A management strategy startup its founder says will help executives “fight fires before they happen” has raised $637,000 in a seed round several months before it launches.
Empiraa was founded by Ash Brown after he worked as a senior manager in three businesses and realised that the teams never had an effective platform to manage strategy.
“We spent time talking about strategy, it always fell apart once it was time to execute it,” he said.
“I always felt we could do better. I was planning to move into a freelance business strategist, but thought there needs to be a way that businesses can manage their strategy on the cloud. So I pivoted.”
Brown worked with Hyper to develop and refine the idea, along with former Xero MD Trent Innes as an advisor to develop Empiraa, which he plans to launch in Q2 2022.
He describes it as “a results-driven strategy management system designed to provide leadership with what they need, when they need it”.
Private investors have backed its development, with an initial $110,000 pre-seed, and last week, a $637,000 top up.
“Once we landed on the model and framework on the platform, I hit the ground fundraising. This was foreign to me, I have been in sales for years, but selling a prototype and idea in the middle of a pandemic is still wild to me,” he said.
Given his strategy execution frustrations, one of the first things Brown did was work on governance, appointing Mark Hogan, Sam Cust, Laura Frazer and Brendan Tremble as directors.
“The directors we brought on board have great and complementary skill sets. They have been incredible and have been able to keep me grounded throughout the process,” he said.
Chair of his Advisory Board, Rod Moynihan, introduced him to Innes.
“Trent and Rod have been incredible in sharing their knowledge and helping me throughout the journey,” he said
“They understood and have experienced the problem of not being able to manage their strategy in an easy and empowering way. We did this outside of traditional VC investors. We initially had conversations with tier 1 VC firms, however it just wasn’t a good fit. Private investors felt the pain of the problem.”
Brown said his focus is on helping the small-to-medium enterprise market success in an aspect of business that too often goes awry.
“We believe we can help SMEs globally create, align and execute their business strategy. Empiraa will be built to cater for that market, no big long intimating terms,” he said.
“We talk to our customers in real speak. How people actually talk in businesses. We want our users to feel more empowered and in the driver’s seat when they use Empiraa.”
Brown’s focus, ahead to the launch is listening to what the SME sector has to say about dealing with their pain points around strategic business planning,
“We aim to do this by listening to customer feedback, engaging with our user community and helping them be the best versions of themselves,” he said.
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