This Victoria CEO led a $1.24 million pre-seed raise
Plus, the local SaaS company that recently got acquired.
Welcome to this week’s Sunday Briefing. In this issue, learn how a local entrepreneur went from running an apparel company to building a SaaS platform, find out which longtime Victoria tech company just got acquired, and see where on the map you’ll find Victoria innovators next.
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Jeff Duke’s journey from L/L Supply to a $1.24 million pre-seed raise for Locorum
Locorum co-founders Jeff Duke, left; Matt Santapagita, centre; and Carlon Farina, right.
Jeff Duke may be best known in Victoria for being the founder of local apparel company L/L Supply, where he transformed material waste into upcycled clothing. But in the past few years, Duke brought his learnings from L/L Supply to co-found Locorum – a B2B SaaS company for service businesses that just raised a $1.24 million pre-seed round led by angel investors.
“If you're a Victoria business owner — contractors, trades, even residential development, realtors, mortgage brokers — 80 percent or more of your business comes from referrals,” said Duke, CEO and co-founder of Locorum. “But it all happens offline organically. You provide good service, and hope that people refer to you.”
While other referral programs largely plug into existing ecommerce platforms, this doesn’t work for businesses such as realtors, mortgage brokers, and residential developers, which don’t process payments online. Locorum has partnered with MasterCard to create a referral program for these businesses, without the need for an online transaction.
“A realtor, for instance, can set up a referral program on Locorum,” said Duke. “They set a budget for the program, and then Locorum facilitates and manages the entire thing for the realtor […] So when you get invited as a consumer to join your realtor’s network, Locorum is going to pay you somewhere between $500 to $2000 if you introduce a friend to that realtor and they conduct a transaction.”
Duke brought his experience running L/L Supply’s referral program to the Locorum team in 2020. The two other co-founders, Matt Santagapita and Carlon Farina, are based in Ontario, along with the majority of the over 160 businesses currently using Locorum. However, the platform launched in B.C. just six weeks ago, with 12 Victoria businesses onboard, including mortgage brokers and realtors.
“What I'm most excited about is our marketing automations that we're bringing to businesses,” said Duke. “We're really focused on building microservices within our app that automate a ton of the key marketing activities that help businesses generate referrals.”
The $1.24 million raise was supported by a network of angel investors, 42 percent of which were users of Locorum. Local investors include Rob Fraser, founder and CEO of Outway, as well as Andrew Young of Axiom Mortgage Solutions.
🏙️ Community catchup, powered by VIATEC
Fight Hunger in Victoria! The recent fire at the Mustard Seed Food Bank has left the organization in urgent need of support. In response, VIATEC has launched its Food Bank Challenge. They're calling on companies like yours to join them in making a difference in the lives of those in need.
Whether you donate online or get creative with fundraising events, every dollar counts. Plus, they're encouraging companies to challenge each other to see who can raise the most.
📰 More Victoria innovation news
⌛️ Acquired: FunctionFox, a software company that designs and builds timesheet and project management software for creative agencies and teams, was recently acquired by Volaris Group. Take a look.
🇩🇪 On display: Vecima Networks will be showcasing its technology solutions at ANGA COM 2023, an annual international trade fair and congress for cable, broadband, and satellite technology, held in Cologne, Germany this May 23. Learn more.
🇺🇸 Thought leadership: Dr. Jennifer Bath, CEO and president of biotech company ImmunoPrecise Antibodies, will present at the Jefferies Healthcare Conference on June 9, 2023. Keep reading.
COAST Talks explores the bold ideas and disruptive technologies driving net zero shipping, featuring Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate, Dasivedo, and Capilano Maritime Design. Watch here.
🕴️ Tech jobs of the week
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