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$500m Silicon Valley crowdfunding start-up Tilt heads to Australia

Via AFR : US crowdfunding startup Tilt will set up shop in Sydney, letting Aussies chip in to pay for group activities.

Tilt, a Silicon Valley social money exchange start-up valued at more than $500 million, will expand to Australia, enabling individuals to chip in to pay for group activities.

The company, which has raised $US67 million ($87 million) in funding from renowned venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and investor Sean Parker, will set up shop in Sydney, with the office being viewed as a potential headquarters for Asia Pacific expansion.

The Tilt app has proved popular overseas, since the company was founded in 2012, as it promises to take the headache out of organising a whip-around for group activities, meaning you can pay and record your share for anything from a BBQ dinner to an overseas trip.

It also allows individuals and groups to seek others to contribute to raise funds for activities.

tilt_app
The Tilt app lets you pay and record your share for anything from a party to an overseas trip. Tilt

The money sharing start-up is a product of well-known US accelerator Y-Combinator and is particularly popular on American and UK university campuses. The company says that worldwide a “tilt” is made every 15 seconds.

The head of international at Tilt, Tim Ryan, said the start-up had planned to move into the Australian market for some time and was confident local demand would be high.

“We’ve really wanted to be here from day one and it was just a case of sequencing. In my opinion every day we weren’t in Australia was us moving too slowly,” he said.

Soft launch

Despite only officially launching in Australia on Tuesday, the app already has a growing user base in Australia. There are 250 Tilt ambassadors across Australian universities and last month a group of university students collected $30,000 for an engineering camp through the app.

Locally a tilt already occurs every few minutes.

Mr Ryan said the frequency of tilts was how the company measured success, and he would not disclose user numbers.

“The transactional nature of sending and receiving money has been around for a long time. What hasn’t been cracked is the social aspect,” he said.

“Tilt is like the difference between Facebook and email, there’s an entire social layer. If you’re throwing a party as well as collecting the money you can tag your friends and upload photos, it’s an entirely different experience.”

Local presence

Tilt has already made two local hires and intends to build its local team to five people in the next few months.

Mr Ryan said officials from Melbourne and Sydney tried to lure the start-up to their city, but Sydney won simply because the first person they wanted to hire lived there.

No decision has been made yet about whether the business wants to expand into Asia, but if they do Mr Ryan said Sydney would probably become the APAC headquarters, in which case the size of the local team would be significantly increased.

“Expanding to Asia is definitely top of mind, but the thing is we want to be in Australia just on its own. We believe the market stands on its own two feet,” he said.

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