AI-based ecommerce startup Splashup has scored $150,000 in backing from CBA’s x15ventures

- August 13, 2021 3 MIN READ
Nathalie Rafeh, Vivek Bharadwaj
Splashup co-founders Nathalie Rafeh and Vivek Bharadwaj
Splashup, an ecommerce startup hoping to simplify online shopping and the comparison experience to find what customers want, has won the pitch competition by the Commonwealth Bank’s venture-scaling entity, x15ventures.

Splashup co-founders Nathalie Rafeh and Vivek Bharadwaj will receive a $150,000 SAFE note as the winners of the Xccelerate21 program.

Now in its third run, Xccelerate is designed to support early-stage startup founders through x15 and accelerate their growth through collaboration with CBA.

The theme for Xccelerate21 was reimagining how customers shop, pay and are rewarded in retail. From more than 80 founders in the program, five startups were chosen for a shark tank-style pitch event held yesterday.

The ‘sharks’ were x15ventures MD Toby Norton-Smith, Head of Portfolio Yish Koh and Portfolio Adviser Janey Martino, plus CBA’s Head of Shopping Rochelle Eldridge and Head of ecommerce Omaya Robinson; and Zip director John Batistich.

Splashup co-founder Nathalie Rafeh, said the team was thrilled to win.

“Splashup’s proposition is to integrate with ecommerce websites and be a product discovery experience on-top; helping shoppers nudge their specific results until they find the one they love, like finding a ‘similar dress but with a different cut’ or a ‘similar top but on sale’,” she said.

“It gives us a lot of excitement and confidence in bringing our vision to life and becoming the market leader in our space,” she said. “Being an AI retail startup in Australia, it is absolutely phenomenal to see industry support offered through the Xccelerate21 program, which is exactly what we’ve been looking for.”

Rafeh said access to CBA’s network, along with the funding, will take Splashup to a new level.

“The retail landscape is changing rapidly with a lot of opportunity to pave the way for the new era of ecommerce,” she said.

“The enthusiasm shown by x15 for what we are doing at Splashup and our area of play was enough for us to know that Xccelerate21 is the right place to be – we believe the team will help fuel us in the right direction.”

x15’s Yish Koh, said the retail sector in Australia is set to become one of the largest beneficiaries of digital disruption.

“Yet when searching online we’re overwhelmed by choice and comparison is so difficult. At x15, we’re focussed on accelerating the pace of change, and through our Xccelerate21 program, we’re able to open our doors to earlier stage startups and entrepreneurs, help test and evolve their thinking, and reimagine the store of the future,” she said.

Koh said Splashup is taking a customer-led approach to reinventing the shopping experience “while supporting retailers to improve conversion and gather more data on what customers are looking for”.

Zip non-executive director John Batistich will advise the co-founders as they build their venture.

“I am excited to mentor Nathalie and Vivek as they work on this incredibly complex retail problem. Ecommerce is an incredibly competitive space and online stores are always looking at new ways to increase revenue opportunities,” he said.

“I look forward to helping Splashup unpack this problem and refine the Splashup product offering.”

The other four finalists were:

  • Four2: is a customer recommendation platform that provides the best offer, price, or discount for each customer and increases a company’s income and customer satisfaction.
  • Shop You: redefines shopping with its virtual mall – an Omni channel experience for shopping centres, retailers and customers.
  • Sales Optic: betters the way sellers see, analyse and understand sales data.
  • Bramp: describes themselves as a strategic all in one branding platform for startups and SME, they can offer the full spectrum of branding services for an extremely accessible price point.

Splashup’s win comes 12 months after givvable won the inaugural program in 2020.

Co-founder Frances Atkins said that since then, the company has scaled its operations both here and overseas, involving more than 150,000 suppliers

“Since winning Xccelerate last year, givvable has acquired new listed and government customers into its early access program, reflecting the visibility the program gives startups as these were almost all unsolicited,” she said.

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