SCOTTISH social networking website Kiltr is preparing to launch an international fundraising after appointing a trio of business heavyweights to its board of directors.
Former enterprise minister Jim Mather, Par Equity founder Paul Atkinson and ex-Real Time Engineering boss Gerry Docherty will become non-executive directors to support its drive into overseas markets.
The company has already raised about £1.25 million from investors including Barwell, Par Equity and the Scottish Investment Bank and is gearing up for a further funding round towards the end of this year or early in 2013.
Chief executive Brian Hughes aims to raise a “seven-figure sum” and said that a number of venture capitalists in the United States had already expressed interest in investing in the business.
He said that the firm’s current investors expected to take part in the fourth round of fundraising alongside the overseas interest.
Hughes told Scotland on Sunday: “That cash would enable us to speed-up our expansion and the launch of “version two” of the platform, pushing us into English-speaking markets like Australia, New Zealand and North America.
“We have about 12 staff at the moment, including seven full-time, but I’d like to double that total as we gear up to launch version two of Kiltr.”
Having promoted the site to Scots in the UK, Hughes and co-founder Stewart Fraser are now beginning to target the Scottish diaspora, people living in countries such as Canada, South Africa and the United States who can trace their ancestry back to Scotland.
Mather has been a long-time advocate of Scottish companies using the diaspora to target overseas markets. Hughes said: “Jim’s not only well-known for that in Scotland but also in other parts of the world and so he will be an invaluable asset.”
He added: “These guys are bringing a depth of experience and will help to raise the profile of the business.”
Kiltr was founded in October 2009 and was promoted in New York during Scotland Week in April this year.
The company has generated some income through sponsorship and marketing agreements and is building up to further sponsorship and advertising deals.
Earlier this year the firm launched a recruitment function as part of its “Version One” update. The job adverts are free to use for a limited time, but will be used to generate revenue for Kiltr.
Since leaving office, Mather has become chairman of East Kilbride-based software developer Gael and Livingston-based website and email content filtering specialist Bloxx.
Mather highlighted the opportunities for businesses to use Kiltr’s website as a way of collaborating over large distances at low costs.
Docherty, who was the founding chairman of IT industry trade body ScotlandIS, added: “The market for niche social networks is expanding, so I’m very enthusiastic about Kiltr’s prospects.”
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