Curiously, it is fishing that drew together Western Australia’s newest team of tech entrepreneurs and which also led them to Insight, the business transition specialists which helped catapult their bold new LITT App from a great idea to a great business.
Insight Director, Stewart Blizard, explains the company has worked for many years with LITT co-founder Brent Thompson’s family, much of it lately around succession planning for the family’s Cervantes cray fishing business.
The two other LITT App founders are Brent’s childhood friend, Josh O’Byrne, and his brother-in-law Peter Salom, a former sales and marketing manager with Quiksilver Australia. LITT began four years ago with a creative idea in one of those conversations friends and family have around the barbecue by the beach. The conversation continued over coffees, lunches and boardroom tables until their tech startup dream became reality, helped by $3m in early seed funding from WA backers.
Mr Salom explains the LITT App integrates social media, including photo/video sharing and messaging with an eCommerce ‘backend’ that includes LITT Cash in a digital wallet and online gift cards/vouchers.
“That’s the major difference between our platform and all the other major platforms out there because ours is a fully integrated platform that gives an experience between social media and eCommerce,” he says.
“Further developing the augmented reality proficiency is very exciting and that’s just coming out as part of the digital advertising upgrade.”
Mr Thompson recalls a real turning point came during a visit to America about three years ago, as he was flying into Los Angeles. He recalls vividly asking himself, ‘how the hell are we going capture some part of this world?’.
‘We always thought about how we could be different from the other big social platforms; we asked ourselves what have they forgotten,” he explains.
“Afterall there are a lot of gaps there, like including communities and giving back to people."
“I remember thinking, ‘what if we bring in advertising revenue but we give some of that back to users?’.
“I rang Stewie in the morning and asked ‘can we pay our users some of the advertising revenue that we get, into their own digital wallet?’.”
Brent laughs when he recalls ‘Stewies’ answer; “It’s an absolute nightmare, but yes we can do it.”
Insight Director, Mathieu Paul, explains that initially, the aim with LITT was to protect the idea and to make it bankable. With support from Insight, that step was accomplished, and attention turned to tackling LITT’s unique, complex, and multifaceted challenges.
“Everything the LITT founders wanted to achieve was and is doable, it’s just a matter of having the flexibility and innovation to be able to achieve it.”
“The multidisciplinary approach used between compliance, management consulting, R&D, and a collaborated effort to help them in areas that firms like ours typically don’t do, such as operations planning, HR, marketing and a precise selection and implementation of systems and processes, was, and is vital.”
“Some work also revolved around gaining ASIC approval of virtual cash and credit, tapping into Insight’s Innovation division to submit an R&D Tax Incentive claim.
“We are constantly seeing clients finding opportunities, disrupting, creating new technologies and innovative solutions to old problems and we have the pleasure of helping them grow, develop and transition. LITT is just one success story.”
LITT launched in April and has 4000 user and 130 mostly Western Australian merchant businesses and those numbers are growing. The next phase is what Mr Thompson describes as one of the most ‘powerful capabilities’ of any platform of its type: the LITT virtual credit card.
“It’s kept growing that digital wallet piece. It is the most powerful component we have and now we’re turning that into a LITT Visa card, our very own to tap-and-go useable with any merchant. It launches in October and the big brands are poised and waiting.”
Insight Advisory Group is a multi service financial advisory firm based in West Leederville leading about 30 staff and forms part of an international group. In WA it has 600 corporate clients across industries including manufacturing, mining and tech, many of them family groups where members are running different businesses.