from around the world.


Tweaky was originally known as ThemePivot, which, under Dwyer’s direction, won a prize at Startup Weekend Melbourne last year.


Dwyer, who is a mentor for StartupSmart, used to run Native Digital, a digital creative marketing and product agency. However, he has stepped aside in order to focus on Tweaky.


“One of our partners has stepped up to the plate and taken on the agency, and has now bought into that business, which I’m really thankful for,” he says.


According to Dwyer, Tweaky has the potential to change the way people customise websites.


“Website owners are fed up paying upwards of $150 an hour to a local web developer or wading through quotes on freelance marketplaces for a better deal,” Dwyer says.


“Tweaky.com now provides website owners with a compelling, cost-effective alternative.”


The start-up has secured a $450,000 investment from 99designs co-founder Mark Harbottle, angel investor Leni Mayo, and the SitePoint Group.


The news comes as 99designs announces the launch of a new initiative called “99nonprofits”. Through this program, not-for-profit organisations around the world can apply to launch free contests on 99designs.com.


“I knew Leni Mayo for a while. I did a course at RMIT and Leni was the lecturer there. He became a bit of a mentor I guess,” Dwyer says.


“He was hanging out as a mentor at Startup Weekend Melbourne. At the end of the weekend, we won $5,000 and kept talking to Leni. We also started hanging out with Mark.”


Dwyer says while he and Murray initially approached a “whole heap” of investors about raising capital, they realised they were better off seeking funds from Mayo and Harbottle.


“We ended up finding these are the best guys to work with. They’ve done a lot of this stuff before… They’re the kings,” he says.


Dwyer says the funds will go towards “building out our development scene”, hiring staff and marketing.


According to Dwyer, the investors have taken a minority stake in Tweaky, and won’t necessarily be involved in the business on a day-to-day basis.


“Mark is on our board so we catch up and have conversations,” Dwyer says.


“He has given us great insight… He’s a great CEO and a great start-up founder, and we’re learning to understand his experiences as we hit little roadblocks along the way.”


According to Harbottle, Tweaky.com is building a “disruptive platform that has the potential to change the way we go about keeping our websites fresh and up to date”.


“It’s further proof that you don’t have to go to Silicon Valley to build great products that compete globally,” Harbottle said in a statement.