Hany Pham

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Breezedocs receives $250,000 in Commercialisation Australia funding

3:29AM | Thursday, 13 March

Automated document processing start-up Breezedocs has locked in a $250,000 grant from Commercialisation Australia, the federal government’s venture capital organisation.   The start-up has been developing the product for two years. They launched a beta round as an entity called OneTouch and launched to the market in August 2012.   Co-founder and managing director Hany Pham told StartupSmart they waited until they were sure they met all the criteria before applying.   “Commercialisation Australia is great but it’s a tricky little window you need to be in, post research and development but pre-revenue,” Pham says, adding while they’re making revenue now they had minimal revenue when they applied.   “As an enterprise start-up, you launch quietly and if that doesn’t work as great as you hoped you launch again with the feedback from the users.”   In a statement, Commercialisation Australia chief executive Doron Ben-Meir said their support of Breezedocs went beyond the invested funds.   “In addition to grant funding, Commercialisation Australia provides companies such as Breezedocs with access to our expert network of successful entrepreneurs, domain experts, professional investors and strategic corporates which helps them get to where they need to be faster.”   The funds will go towards building the engineering team and expanding their Australian operations and customer network.   Breezedocs intends to launch an office in the United States in late 2014 and have already begun working with clients.   “We’re already getting started there so we’re up late at night doing phone calls for the US time zone and why we always sign off our emails with the US number,” Pham says.   This is the start-ups second funding round, after raising $250,000 in 2013 private equity investors including Angelcube accelerator co-founder Adrian Stone and economist Nicholas Gruen.

Melbourne start-up OneTouch heads to Silicon Valley with $150k in its back pocket

4:00PM | Tuesday, 16 April

Melbourne start-up OneTouch, which offers technology that allows businesses to scan and process documents such as pay slips and tax returns, has kicked off a tour of Silicon Valley for investors and customers after snaring $150,000 in funding.   The business secured the cash from Adrian Stone, founder of tech incubator AngelCube, which recently won StartupSmart’s Best Start-up Investor award, and high-profile economist Nicholas Gruen, who has previously backed Aussie start-ups Kaggle and BiNu.   Fresh from the funding injection, OneTouch, founded in 2011 by Hany Pham and John Schagen (pictured below), is currently traversing California’s tech scene in the hope of striking further partnerships to help boost the business.   OneTouch is in the US as part of the Advance Innovation program, which picked 25 Australian start-ups for the sought-after Silicon Valley tour last month.   The business has developed B2B-focused software that automatically reads and captures information from any document, such as pay slips, tax returns and receipts.   Pham, who has a team of developers in Melbourne and offshore, tells StartupSmart the idea originates from his background as a mortgage broker, where he had to deal with a large volume of documents.   “We wanted to create software that could read and process these documents – it’s now possibly a bigger deal than we first thought,” he says from San Francisco.   Above: Hany Pham and John Schagen.   “The feedback (in the US) has been that it’s solving a real problem in managing documents. I don’t need to go too much into the problem because people understand it.”   “This kind of technology is very popular right now, as is enterprise software.”   Pham says he has put $200,000 of his own money into the business in order to develop and iterate the technology. He has since used his connections to strike a deal with Connective, the second largest mortgage aggregator in Australia, which linked OneTouch to more than 1600 brokers.   “We’ll look to target any industry that involves a lot of documents – it’s still early days,” he says. “We’re toying with a subscription model and a cost-per-page model. It will depend on the feedback.”   Pham says the strength of his personal relationships with Stone and Gruen opened the doorway to the $150,000 investment.   “Adrian is very free and willing to help start-ups and after we had evidence of traction, which was people interested in it, he agreed to back us,” he says.   “Nick expressed an interest right away. I didn’t show him a PowerPoint slide – I guess he’s mainly investing in me and John.”   “With B2B enterprise software, there’s a clear revenue model – it’s not like launching a rocket and hoping for the best.”   “It’s clear who our customer is and we demonstrated to Nick that we are the right guys to back. I’ve got a strong sales background and John has a strong software background.”   “We’ve got a reasonable runway with capital now. I will probably want to raise a series A here in Silicon Valley, but it’s more important to build networks for customers. We want to build a tailored model for the US market.”

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