ASX-listed LiveTiles raises AU$11m to boost subscription revenue growth

The publicly-traded enterprise technology company announced annual subscription revenue growth of 292 percent to AU$4 million for FY2017.

Australian-listed enterprise technology company LiveTiles has announced raising AU$11 million from a consortium of institutional investors, through the issue of more than 61.1 million shares at 18 cents a share.

The latest round, led by Blue Ocean Equities, brings LiveTiles' total investment amount to AU$24 million since inception.

LiveTiles CFO Matt Brown told ZDNet that the reason the company decided to open up its latest investment round on Monday is to "double down" on its recent growth.

The New York-headquartered company, which allows companies to create custom digital workspaces, started generating revenue about two and a half years ago, but recently announced year-on-year subscription revenue growth of 292 percent to AU$4 million for the 2017 financial year.

LiveTiles is growing at more than six times the industry average growth from subscription software of 44 percent, according to research [PDF] from investment banking firm Pacific Crest.

The company's 366 customers across the US, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific include Pepsi, Hungry Jack's, and the US Department of State. More than 200 were acquired this year alone.

Brown admitted that LiveTiles initially sought to raise AU$6 million, but increased the amount due to strong demand.

"We could have raised a lot more but we're capping it to manage dilution for the founders and the board. We have great confidence in where we can take the business and therefore don't want to dilute ourselves too much at this point in the game," Brown added.

The new funding will be used primarily to expand LiveTiles' sales, marketing, and customer success teams, especially in the US where the company sees the greatest growth opportunity.

LiveTiles currently employs 65 people across its offices in New York, Sydney, Melbourne, London, and Tri-Cities in Washington.

LiveTiles, which was spun out of a company called nSynergy in December 2014, allows companies to create custom digital workspaces -- akin to a bespoke intranet -- with API integrations that enable a diverse range of programs to work together. Its core products -- LiveTiles SharePoint, LiveTiles Cloud, and LiveTiles Mosaic -- sit on top of Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, and Azure.

Brown said the company is currently gearing up to launch LiveTiles for SAP, which will allow LiveTiles customers to integrate their digital workspaces with SAP's ecosystem of products.

"We're continually rolling out additional integrations with cloud-based SaaS products that keep proliferating. We've just finished work on a Slack integration, we've got a Facebook at Work integration ... The more [cloud-based SaaS products] in the market, the better for us because our customers are using more and more stuff every month," Brown said.

"We bring it all together in a seamless way that's relevant to a particular employee or team inside an organisation."

LiveTiles is also working on what will likely be called "LiveTiles Intelligence", incorporating artificial intelligence into the company's digital workplace platform to "drive efficiency and productivity in the workplace".

Brown was not able to reveal further details, but said the company is at a "very advanced stage" with the AI product and has already secured a big customer.

The company believes it is in a strong position to hit AU$10 million in subscription revenue in the short-term.

Brown added that customers are now approaching LiveTiles at their own volition, rather than LiveTiles chasing customers.

"We're seeing that as we go through procurement with very big customers, they don't have anything to compare us to ... they say that they want to look at a side-by-side comparison of LiveTiles versus X and Y, but they can't find an X and Y," Brown said.

"What we're really competing against is the old way of building digital workplaces, which is custom development. We're quickly demonstrating to the market that we are a much quicker and more cost effective way of building and maintaining digital workplaces."

LiveTiles' close alliance with Microsoft has also helped the company's growth, Brown admitted.

"They give us a lot of warm leads. They act as a really strong reference for us particularly for our bigger customers. They're a massive supporter of LiveTiles. We improve their customers' experience of the Microsoft platform at the end of the day, so it's a mutually beneficial relationship," Brown said.

The company also recently allied with consulting firms Deloitte and PwC to resell its software.

"They'll be looking to include LiveTiles as part of their digital transformation solutions that they're working with their big customers on," Brown said.

"We think [the alliances] could be a game changer for our business going forward; it's really another step change in growth. That really hasn't gotten going yet, so it's a new initiative for FY18 and beyond."

LiveTiles recently recruited former Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft executive Doug Caywood and former Wal-Mart executive Kendra Bluhm to lead the company's US expansion. The company also added senior Facebook executive Andy McKeon -- who was also a creative director at Apple under Steve Jobs -- to the board as a non-executive.

LiveTiles will soon launch a share purchase plan to raise up to AU$1 million.

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