PayPal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, has taken part in a $1.2 million investment in Australian start-up ScriptRock.
It is Thiel’s first investment in Australia, with the entrepreneur a key Facebook investor and a board member on the social media company.
The founders of ScriptRock — Alan Sharp-Paul, Michael Baukes and Leo Venegas — have developed technology to enable IT teams to store and verify systems configuration information in plain English, making automation testing more accessible to everyone.
In April this year, the start-up announced it was looking to pitch its business to US investors.
“We see an increasing number of great technology companies being started outside of the United States as the development of the web erodes traditional barriers to customer acquisition,” said James Fitzgerald, partner at Valar Ventures, Thiel’s venture capital firm which the investment was made through.
“ScriptRock has an excellent founding team who are addressing a global problem and we look forward to seeing them continue to develop their vision in the years ahead.”
The start-up has been years in the making, with two of the founding members working on various different start-ups for the past five years.
“ScriptRock came up as a fantastic opportunity and it was sealed when we applied for, and were successful in gaining, entry into Australia’s premier incubation program, Startmate,” the company told Computerworld Australia in April this year.
Startmate provided the company with $25,000 in seed funding, an office for three months, a trip to the US to pitch for business and funding, and access to Australian mentors.
“Mike, Alan and Leo are creating something special with ScriptRock and the high quality roster of investors now joining us on this journey is testament to that,” said Niki Scevak from Startmate.
The ScriptRock team has varied experience in IT, with Baukes an IT leader with enterprise experience in strategy, architecture and solution design. Sharp-Paul has experience as a web developer and working at corporate IT companies such as Expedia and Lloyds. Meanwhile, Venegas has experience in development and solutions architecture.
The $1.2 million investment will be used to recruit staff in Australia and to help establish a presence in the US.
"A local presence is very important for us, both to support our existing customers and secondly to ensure ongoing access to the amazing, and relatively untapped, engineering talent that is coming out of Australia. This model makes sense and reflects our global intentions," said Baukes.
ScriptRock recently won the Start-up Accelerator and People's Choice awards at the Citrix Global Synergy Conference.
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