Early stage investment company Antler Australia recently backed a new cohort of startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.
Startup Daily is sharing the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series, which is designed to give you a quick, sharp understanding of the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow up capital following Antler’s initial pre-seed investment.
Founded: June 2023
Stage of business: Pre-Seed
Founders: Sajid Bokhari (CEO) and Eric Ding (CTO)
Current investors: Antler
Currently raising: Yes
E-commerce in Australia and New Zealand is maturing, with the Australian market expected to reach a value of US$46.68 billion. One noteworthy trend accelerating this growth is the shift in B2B buyer expectations, aligning more closely with B2C web stores through the development of B2B marketplaces.
The wholesale industry in Australia now outpaces retail, generating AUS$495 billion in income compared to retail’s AS$380 billion (Sana Commerce).
As these B2B marketplaces begin to mirror B2B e-commerce in structure and growth, so do their obstacles. Challenges specific to the ANZ market include shipping and handling costs, exacerbated by the region’s diverse geography and seven different time zones.
Particular pain points for B2B customers are also causing a lag in uptake, with Commercial Director of Publicis Groupe’s Balance, Aaron Chidely, naming the lack of preferred payment options, unclear shipping costs, and desire to compare prices as major reasons behind high abandonment rates, particularly in Australia where the rate is just over 70%.
Integrated e-commerce solutions are beneficial in tackling such problems, which is where startups like Geniepay shine. Offering a holistic approach to enterprise sales teams in Australia, Geniepay’s sales workflow automations and real-time financing options can address both the cart abandonment issue and the extended sales cycle, claiming they can reduce the latter by 4-6 weeks and increase conversion rates by 60%.
Trying to close sales deals by asking customers to fill out too many documents, not offering any payment flexibility, or restricting the type of payment methods available can unnecessarily prolong sales cycles and kill deals. Geniepay exists to help enterprise sales teams increase sales conversions, close deals faster and reduce their administrative burden by offering sales workflow automations with real time financing capabilities.
Antler Investment Thesis
The Geniepay founders have a stellar track record in launching and scaling fintech products, with co-founder and CEO, Sajid Bokhari, formerly the country head at YC-backed fintech Volopay where he grew the fintech from zero to six figures in ARR in Australia within the first year. Co-founder and CTO Eric Ding has extensive experience in engineering and building financial products for startups all the way to Fortune 500 companies. Backing a complementary team with a proven ability to build was integral to Antler’s investment decision.
“In addition to a strong co-founding team, Geniepay offers the holistic solution enterprise sales teams desperately need, giving them one place to manage sales closing documentation, offer real time payment terms and offer a range of payment methods,” says Antler Partner in Australia, James McClure.
“As businesses worldwide require increasingly more robust omnichannel approaches and integrated systems to provide a personalised and responsive consumer experience, we’re confident Geniepay is well-positioned to scale quickly as it meets the growing needs of its B2B customers.”
Traction to date
Geniepay launched their MVP two weeks ago and are already working with two large clients to run beta testing – one a cloud services provider with a Premier Partner status with AWS, and the other operating in the corporate hospitality space. Additional discussions are underway with their next batch of beta-testers.
Geniepay was recently shortlisted alongside five other budding startups in SmartCompany’s pitch competition in partnership with BlueRock, AWS, and FinTech Australia. They were also selected amongst the top three startups to pitch in the fintech stream at the inaugural SXSW Sydney conference and won.
After 100+ applications to the six different categories, the SXSW pitch finals were narrowed down to just 20 startups, with Geniepay taking the fintech crown.
Pre-Seed from Antler
Use of Funds
Now that their MVP has been launched and beta-testers are helping them iterate and improve before public launch, Geniepay is focussing on product development and getting more hands on deck.
Offering a range of payment methods and managing sales closing documentation in one place, Geniepay is positioned to be a game-changer in increasing sales conversions and effectively responding to Australia’s specific e-commerce landscape. Sajid says, “We are solving a crucial pain point experienced by sales teams in enterprises across the world. Additionally, Geniepay positions us to further deepen into the workflows of sales teams and cross-sell. The opportunity and scale is global.”
The founders say
“Antler has assisted us greatly in connecting us with early potential customers as well as other institutional funds who have an interest in B2B startups,” says Eric.
“Their investment has been crucial for us to launch our company and start developing the MVP. The funding has been used for product development and hiring to help accelerate this development”.
“Our ambition is to become the global leader in enterprise sales enablement, enabling enterprise companies to close sales quickly and more of them,” added Sajid. “Our mission is to empower enterprise sales teams to outperform and overachieve, while shaping the future of sales acceleration.”
Antler, a global early-stage VC, is revealing its latest investments in ambitious Australian founders and startups.
With over 100 investments in early-stage companies, Geniepay is one of its most recent portfolio companies.
- StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler in Australia.