Sydney social media startup Gather Online appoints new chairman after fundraising round

Sydney based social media service has announced former Dimension Data CEO, Brett Dawson, will join the company’s board as chairman following his investment of $1 million in the startup.

The announcement;

Former Dimension Data CEO tips $1 million into emerging social networking platform

Rapidly growing social discovery and messaging platform, Gather Online, today announced former Dimension Data chief executive, Brett Dawson, will be joining its board of Directors as Chairman, accompanying his investment of $1 million to support the company’s planned international expansion.

Based in Sydney, Gather Online has 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.

“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,” said Founder and Chief Executive, 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.”

International expansion
Mr Price said the investment made by Mr Dawson would support the company’s ambitious expansion plans. Gather Online already has more than 40,000 daily active users with the most avid users having daily sessions exceeding 20 minutes.

While operations are based out of Australia and South Africa, the company plans to achieve consistent growth through targeting the large number of social media users in Europe, the United States and Asia, where it has already got a foothold.

The company has unexpectedly gone viral in locations it has not specifically targeted, but says it will focus a significant amount of its intentions on dominating markets that are neglected by other players in the market.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity for a platform that encourages people to become more engaged with each other. 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.”

Mr Price said the $1 million investment by Mr Dawson was part of a successful third seed funding round which has been expanded due to oversubscription. A further $200k out of $1.4M 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.”

Gather Online has established a range of strategic business relationships to support its growth and increase awareness of the platform. This includes partnerships with some leading tertiary education institutions, media organisations, not for profits and charities as well as corporates, in the US, Australia, South Africa and the UK.

“Other partnerships will be established as part of a concerted B2B outreach as the company expands its international reach,” said Mr Price. “Our platform allows organisations to leverage their supporters to reach and engage with new customers and supporters so partnerships are a natural win-win.”

Encouraging interaction
As it grows, Gather Online will continue to tap into user demand for more targeted conversations on topics that have particular interest to them. Users join communities around a particular interest, and then only opt in to those topics with which they want to be involved. Users can start a new topic on any subject and discussions can be designated as either public or private. Each conversation has a set time limit which encourages timely discussion and keeps things fresh.

“We believe Gather Online will continue to attract new users and grow to become an important part of the evolving social media and communication space,” said Mr Price.

From a Gather Online media release


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