Blackbird, Zip’s Larry Diamond and Steve Baxter’s TEN13 back two teens with a fintech startup in a record $2.2 million seed round

- February 2, 2022 2 MIN READ
Liam Millward
Instant co-founder Liam Millward
Two Brisbane teenagers tackling the ecommerce problem of abandoned carts for online sales have raised $2.2 million in the pre-seed funding for their fintech startup.

Liam Millward, 18, and William Gao, 19, founded Instant in April 2021, to build the world’s simplest checkout experience. The record pre-seed raise, the country’s biggest, was led by Blackbird, with participation from Zip co-founder Larry Diamond, Steve Baxter’s syndicate fund TEN13, Westpac’s VC fund Reinventure, Tinder founder Justin Mateen, Accel Ventures scout fund and others.

The duo plan to use the cash to build their startup’s team.

Millward and Gao were inspired to found Instant in the wake of their own frustrations with abandoned sales while running their own online stores.

“Cart abandonment is one of the biggest problems for ecommerce business owners, and it’s quite a complex problem for an ecommerce business owner of any size to manage their checkout technology” Millward said.

“For shoppers, it is annoying and time consuming for a consumer to buy something online — this is especially true for young people (Gen Z), who love quick, instant, easy online experiences without needing to get off the couch to find their credit card every time they want to make a purchase.”

Since its recent soft launch, the first sellers have seen an average conversion rate of above 50% through Instant.

William Gao

Instant co-founder William Gao

Gao said their vision is to turn Instant into the core checkout experience for all ecommerce companies.

“We’re not just a 1-tap checkout though, we’re like an Amazon Marketplace of commerce products for merchants, filling the gaps like ecosystem fraud detection or operational automation,” he said.

Gao said Instant’s vision is to turn complex checkouts into hassle free shopping experiences.

“This is much more than a faster checkout – we are building the instantaneous payment layer of the internet, giving merchants the infrastructure they need to simplify and significantly uplift their sales,” he said.

Blackbird partner Niki Scevak he was impressed by the maturity and focus of the teenage co-founders.

“Liam was 17-years-old when we met him six months ago, and William is only two years his senior,” he said.

“They’ve shown a level of composure, maturity and conviction that would be impressive for founders twice their age.”