A brief look at the thesis behind our seed investment in the emerging commstech super-platform, Truescope
Today, we are thrilled to share the news of our latest investment in Truescope, a CommsTech company on a mission to better inform communications, by leveraging powerful technology and real-time insights.
First launched in 2019, Truescope aims to be the first smart media intelligence platform, with a commitment to real-time, real information. Led by experienced tech and media veterans John Croll and Michael Bade, the company has already begun cementing its place in a global industry.
Truescope monitors digital media to inform business strategy for corporate and government clients around the globe. Their technology gives access to tools to help control the narrative, where needed, and early.
Investible and our global network of active co-investors Club Investible led the US$5m seed funding round, alongside Jelix Ventures. We’re excited to lock-in for the journey ahead.
Here we share further detail around the primary reasons why we invested. Our confidence in the trajectory of this early-stage business stems from the calibre of the founding team, well-crafted product and the strength of its international go-to-market strategy.
Welcome to the world of CommsTech
First, let’s share some context on the vital corner of communications technology where Truescope operates, and excels.
Imagine you work in PR in a large, industry-leading corporation in the ASX100. Your job is to make sure the company maintains a good public image, knowing that anything said and published could be held to public scrutiny or praise. To put very simply the dos and don'ts of the job are, promote conversations that would increase positive engagement, avoid topics that would cause public furore, and mitigate any potential risks of negative perception.
Businesses (and governments) can live and die on positive public opinion. To service this, there’s a decades-old industry built in the form of media monitoring, i.e. monitoring what information is in the public domain or could be made public to help the brand.
Decades ago, public engagement was limited to major media channels, operated by large corporations themselves. Now, anyone with access to the internet and a social media account can sway public opinion. The game has changed, and so has the technology.
Coming on stage with decades of expertise
The startup journey is unpredictable and tumultuous, so it's a big plus to meet a founder with previous leadership experience in the space. John Croll, CEO of Truescope, brings a wealth of expertise to his new business. John comes with 30 years of experience within the communications and media intelligence industries, having previously grown a leading media intelligence company in the APAC region (the largest in Australia) to $127m in annual revenue.
In building Truescope, he brought along key team members including Michael Bade as his co-founder and CTO. John's experience proved that he had capabilities to lead, grow and scale a company into a successful business. He’s a veteran operator and leader, uniquely connected to the sector he seeks to disrupt.
A sticky interface delights users early
In addition to an exceptional team, Truescope is also a largely product-led business. This means the platform, when experienced, speaks for itself. Customers understand its potential value very quickly. For product-led businesses, we like to see intuitive interfaces as an indicator for potential product stickiness.
As we went through the product demo with Truescope, we were impressed by the breadth of its media scope. They have signed agreements with the majority of social media platforms, business media platforms and media aggregators. We also established further conviction with respect to the volume of data it was able to push through the platform – more than 1.2 million data points per day.
Adding to this keyword search (e.g. for buzzwords), sentiment analysis, and a no-code drag-and-drop plug-and-play interface for users, the Truescope platform really does enable businesses to get a “true scope” of a company's media profile.
We see the combination of these features as an opportunity for Truescope to grow the market by unlocking media intelligence analytics for non-technical users.
Thinking beyond Australia, from day one
The startup brings in significant revenue through joint ventures and acquisitions in multiple countries, already operating entities in both New Zealand and Singapore. That said, John and Michael acknowledge that to become a venture scale business they will need to land and expand in the US. For this, they have developed a completely new go-to-market strategy and team to target US customers.
It’s worth noting that Truescope’s maturity makes the capital raise an atypical seed stage investment for any Aussie startup, and for Investible. The positioning of the opportunity indicates the company is still very early in its journey.
For early-stage companies, bringing the right people on board is a huge inflection point. One key hire that helped us establish further confidence in the talent of the team is Meg Crumbine, a qualified and experienced salesperson based in the US. Her role as President for North America is to build and grow the team through her strategic value and insights crafted through decades in the industry. When we met Meg we were quickly impressed by her sales expertise and accomplishments in the martech and CommsTech startup scene.
Tying together a strong and experienced founding team and a technology that grows the market, we jumped at the opportunity to lead Truescope's seed round. While later than our typical seed-stage investments, the strong performance across the entire APAC region fit perfectly in our mandate. We're excited to become a part of Truescope's journey as they take on the US market, and beyond.
The Investible group of companies includes various entities who are corporate authorised representatives (CAR) of Boutique Capital Pty Ltd (BCPL) AFSL 508011. The full list of entities are detailed here.
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