Hospitality software business Loaded is launching its global campaign, following the raising of $3.25 million via a combination of equity and debt, with an initial entry into Australia planned for early 2023.
CEO Richard McLeod says crossing the Tasman is the first step as part of expanding globally and the expectation is that this will happen rapidly after market traction is achieved in Australia.
“With 900 customers at home who have demonstrated significant profitability and efficiency improvements when adopting Loaded and very few competitors in the market globally – we’re pretty excited about the opportunity ahead.”
Invest South, a local investment fund, is the major participant in the capital raise and will also appoint a director to the board of Loaded.
“We are delighted to have found a company of Loaded's calibre right here in Queenstown and strongly believe in the journey they are on to improve the performance of the hospitality industry as a whole, which has never been more important than it is now” says CEO Prue Halstead.
Other local private investors have also invested directly and through the Mainland Angel Investors network.
Loaded has also attracted support in the form of a $1.25 million loan from MBIE through the Queenstown Economic Transformation and Resilience Fund (QET Fund) which is administered by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.
“The support from MBIE on top of the significant equity raise means that we are in a position to invest further in building our product and development team almost entirely in Queenstown which is important to us as a company founded by born and bred Queenstowners,” says McLeod.
Loaded was originally developed as a central management system for Cook Brothers Bars which famously purchased the Captain Cook Tavern in Dunedin when Loaded founders Richard McLeod and James Arnott, both of Queenstown, were in their fourth year as university students.
“Cook Brothers Bars expanded into a nationwide hospitality group, which James is still at the helm of today. I guess there is some irony in the fact that today our ambition is to seriously impact the performance of the entire hospitality industry globally, given our complete lack of experience and the somewhat loose style in which we operated as 21-year-olds,” says McLeod.