Family Zone raises $10m, makes key appointment for US expansion

29/04/2020 - 10:39

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Family Zone Cyber Safety has made two major announcements this morning ahead of its planned US expansion, securing $10 million in funding and appointing a former Google executive to its board.

Family Zone raises $10m, makes key appointment for US expansion
Most schools in the US will operate with remote learning programs for the remainder of the year. Photo: Van Tay Media

Family Zone Cyber Safety has made two major announcements this morning ahead of its planned US expansion, securing $10 million in funding and appointing a former Google executive to its board.

The company, founded by managing director Tim Levy in 2013, provides cyber safety software through a cloud-based platform.

In 2016, the company was recognised as one of the year’s best startups by the WAITTA INCITE awards, and later that year listed on the ASX after having raised $6 million in an oversubscribed IPO.

Today’s announcements come as the company seeks to expand its footprint in the US market, given the increase in online education in that market due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Most schools in the US have been shut for the remainder of the academic year, with few entertaining the possibility of face-to-face learning resuming until 2021 at the earliest.

The $10 million raise came through the issue of more than 83 million shares at $0.12 per share, with commitments coming from existing shareholders, institutional and high net worth investors in Australia and the US.

Chair Peter Pawlowitsch invested $500,000 of his own money in the placement, pending shareholder approval.

Bell Potter Securities acted as the lead manager to the placement.

In addition to the capital raise, the company’s appointment of former Google vice president Matthew Stepka as a non-executive director was described as validating the platform’s potential in the US market.

Mr Stepka has served as a managing partner of California-based Machina Ventures since 2017, and lectures at the University of California, Berkley as a visiting scholar.

He served as vice president of Google between 2007 and 2016.

Prior to that, he co-founded CyberJava, a chain of internet cafes in the US, and served as an executive for online hotel reservation platform WORLDRES and as vice president of drugstore.com.

Mr Stepka said in a statement he strongly believed in the company’s mission to provide children a safe and nurturing learning environment in the classroom and at home.

“I have confidence that the company is well positioned to be a global leader in the education cyber safety market,” he said.

“In particular, I am excited to work with the management team to expand the product offering and leverage their existing strengths to serve the massive US market.

Mr Levy called the appointment one of the company’s proudest achievements.

“It validates not only our platform and US business but our potential to impact future generations of internet users,” he said.

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