AREA360, creator of STQRY, today announced the closing of a $5.5 million NZD Series A round of financing led by top technology investor Madrona Venture Group. In addition, the company announced the opening of their US headquarters in Seattle, Washington and the hiring of a top-notch executive team.
The company’s products are built for large and frequently visited locations such as airports, hospitals and museums, enabling non-technical managers to easily create meaningful experiences based on location data, harnessing the power of beacons, GPS, WiFi and more. AREA360 products are already in use by more than 400 customers worldwide including Emirates Airlines, , Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
While most beacon-related systems have been commercialised with a focus on marketing in the retail industry, AREA360 has developed a broadly applicable and elegant solution for any industry. Drawing on the company’s rich history of connecting digital content to physical locations through the STQRY app, AREA360’s advanced solutions now enable proximity based content delivery down to one to three meters, providing the tightest correlation of any beacon/location-aware platform on the market.
STQRY co-founders Ezel Kokcu and Chris Smith
“We started AREA360 to give organisations the ability to enhance their customer experience by providing navigation as well as relevant information and unique opportunities along their path” says Chris Smith, AREA360’s founder and CEO. “Using beacon and other location data, our platform enables customers to create a broad portfolio of useful services.
“For example,” Smith continued, “airports can deliver navigation to and from gates, along with a stop at the nearest Starbucks; museums can bring to life that new piece of art by presenting a video on the artist’s inspiration; and an operations manager can track their most valuable assets in real time. The support from New Zealand’s startup community helped us to thrive and our customer response has been overwhelming. We look forward to continuing to grow our business in the U.S., New Zealand and the rest of the world.”
The company saw an opportunity to rapidly advance its business by opening a Seattle-based headquarters, while simultaneously growing the Wellington, New Zealand office into a development powerhouse. AREA360, led by serial New Zealand entrepreneur, founder and CEO Chris Smith, recruited a Seattle-based head of operations in the former GM of OnlineShoes.com, Dave Martine, and a head of marketing in former T-Mobile US leader Nathan J. Peterson, to join Seattle’s VP of Global Sales, Jennifer Smith. The company also recruited head of technology Andrew Reid from Zeacom and Navman to lead the thirty person, Wellington-based development group with plans to grow the team to more than forty developers by the end of the year.
AREA360 was formed in 2012 in Wellington and has grown under the leadership of Chris Smith and Ezel Kokcu, enabling the rapid expansion to Seattle, with multiple global offices in the works. The New Zealand community has been a huge supporter in the growth of AREA360 and STQRY, including advisors Gareth Morgan, Dion Mortensen, Alan Gourdie and Sven Baker, as well as organizations such as Callaghan Innovation, NZTE, Grow Wellington, and the ICE Angels.