Irish start-up Pointy has raised $6m in its first significant round of venture capital financing. The company was established two years ago and aims to make it easier for bricks and mortar retailers to list their products online. It does this by connecting a small device to a shop's existing point of sale, which then automatically puts a product's details online as it is scanned.
"We're all about trying to solve a consumer problem, which is to make it possible to search for products online in local stores," said co-founder Charles Bibby. "We think it's crazy that you can search the internet in a few seconds and find a product online, but you might not know what's in a store around the corner."
We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
That idea has been gaining traction in Ireland, with the company being used in shops in every county. Mr Bibby said they have also been used in around 14% of shops in the Dublin market at the moment. Building on that, Pointy is looking to grow internationally and, having already gained a foothold in the US market, it hopes the money it has raised will help to accelerate that growth.
"We're now in 48 states over there and growing fast," said Mr Bibby. "At the moment we've got 15 staff in Pointy and by the end of the year that will be 20. We expect in 12 months to double that number. We'll be hiring everywhere from sales and marketing to engineering and it really is to facilitate that growth overseas."
Amongst the latest list of investors is Vulcan Capital - the fund fund owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - as well as angel investment from Matt Mullenweg, the founder of blogging site Wordpress, and rugby player Jamie Heaslip.
Mr Bibby says he isn't sure how much of the company they've had to hand over in order to receive that backing - but he says they now have a good spread of investor types from a variety of locations. "It's complicated to work out when you have dozens and dozens of investors involved," he said. "We've got US funds, European funds and Irish funds involved. It's definitely good to look Stateside [for funding], there tends to be more capital available over there, but you can do things in Ireland and Europe as well."
MORNING BRIEFS - Building materials group CRH has announced a deal to acquire US cement manufacturer Ash Grove for $3.5 billion. The business operates across eight locations in the US and had a pretax profit of $215m last year. In the first half of this year, CRH's Americas division had an operating profit of €352m, which was more than half of the group's total profit.
*** The US Federal Reserve has confirmed that it will start to run down some of the investments it made after the financial crisis. The Fed has built up a $4.2 trillion portfolio of US Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities but now plans to reduce that by $10 billion a month from October.
*** Bank of Ireland UK has announced the purchase of Marshall Leasing Limited for £42.5m. When the deal is complete, Marshall Leasing will become part of Northridge Finance, Bank of Ireland UK's car and asset finance business.