A vowel-challenged sales training startup for the TikTok generation has raised $4.6 million in a Seed round.
The round for Melbourne platform frntlne was led by Matt Berriman’s RealVC with support from Investible, Hoperidge Capital, and Navitas founder Rod Jones.
Frntlne creates TikTok-style product education videos for customer-facing staff in retail, hospitality and pharmacy with the goal of improving sales conversions, and is designed for the 15-25 age demographic. The short training videos and interactive content helps build product knowledge for retail sales staff.
Leading brands such as Coles, L’Oreal, P&G, Swisse, Mumm Champagne and Bondi Sands have signed on as clients. Octopus Group, one of SE Asia’s largest alcohol distributors, is frntlne’s first international customer with the product education vids due to roll out in August.
The company also counts university professor and entertainment executive Mathew Knowles, father of Beyoncé and Solange, among its advisors and shareholders.
Founder and CEO Mark John launched frntlne in 2021 following a long career in entertainment and video content along. Dr Knowles joined him on a recent UK visit to drum up retail customers.
The funding will be used to build out frntlne’s its marketing, sales and product development, increase its Australian presence and expand offshore in markets including Singapore, the UK and UAE.
The genesis for the business was John’s own experience in dealing with staff “who not only had no product knowledge but appeared to be disengaged and happy for me to take my money elsewhere, even suggesting I should go to their competitor” when he was looking to spend spend hundreds of dollars on a DIY home maintenance product.
“While frustrated at the experience, I saw a great opportunity to use my years of working across entertainment, tech and monetised content to create a practical and highly engaging solution backed by scientific research,”
“Frntlne is not only changing the way retailers and consumer brands deliver their product training but it focuses on upskilling the staff member and providing a ‘win-win-win-win’ outcome for all involved.”
RealVC managing partner Matt Berriman said he can see the startup becoming a great Australian success story.
“The frntlne business model is set up to deliver quality education, which is critical to ensure our current and future generations have the best possible chance of success, both at work and in life,” he said.
“From an investment perspective, the business presents a compelling business model, with strong unit economics and has a huge Total Addressable Market (TAM) they are targeting, both in Australia and overseas.”