Visual search technology company See-Out Pty Ltd is the first start-up to receive funding from the Creative Enterprise Fund.
The fund, operated by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), along with angel investors, has backed See-Out so the company can recruit developers to work on CeeQTM, its flagship visual trademark search engine.
CEA chief Anna Rooke said she was delighted to be part of the syndicate that included Melbourne-based Scale, a female-focused angel investor network established in July 2013.
See-Out was one of five businesses showcased in the finals of the 2013 Creative3 RiverPitch, where the company’s chief Sandra Mau met Scale.
Creative3 is also a CEA initiative. Now in its fifth year the annual event helps creative ventures connect with investors. Five start-up companies are selected to pitch their business to a range of investors at each event.
Mau said her company’s visual search engine was targeted at designers, brand managers and IP professionals who conduct more than 18 million trademark searches each year.
“With the large number of logos and other brand images being generated daily, text search is not sufficient to secure a brand,” Ms Mau said. “This investment will enable See-Out, through its CeeQTM product, to grow its Australian image search tech innovation into a global standard.”
See-Out Pty Ltd is a spin-out from NICTA and has also received support from Commercialisation Australia.
The Creative Enterprise Fund is the only one in Australia that focuses on creative entrepreneurs. It was set up in August last year with $1.2 million to address the lack of investment opportunities for all creative businesses whether they be fashion, design, animation, digital media, film and television, music, or gaming and software development.
Rooke said the See-Out investment “marks the important next step for CEA as it expands its activities from a creative industries incubator into an investor in commercially viable creative enterprises.
“In Australia the creative industries employ more people than the mining sector and contribute $35 billion to our GDP and so this type of investment focused on creative enterprises is long overdue.”
Image: See-Out developer James DeVries and founder Sandra Mau. Photo: Erika Fish