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Insights into angel finance

A GROWING state-based angel investor network has enabled local technology company Inhouse Group to develop an innovative technology for the retail sector.

The WA Angel Investors Network - the state’s chapter of the national Australian Association of Angel Investors - has facilitated investment in the company, which is developing the technology named Insights.

Insights is intended to help shopping centre operators and managers track the movements and habits of shoppers in real-time.

The company has pilot arrangements in place with a number of centres in Bunbury, Mandurah and throughout Perth, and is progressing with product demonstrations in a bid to commercialise the technology.

Greg Riebe was one of a number of angel investors who helped fund Insights’ development after Inhouse approached the WA Angel Investors network.

“In the real world data is not timely, and shopping centre operators don’t know where you are within a shopping centre,” Mr Riebe said.

“Insight will give us that real-time information the same as what Google analytics does in telling you what website you’ve gone to, how long you’ve been there and so on.”

Mr Riebe and the other angel investors, who are also part of the network, were part of a larger capital raising that involved professional and private investors.

“We were a reasonable proportion of the total capital raising, but more importantly we were able to bring skills and expertise in commercialising and developing that technology,” he said.

Mr Riebe has been leading the establishment of the angel network for the past two years, but told WA Business News the past 12 months had been a time of significant progress, with the Inhouse investment one of the first facilitated through the network.

The other deal to emerge was between angel investors and local company Quickboats, which is commercialising flat-pack boats.

Mr Riebe said investment in emerging technology companies was often not recognised as a bona fide option because of WA’s strong focus on resources.

Consequently, emerging companies were unfamiliar with how to successfully pitch proposals - something the angel network was working to improve.

“Because it’s been a little bit ad hoc and there’s been focus on other areas, a lot of these entrepreneurs and developers in these emerging technology haven’t had a strong cohort to go to,” Mr Riebe said. “We’re providing the support to help them do that.”

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