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Crisis response startup raises $4.2 million to help organizations prepare for disasters

Crisis response startup Iluminr has raised $4.2 million in a raise led by the VC arm of global insurer QBE.

It is the first time that QBE Ventures has supported an Australian early stage technology company. The increase was also supported by local VCs Investible, Flying Fox and Jelix Ventures, as well as US-based Rebellion Ventures.

The money is earmarked for expanding the US marketdoubling the team, expanding products and opening new distribution and sales channels.

CEO and co-founder Joshua Shields said: resilience technology is the next frontier in risk management; be it cyber, natural disasters, supply chain disruptions or a pandemic.

“A critical success factor in the increase was that we had a strong strategic alignment with QBE Ventures, who were able to view our opportunities globally and bring an extensive network of customers and partners to the table,” he said.

Shields co-founded Iluminr with Chief Growth Officer and co-founder Marcus Vaughan in 2019 as Catalyst Technologies. The SaaS platform helps organizations identify and manage crises and mission-critical threats using cloud-based simulation, compliance and response tools.

The short courses leverage gamification, automation, and data insights to provide 15-minute micro-simulations that help businesses build increased resilience to crises. It has more than 50 local clients, including Ramsay HealthCare, GPT and University of Sydney, and has secured a major US financial services client as a bridgehead in the US market.

Shields said Iluminr’s technology is a key ingredient for organizations to minimize the loss of life and the estimated billions of dollars lost annually due to the impact of these disruptions, and the US represents a major opportunity for the startup.

“We are optimistic about the future. We believe that the US offers a significant advantage to a company like ours. And it’s not just the size of the market that’s so attractive, it’s the fact that it’s dominated by old legacy technology vendors and outdated training approaches,” he said.

“Our business model deliberately challenges the status quo and attracts a lot of attention. We are confident that our platform will help reinvent a category where the current offering is broken or simply not delivering value. We have the opportunity to radically improve the way organizations engage staff and manage their critical responsiveness.”

Its co-founder Marcus Vaughan said the world has changed dramatically during the pandemic, with each crisis different from the last and new threats emerging every day.

“Organizations have undergone significant changes and how they prepare for and respond to critical events is very different now than 18-24 months ago,” he said.

“Traditional training in crisis and resilience has not kept pace with today’s demands, changing workforce dynamics or hybrid work environment, leading to an unengaged audience from executive down. Combine that with the increasing compliance burden and increasing threats, and organizations simply cannot keep up with the effects of disruptions and changes.”

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