Digital disruption

Former DiData CEO ploughs $1m into Aussie messaging startup Gather Online

Former Dimension Data chief executive Brett Dawson will be investing $1 million into Sydney-based social discovery and messaging platform Gather Online, to support its international expansion.

In addition, Dawson will be joining the company’s board as chairman. Gather Online said it had developed a unique online communication service that allows users to achieve real engagement with communities of like-minded people.

“Dubbed ‘Snapchat for groups’ the service offers time-limited access to discussions on a wide variety of topics from careers and business to travel and health,” it said.

“Gather Online enables people to shift from passively consuming content, as is often the case with existing social networks, to connecting with like-minded individuals and having meaningful conversations,” put in founder and CEO David Price. “It fills a real gap for engagement in the current social media landscape, in that you only connect to content you are interested in.”

Price said the company had unexpectedly gone viral in locations it had not specifically targeted, but noted that it will focus a significant amount of its intentions on dominating markets that are neglected by other players.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity for a platform that encourages people to become more engaged with each other,” he added. “On the other major platforms, a post only gets engagement from about 1% of people – so 99% are passively consuming. Gather Online overcomes this by facilitating more fruitful communication which has a beginning and an end, like we have in real life.”

Price said the $1 million investment by Dawson was part of a successful third seed funding round, which has been expanded due to oversubscription. “A further $200,000 out of $1.4 million is now available for investment.

“Funds will be used to improve the platform and to scale it to the levels that would interest Series A Venture Capital funds later this year,” said Price.

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