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Funding

Small business marketing startup WorkRex bags $220,000 pre-Seed raise

- April 23, 2024 2 MIN READ
Lance Qian and Jing Chen
WorkRex cofounders Lance Qian and Jing Chen
Melbourne startup WorkRex has raised $220,000 from early stage VC Skalata for its all-in-one customer marketing platform for small business. 

Cofounders Jing Chen, Lance Qian, and Myron Liu – an optometrist, ex-McKinsey consultant, and software engineer respectively – developed the platform after a deep dive into how small-to-medium-sized are struggling to keep up with growing communication channels, customer and employee demands.

Qian said they interviewed 80 business owners about their most urgent problems.

“We found that they were often piecing more than six different tools together to communicate with their customers and employees on things like getting reviews, doing marketing and promotions, taking bookings, re-activating lost customers, doing employee onboarding and managing tasks,” he said.

WorkRex solves that problem with an AI assistant to automate 80% of the work required to ideate, design and deliver personalised marketing campaigns at scale, to enable small business owners to maintain a personal touch when engaging with customers. 

They can get instant, personalised communications on SMS and WhatsApp, while in the backend, the assistant organises tasks for employees and keeps them updated with to-do lists. 

Quin said the custom assistant can be set up in just 5 minutes, at a fraction of the cost compared to hiring a marketing agency or support team. 

Having already built a product used by 20% of optometry practices across the country, Qian said the WorkRex team knows that the solution needs to effortlessly work in the background for busy small business owners. 

“With growth being the number 1 priority for more than half of optometry practices we spoke to, many business owners want marketing support but are not sure where to start, or can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars each month to hire an agenc.,” he said.

“We’re excited to provide a simple and accessible solution.”

WorkRex was recently part of the University of Melbourne’s MAP accelerator program and manager Jaxon Hickey said the software has the potential to put a lot more money in the pockets of small business owners. 

“With 3.5 million companies in AU, US, and the UK alone facing this problem, WorkRex makes engagement more accessible and affordable compared to enterprise platforms that can cost up to $100,000 per year,” he said.

Skalata investor Claire Bristow said: “The WorkRex team has displayed an undivided focus on the customer pain point, and the rare kind of radical empathy and self awareness required to find true product-market fit. We look forward to supporting their roll out of new AI features and expansion into an exciting range of new verticals.” 

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