Crowd Mobile completes IPO after $3.8m fundraising

The Australian-based operator of crowdsourced Christian question-and-answer mobile app What Would Jesus Do has completed its back-door listing on the ASX after securing AU$3.8 million in pre-IPO secondary round funding.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Crowd Mobile, the Australian operator of crowdsourced question-and-answer mobile apps such as What Would Jesus Do, Bongo Thinks, and Passion for Fashion, has listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

The company, which was founded in 2009 and now operates in 13 countries, was acquired by the ASX-listed shell of failed digital marketing company Q Limited in a reverse-takeover manoeuvre, allowing it to make its initial public offering (IPO) under a new name, Crowd Mobile Limited.

Crowd Mobile raised AU$3.8 million in pre-IPO funding prior to today's listing, with Artesian Venture Partners' equity-based crowdfunding platform VentureCrowd pitching in AU$363,000.

The company claims several crowdsourced Q&A mobile apps and SMS-based services in its business portfolio, with its products and services allowing millions of customers globally to crowdsource answers to various questions, paying a small fee -- around AU$2 or more -- for each answer received.

Questions could be as diverse as queries about the user's relationship with God, whether to buy a $200 skirt, or whether someone will meet their life partner this year.

The fee charged is split between the app stores of Apple and Google, or the telecommunications service provider a customer may be with -- depending on which of its services the client is using. In each case, Crowd Mobile retains between 35 percent and 75 percent.

In the financial year ending 2014, Crowd Mobile charged for more than 3.4 million questions, generated over AU$9.8 million in revenue and making around AU$2.2 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).

The company's plan is to build what it calls a "global crowdsourced cloud-based micro job workforce" for jobs that take less than five minutes, such as relationship advice, fashion tips, and hot gossip. It also wants to expand its portfolio of apps.

With the IPO, Crowd Mobile now claims a market capitalisation of AU$15 million, from just over 75 million ordinary shares on issue.

Heading up Crowd Mobile as executive director and CEO is Domenic Carosa, chairman of tech-focused investment fund Dominet, and founder of failed web hosting and digital entertainment company Destra.

Its board of directors includes former Melbourne IT CEO Theo Hnarakis, who is a non-executive director, along with Incubasia Ventures managing partner Hans de Back.

Crowd Mobile's successful back-door entry to the ASX comes amid a string of reverse-takeovers by tech companies wanting to go public.

One of the more recent reverse-takeover attempts in Australia was that of cloud computing provider CloudCentral, which, early last year, had been in negotiations with struggling vineyard ownership company Dromana Estate.

However, the deal was axed just a few months later in July by Dromana Estate, which later told shareholders that the plans were scrapped when former iiNet executive Andrew Milner and another executive appointee stipulated by the deal's capital raising lead manager Hartleys withdrew their Leader Manager Mandate.

Prior to calling off the deal, Dromana Estate told investors that Carosa's Dominet Digital would "cornerstone" its acquisition of CloudCentral.

UPDATE: Crowd Mobile announced on January 23 that it had reached an agreement to buy Hong Kong-based startup Kiss Hugs, a social media app. The company said that Kiss Hugs' IP will form the foundation for its expansion into the Asian market.

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