Torqn, an Australian start-up building the world’s largest industrial-equipment user group chatroom, will look to accelerate its delivery of subscriber services and a unique online marketplace via a circa-A$5 million private capital raise.
The company, founded in 2021 by former mining leaders Troy McDonald and Brett Baker, launched its mining platform and app late last year and says it already has about 23,000 users signed up. That’s well ahead of target and McDonald told InvestMETS.com Torqn’s current acquisition rate had 50,000 mining users within reach.
Torqn’s platform joins users by the type of equipment they’re running and maintaining, and by geography and even commodity, to enable them to quickly and easily share technical and safety information. Current users are spread across more than 100 countries and Torqn’s mining equipment library now features more than 4000 different machine types.
An equipment library for the allied construction market – estimated to be at least 10-times bigger in terms of potential users than mining – is also nearly ready for launch.
“Probably by, I’d say November, we’ll have between 8000 and 10,000 pieces of equipment on platform,” McDonald said.
“We said we’d have 36,000 [mining industry] users in the first 12 months.
“It’s all sort of gone a bit quicker than we anticipated when we started.
“Given the response we’re keen now to double down and accelerate the growth of the business.”
Sydney-based specialist investment fund manager MST Financial has been engaged to drive a series A equity raise.
“Those guys are more focused on exploration companies and mining companies, not necessarily technology companies, but … they have recognised the significant market headway we’ve made in a 12-month period and can see the value for mining companies and suppliers,” McDonald said.
“They’ve basically opened their rolodex of private investment houses.”
McDonald estimates Torqn’s pre-money valuation has doubled since outside investors came on board in 2021. The company was also on the radar of US investment firms now monitoring its annual recurring revenue growth, he said.
“We’ve still got a reasonable amount of cash in the bank to grow organically and bring our different commercialisation pathways on,” he said.
“Raising capital now will enable us to parallel-path [development of] the main products on our roadmap and accelerate our growth.
“The fundraiser is really to build three things. One is Torqn Enterprise, which provides a closed [subscription] solution for big companies like BHP that want to use the collaboration platform but don’t necessarily want their posts to go public.
“The second part is an equipment marketplace on platform.
“There’s $4 billion worth of construction equipment going to sale in Australia alone. Because we’ve got all our users geolocated on platform we can push that out worldwide.
“It’s a big build that one. But we think it’s achievable over the next six-to-nine months.
“And then the third thing is our jobs module.
“If we can raise the funds we’re targeting we’ll be able to parallel work-stream the software development and start to develop all three products.”
McDonald said accessing suitable software development capacity in a hot market hadn’t been a problem to date.
He said an agile outsourcing model, using suppliers in the New South Wales Illawarra area where Torqn is headquartered, had kept things lean and he expects to retain adequate ramp-up capacity by sticking with the approach.
Meanwhile, an approach out of left field by a Canadian medical equipment maker has brought forward part of Torqn’s longer-term roadmap.
“We signed an MoU last week with a medical company called Synaptic Medical that do MRI and X-ray machines around the world,” McDonald said.
“They’d been looking at how to share knowledge across their organisation globally. They looked us up and gave us a bit of a rundown on the business model. They’ve got large numbers of machines spread all around the world … and something like 50 service engineers maintaining this gear. But no two service engineers ever work together.
“So we showed how we can build an enterprise product for them, which we’re working on now, and doing the piloting stage with them, with the intent to move into a subscription-based model for the medical industry.
“That’s a completely different and potentially lucrative vertical that wasn’t on our roadmap until year three.”