Tapestry wins $400,000 Commercialisation Australia grant

Having already raised $600,000 from Sydney Angels and other investors, Aussie startup Tapestry is aiming to make that money work even harder using government assistance.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor on

Social network connector Tapestry has scored $400,000 from Commercialisation Australia (CA), which will help it expand its offering and launch in the US.

The startup, run by entrepreneur Andrew Dowling, aims tp help parents and grandparents connect with younger generations who are increasingly using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to communicate.

The $400,000 is a result of Dowling's successful application for CA's Early Stage Commercialisation fund, which offers startups between $50,000 and $2 million to help take their prototype or working idea into a marketable product. In Dowling's case, Tapestry has already launched in a beta phase in Australia, but he would like to further take it to other mobile device platforms.

"The feedback has been fantastic, but we've also noticed that the ease-of-use has left our seniors wanting more," Dowling said in a statement.

"Many of them already have an iPad, for example. We're now extending the platform to iPads, iPhones, and Android phones, so that all family members can use Tapestry on whatever device they prefer."

Part of the application requires Dowling to match the amount of funding that is being offered. In this case, Dowling is making some of the $600,000 he previously raised from investors like Sydney Angels work even harder. Additional funding comes from a number of new investors that have since chipped in.

As CA's CEO, Doron-Ben Meir argued earlier this year that it isn't just about the funding, either. CA assigns a case manager to each startup that approaches it for assistance, whether that's to apply for a grant or to better understand what they need to do to be successful.

Tapestry's case manager in this instance is Topaz Conway, who saw Tapestry as a startup that would be even more important in the future.

"When Andrew first introduced Tapestry to Commercialisation Australia, we were excited by the concept. But we were equally impressed at the level of research and thought that had gone into developing an innovative solution to a major problem facing many Australians — and one that is likely to become more critical to the nation as the population continues to age," she said.

"We look forward to supporting its continued development and growth into new markets."

Dowling has been busy targeting the US market, having recently been given the opportunity to pitch to US venture capitalists in Silicon Valley as part of his startup being selected in the Australian Government's Advance Innovation Program.

"We've got our eyes firmly fixed on a US launch later this year and making good ground towards it," Dowling said.

In the mean time, the startup has continued to grow. In the past few months, it has brought on three new staff member — a front-end developer, a designer, and a community manager — and it is still looking to bring on another senior Ruby on Rails developer.

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