Autism support platform Rockmelon raises $3 million, customer communication startup Pendula raises $3.5 million

- February 19, 2019 2 MIN READ

Sydney startup Rockmelon, which has created an education platform to help autistic children and their parents, has raised $3 million from angel investors to expand internationally.

Developed in hand with clinicians and experts, the Rockmelon platform provides parents with a library of interactive learning modules designed to help them help their children.

The idea for the startup first came to executive chairman Alex Andre de la Porte after his son Beau was diagnosed with autism, and he realised there was a lack of digital tools available to help him.

“I wanted to improve the situation. Early intervention can be very expensive so we looked at how we could build a product that could democratise the cost and give more people access to treatment,” he said.

Deciding to pursue the idea, Andre de la Porte brought on Nicole Rogerson, founder of Autism Awareness Australia, as CEO, and startup veteran Stuart Waite as COO. Launched last year, it has now grown to 17 staff.

The angel funding will assist Rockmelon in rolling out its platform in the UK and in the US, where it is working with Vanderbilt University.

Meanwhile, fellow Sydney startup Pendula has raised $3.5 million in a funding round led by Equity Venture Partners.

Sitting within existing systems like Salesforce and subscription management platform Zuora, Pendula enables organisations to send automated two-way communications, such as SMS, email, and post, for operational and financial transactions.  

Founded in late 2017, the startup now counts the likes of Energy Australia, LendLease, and the Australian Computer Society among its more than 50 clients.

With growth across Australia strong, the company is now looking to more than double its local headcount, from 20 to 45, by October. It will also look to expand into the US, UK, and Asia, with plans to establish a sales presence in the US.  

Alex Colvin, founder and CEO of Pendula, said the company’s biggest opportunity to scale is the US market.

“This capital raise gives us the momentum we need to capitalise on that opportunity faster,” he said.

“The business problems we’re addressing are universal. It doesn’t matter who your customers are or what product or service you’re providing, the fact is that the more customers you have, the harder it is to engage with them in a way that satisfies their needs.

Justin Lipman, investment director at Equity Venture Partners, said the firm has been watching Pendula’s development and growth for more than a year.

“Equity Venture Partners likes B2B subscription opportunities that change how client businesses operate. We spent a lot of time speaking with Pendula’s customers during our due diligence to map out how they used the technology,” he said.

“These customers told us that Pendula had changed how they do business, to the point where they can’t live without it.  It was clear Pendula is solving genuine business problems, and making those businesses more cost-effective and competitive at the same time.”

The investment in Pendula comes hot on the heels of Equity Venture Partners announcing the close of its $35 million fund last week. The fund will focus on B2B software-as-a-service companies.

Image: Nicole Rogerson, Stuart Waite, and Alex Andrew de la Porte of Rockmelon. Source: Supplied.

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