CriticalArc, a Wollongong iAccelerate startup initially developing products to enhance safety on college campuses, has raised $1 million from Commercialisation Australia, Hunter Angels Trust and Sydney Angels.
Founded in 2011, CriticalArc has seized on the idea that nearly everyone on campus carries a computing device in the form of a smartphone. SafeZone app, which delivers a command control system for security mangers, has taken nearly a decade to develop. (Watch the video here.)
CriticalArc uses the capabilities of smartphones as real-world sensors, acquiring real-time information about an individual’s current situation. The app extends the security team’s view of any situation and allows everyone to communicate and coordinate in response to any incident. Besides SafeZone, CriticalArc has developed OmniGuard and other products.
Eyeing international markets
“This investment will allow us to take advantage of a huge international opportunity for our SafeZone Security and Safety System. Without this kind of investment we would not have been able to consider international expansion for at least a few more years,” said CriticalArc CEO Glenn Farrant, a former weapons engineer and manager of Maritime Command IT.
Before co-founding CriticalArc, he managed development and delivery of distributed video surveillance products in Honeywell’s global security business. He has also run e-commerce and services startups.
iAccelerate’s director for Innovation and Commercial Research Elizabeth Eastland said CriticalArc is at an inflexion point for growth.
“Critical Arc was a founding resident of iAccelerate StartPad in February 2012. Since then they have launched a product, secured funding, grown a customer base, won Australia’s largest pitch competition, employed new staff and are now ready to scale internationally,” she said. “CriticalArc has been provided with strong support from iAccelerate and the local community who are actively invested in the Illawarra ecosystem.”
The latest funding round will help CriticalArc create six new jobs in the Illawarra in the near term, with plans to expand to 14 over the next two-year period.
“I believe we’re a good example of the opportunity that exists here in the Illawarra. I hope that the next few companies aiming to raise capital can gain local support and that we start to see a lot more early-stage investing in new product companies with an international focus,” said Farrant, a UOW alumnus.
iAccelerate is a startup accelerator established by the University of Woollongong. Modeled on Canada’s University of Waterloo, it included a StartPad incubator and a UoW Entrepreneur Club (eClub). Its partners include the Wollongong City Council, NSW Trade & Investment, Enterprise Connect and local entrepreneurs.