While burgeoning businesses owners spend the early den-dwelling days of their start-up just trying to get money behind them, there’s rarely a discussion of where best to invest that money once they’ve got it in their back pocket.
Securing significant investment in your business is proof that you’ve got something worthy of people’s interest and, obviously, dollars, but after crawling across that significant small business finish line, where do you run to next? Where do you actually put that money? (After you throw it in the air and dive into it Scrooge McDuck style, of course).
For Tim Fung, Airtasker CEO and co-founder, who secured a second successful round of funding of $22 million back in June, further funding played a huge part in allowing the business to grow sideways which, in turn, will help it grow upwards.
“Where we are now is a lot about hiring the right expertise and the right people into the team, so transitioning from a startup where there’s eight people and everyone is a generalist [and] doing various random things,” Tim tells us. “Now we’ve split [tech, operations and product] into three areas, so… we are bringing in [experts] and that’s the first step, in my opinion, and then letting those experts execute them.”
Now the team can focus on their new objectives, like leveraging their partnership with key investor Seven West Media, improving customer experience and developing new relationships with brands that already have an inbuilt need for a savvy Airtasker.
And while you might think a second round of funding comes easy (or, at the very least, easier) to an already established brand like Airtasker, there are positives and negatives to getting a few more funds for something that people are already out there using.
“I think in some ways it’s easier and other ways it’s harder,” Tim admits. “Fundamentally, the quantity of the money that [we] are trying to raise, the higher the revelations, the harder it possibly gets because [they] are not [going to] hand over money without knowing exactly what we are getting ourselves into.”
“When we first started, one in a hundred people that we reached hadn’t used Airtasker and now it might be one in five that have,” Tim adds. “[That] was definitely good because I think you can underestimate how personal investing can be and it’s important that people actually have used your product before or can empathise with the user… that’s going to help your process.”
As if two rounds of successful funding wasn’t enough of a milestone, Tim has a few personal points of pride that are firmly at the top of his list of company achievements.
“One of the things we are really proud of is building a brand and a philosophy that people believe in, so our market place is filled with openness and transparency other than us being the draconian ruler of what we do,” Tim confides. “We are really big on being open, being transparent, basically telling people: ‘this is how the rules work and as long as the rules are fair for all, then that will create a good customer experience.’ So yeah, I think we are pretty proud of doing that.”
“In terms of anything personal, I’d just say survival, being around is a good thing,” he adds. “We’re still here so we must be doing something right.”