Cloud software startup secures Dodo dollars

Summary:Australian cloud software startup ECAL is the first of three Australian tech startups to secure a share of AU$5 million in funding from the venture capital investment vehicle of Dodo Internet founder Larry Kestelman, Oxygen Ventures.

Australian cloud software startup ECAL has secured AU$2 million in funding from local venture capital investment firm Oxygen Ventures.

Oxygen Ventures, the investment vehicle of Dodo Australia founder Larry Kestelman, held its inaugural Big Pitch 2014 event at Federation Square in Melbourne on June 17, with the aim of offering the winning startups up to AU$5 million in funding, along with operational support.

ECAL was one of three winners on the night — which saw pitches by five finalists from around 350 entries — sharing the multimillion dollar funding pot with WeTeachMe, an online platform for booking in-person courses, and Black Delta, developer of the KartSim racing game, which won the event's people's choice award.

Big Pitch
ECAL founder and CEO Patrick Bennett pitches to The Big Pitch 2014 panel Image: The Big Pitch 2014, Oxygen Ventures

The Melbourne-based calendar software developer is the first of the winning startups to finalise funding details with Oxygen Ventures since the event.

ECAL bills itself as a platform that allows organisations to send event-based marketing material directly to the personal calendars on the computers and mobile devices of consumers who opt in for the service.

It intends to use the funds to launch a software-as-a-service version of its platform and expand its sales team in North America.

At present, it is used predominantly by sports teams wishing to keep fans in the loop about upcoming games and other events.

The startup counts AFL, rugby league, cricket, and soccer teams among its local clients, while in the lucrative United States market its customers include big name teams in NFL and NBA, including the Chicago Bears, and the Boston Celtics.

"This investment will significantly accelerate our growth by enabling ECAL to go the next level," said ECAL founder and CEO Patrick Barrett. "The capital will enable us to expand our geographic footprint, to service new markets, and to develop our product further."

"By having someone with Larry's experience involved in the next phase of growth, we will be the beneficiary of far more than the AU$2 million of investment Oxygen brings to the business."

Kestelman sold Dodo last year to M2 for over AU$200 million and has since used some of the proceeds to establish Oxygen Ventures.

"ECAL is such a terrific idea, brilliant in its simplicity, and we see great potential for its use beyond sport and entertainment," said Kestelman. "At Oxygen, we back great teams, big ideas and bold plans, and we are very much looking forward to our partnership in ECAL."

Topics: Start-Ups, Australia, Software

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Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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