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Gold Coast Startup Cloutly Raises $500,000 Pre-Seed to Help Small Businesses Boost Their Reputation

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Gold Coast startup Cloutly has raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding for its reputation tech solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

The round was led by Unify Ventures, with the participation of Palm Beach Ventures (PBV), amid a cast of new investors and advisors, including Mike van der Heijden (Portal Ventures), Jason Atkins (Cake Equity, PBV), George Hartley (Bluethumb, Smartmail) and Chad Stephens (1Form, Fillr).

The money will help build Cloudly’s remote-first team and accelerate the delivery of its product roadmap — a more “human” review experience for businesses and their customers.

CEO and co-founder Lachlan Fea said they had no intention of building a review platform when Cloutly launched.

“It happened by osmosis. Our customers wanted a reliable way to get more online reviews, anywhere, without being tied to large contracts,” he said.

“What stood out was that companies in multiple industries were frustrated with the same problem: there were dozens of review sites, but nothing that could bring them all together and put the company back in control of their reputation.”

Cloutly took on a life of its own in late 2019, after internal use for clients of Fea’s former company, a digital marketing agency, delivered repeated success stories.

Fea said existing enterprise-level tools took a transactional approach to review requests — sending generic NPS messages after a purchase, at a price most SMBs can’t afford.

Its co-founder, Joshua Heslin, said they wanted to find a way to get customer feedback more personal and affordable.

“We saw an opportunity to turn the idea of ​​transactional review requests on its head; to develop a more personalized, engaging way to solicit feedback, testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC) that authentically connect businesses and their customers,” he said.

Cloutly allows businesses to segment their customers and solicit online reviews using personalized, automated video campaigns. Fea said the existing options only get a 7% response rate while harassing customers with a pro forma request.

“Your customers don’t all share the same cookie-cutter experience with your business, so why send them all the same cookie-cutter review request?” he said.

Less than a year after launching their MVP, Cloutly’—they are just two—has hit six-figure annual recurring revenue (ARR) and onboard more than 150 paying companies, including Swyftx, Swimart, Home place and Cake.

Unify Ventures’ Alex Retzlaff said the duo had shown rapid commercial traction.

“Cloutly is able to directly influence the client’s gross income without requiring a significant investment of time or money from the client,” he said.

“There is a plethora of differentiating product feature opportunities to deliver even greater customer value and establish a defensible position within the space.”

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