SHARK Tank investor Steve Baxter has teamed with QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) to invest in the travel sector, together funnelling half a million dollars into a new startup.
Travelshoot has announced an investment of $500,000 from these Queensland based investors to help scale its business and maximise global opportunities with its travel partners, including Flight Centre Travel Group, Helloworld and RACQ.
The business, which connects travellers with qualified local photographers around the world, has tripled its network of destinations in the last year and planned to continue this rapid expansion. Mr Baxter’s interests aligned with this global growth strategy.
“We have a favourable view of the tourism space being one of Australia’s largest export markets and continues to grow,” he said.
“It is enviable to see two founders who have built the business to this point through their own personal funding, showing their adaptability and hustle to make things work even on tight budgets.”
What exactly does Travelshoot do?
Travelshoot helps couples and families to obtain high quality photos of their holiday or travel experience without stripping the holiday budget. It is Australia’s first destination photography service and connects travellers with local photographers around the world to easily capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
The business idea for Travelshoot was born in 2012, after Sarah Pearce and her husband travelled to New York and spent an hour with a friend, who was a local photographer. Travelshoot successfully launched when Sarah won the ‘My Shark Tank Australia’ competition in 2015.
What does this funding mean for Travelshoot?
Co-founders and brother sister pair, Sarah Pearce and Tim Jones, said identifying and attracting the right investors was crucial to their approach.
“We didn’t use a scattergun approach – we looked for investors who would not just invest in us financially, but were also prepared to add strategic value and mentor us through potential key business challenges,” said Ms Pearce.
“Our technology, along with our customised and tailored approach to acquiring customers through strategic travel partner really solidified the investment,” she said.
Baxter and CEA will add value beyond cash by offering the co-founders strategic guidance, knowledge of new markets, sharing networks and providing mentorship to help overcome the inevitable hurdles involved in a startup journey.
Why did Steve Baxter and CEA decide to invest?
Both Baxter and CEA’s CEO, Anna Rooke, considered the founding team to be critical to their decision to invest.
“For CEA, we felt that Travelshoot had all the essentials on why we invest; a compelling value proposition, a clearly defined global customer market, strong evidence of customer traction, a clear execution plan and, above all else co-founders who have the flexibility and resilience to navigate the business to scale,” said Ms Rooke.