Early-stage investment firm Antler Australia recently backed a new cohort of startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.
Startup Daily shares the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series, which is designed to give you a quick, incisive insight into the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow-up capital beyond the initial pre-seed investment from Antler.
Company Name: Focus
Date of incorporation: 2022
Stage of business: Pre-seeding
founders: Mika Siddiqui and Umesh Wimalawardana
Current investors: antlers
Currently increase: Yes
Description of the company
The creator economy is now valued at over $100 billion, with 165 million creators joining the global industry in the last two years alone, according to the latest data from Adobe.
With the rapid growth of the creator economy, people from different industries, regions and backgrounds have developed platforms to express themselves, cultivate an engaged audience and ultimately monetize their content. However, for two-thirds of creators, it often takes three years to build and grow their online audience.
The all-in-one creator economy platform, Focusenables creators and marketers to turn their ideas into highly engaging content by predicting post performance and engagement, suggesting content improvements before posting, and using generative AI to help create content ideas.
Powered by generative AI and machine learning, Focia creates and optimizes tailored content for creators and predicts which posts will perform best. The proprietary models predict what content audiences want to engage with and optimize new posts accordingly.
For many creators, the changes in social media algorithms have impacted how their content is discovered. Focia’s technology helps creators predict emerging trends, tailor content to algorithmic preferences, and create targeted engaging posts.
Antler investment thesis
“Mika and Umesh bring the exceptional technical capabilities required in this space and impressed us with the quality of their output and the pace of execution. Excellent team dynamics and shared values date back to their shared experience as high school students in New Zealand,” said Cath Rogers, Partner at Antler Australia.
“We invested in the company when the product demonstrated improved Instagram engagement for images and it has since evolved to serve other formats, social media channels, enhanced generative capabilities and added scheduling making the product more relevant to corporate users such as agencies in addition to individual creators”.
Since the launch of the beta product, Focia now analyzes more than 20,000 images per week and has 1,000 users signed up for the waiting list. Analyzing user engagement before and after using Focia showed an average 15% increase in engagement.
One creator and user of Focia was able to collect a total of over 1 million likes on their TikTok account using Focia’s trending analytics. With Focia’s own modeling, a common technique called cross-validation was used to determine an 80% accuracy rate for engagement predictions.
Use of Funds
Focia secured Antler’s Pre-Seed investment late last year, it has used this initial funding to launch its beta app to market, develop generative AI capabilities to create content, build its predictive category model and are in platform editor.
The founders say
“There are currently no sources of truth for creators, and understanding how different platforms’ algorithms work can feel like a gamble for most creators,” said Mika Siddiqui, co-founder of Focia.
“Aspiring creators often need help growing their audience. Our proprietary modeling not only predicts which content will perform best, but also discovers emerging trends, optimizes and even creates content to respond to them. Our all-in-one platform tries to help creators through every aspect of the journey.
“At Focia, our ultimate ambition is to become the one platform every aspiring creator needs to grow. We’re expanding from predicting what works to allowing creators to edit, collaborate and monetize everything within one platform.
“Antler has provided us with coaching sessions and workshops that have been extremely critical in the way we run our startup. Having access to the Antler community has been especially helpful in understanding how to grow our startup and what directions to take.”
Antler, an early-stage global VC, is revealing all of its latest investments in aspiring Australian founders and startups. With over 100 investments in early stage companies, Focus is one of the most recent portfolio companies.