Brisbane artificial intelligence startup Tribu, which aids IT helpdesks and managed service providers (MSP) automate assistance requests, has raised $1.25 million from Brisbane Angels and the California syndicate founded by US investor Jason Calacanis.
Tribu is using machine learning and AI to help IT support companies deal with what the industry calls “level 1” calls for assistance – think “my computer’s not working/I can’t connect to the printer”, triaging the seriousness of the problems and solving them using AI, freeing up engineers to tackle more complex issues.
The Queensland startup was one of seven companies selected to take part in the San Francisco-based Launch business accelerator program founded by Jason Calacanis, and angel investor Rob Ness and his syndicate.
Tribu took part in the 13-week Launch program remotely and US investors subsequently chipped in US$843,000 (A$1.1m) towards the raise with the Brisbane Angels investing A$152,000 (US$117,000) for a total of more than A$1.25m.
Keeping it local
Co-founder Lucas Meadowcroft said Brisbane Angels is the first local investment group in Australia to seed fund over $150,000 into the company and it was a point of pride to because he wants to keep Tribu as a local company even has it expands into the US.
“What attracted us to Brisbane Angels was that they support local entrepreneurial business, whilst also protecting and growing Australian industry,” he said.
With more than 15 years of experience in IT support services, Meadowcroft said he built Tribu’s AI-based support technology to help service desks improve their customer service.
“There has always been a struggle to maintain amazing customer service from the typical ‘IT guy’ and the last thing they want to do is handle basic customer support requests,” he said.
“To solve these issues we have developed the world’s first customer facing program which allows clients to talk directly with their IT Support (MSP) company, via Microsoft Teams, which includes automation for quick responses and solving their specific IT concern.”
The Brisbane Angels investment will help the startup hire local talent and maintain its Australian base.
“What we have created is absolutely critical for the Brisbane ecosystem. I want to be part of bridging the gap between Australia and the US, and raising capital here in Brisbane has allowed that to happen. This is just the beginning,” he said.
Meadowcroft flagged that beyond the seed round, Brisbane Angels flagged the potential for another major investment around 18 months down the track for Tribu.