Australian startup CourseLoop bridges funding to Series A with zero equity dilution
From CourseLoop’s perspective a deal with Lighter Capital meant more than quick funding, it was also a confidence booster for their existing investor pool of friends and family and a stepping stone to their next round of funding.
Use of funds:
Bridge financing to Series A round
Continue to invest in product development
Strengthen sales and drive revenue growth
Lighter Capital Funding
Captured 25% of Australian higher education market
Expanded to U.K. and U.S.
Expanded growth to increase Series A valuation
Growth & Achievements
In late 2020, Lighter Capital partnered with NAB, Australia’s largest small business bank, to bring its non-dilutive financing product to Australian entrepreneurs. As part of the partnership, NAB offers special resources, including dedicated small business specialists for NAB business transaction account holders and access to industry insights, resources, and networking events. These perks, coupled with Lighter Capital’s industry-leading revenue-based financing model, open a world of opportunity for Australian SaaS startups.
CourseLoop CEO Brian Clark initially heard about Lighter Capital in 2017 prior to the company’s entry into the Australian market. Brian recalls thinking, “This model is the perfect transition from friends and family; but at the time, Lighter Capital only funded American businesses with American revenue,. We didn’t have any of that yet.” Brian was thrilled to hear from a NAB banker in 2020 that Lighter was entering the Australian market.
Building the bridge from the U.S. to Australia
CourseLoop CEO, Brian Clark, started his career in the U.S. working with Internet startups and technology banking before relocating to Australia where he became the CIO at RMIT University. Brian noticed a big opportunity in higher education. “Coming out of banking and finance where everything was focused on workflow, automation and improving productivity, I saw that was not the case inside universities and thought there was room for improvement,” explains Brian. Brian set out to create a curriculum management platform to improve a critical part of university operations.
“When I was a university CIO, we did a market scan to buy a solution and it was clear everything in the market was deficient in some way,” says Brian, “We knew that if we didn’t build a robust, scalable and end to end platform, universities would likely have to keep building this themselves.”
Since its founding in 2014, CourseLoop has been implemented into ten Australian universities, capturing over 25% of the Australian higher education market. CourseLoop recently expanded into the U.K. and the U.S. “One of the benefits of our business model is, once a university integrates a platform like CourseLoop into their wider ecosystem it tends to be in place for a number of years. So the solution becomes really sticky.”
From CourseLoop’s perspective a deal with Lighter Capital meant more than quick funding, it was also a confidence booster for their existing investor pool of friends and family and a stepping stone to their next round of funding. Though CourseLoop explored jumping right into VC funding, it just wasn’t the right fit for their stage.
“The U.S. venture capital firms we’re engaging with love our model and the success we’ve had in Australia and the U.K. Demonstrating similar success in the U.S. market is our last hurdle prior to our first institutional funding round. While we are on our way with UCLA, our first U.S. client, the Lighter Capital funding will help us bridge through that transition. We’re thrilled that we’ve been able to secure the funding we need to fuel our U.S. growth without diluting our existing shareholders. Lighter Capital not only brings friendly financing, but they provide valuable connections in both Australia and the U.S.”
A promising look to the future
CourseLoop is one of many Australian startups working with NAB as a trusted bank for their small, but growing, business needs. The Lighter Capital team is excited to partner with NAB to help more Australian entrepreneurs realise their dreams. According to Ana Marinkovic, Executive General Manager of Business Direct & Small Business at NAB, “The Lighter Capital – NAB partnership allows the bank to provide Australian startups non-dilutive financing options throughout a company’s lifecycle, all the way from seed stage to IPO or acquisition.”