AHALife CEO Shauna Mei has an iPhone cover, called bondage, which cost her $80. Her co-founder Sachin Devand carries a pimped gold and diamond iPhone which is valued at more than $7,000.
Both bought the phone statements on AHAlife, a New York-based online marketplace created just for luxury goods which is due to be listed on the ASX tomorrow, a back door event using the shell of INT Corporation.
AHAlife is a market, much like the Etsy for the craft community, but it is for luxury goods. There are now 2,500 independent design vendors selling their goods and 303,000 registered buyers or users. The company ships to 220 countries.
The average spend is about $180 per order. Compare that to about $25 from Etsy.
The encrusted iPhone, with 24 karat gold, a hand finished outer frame, home button, rear and Apple logo inlaid with more than 3,000 diamonds, can been found HERE.
Shauna Mei, a former Goldman Sachs analyst, started the company five years, and brought in Sachin Devand, an engineer, three years ago because she realised she was running a technology company.
She’s already pulled in $US23 million in venture capital. The listing in Australia brings in almost $A20 million which will be used to grow the company.
AHAlife is part of a growing group of US companies which have come to Australia for a listing. This includes 1-Page of Silicon Valley.
“At the point where we are in the stage of our business, essentially the next natural thing is to raise another round of venture capital funding, a series C,” Shauna Mei told Business Insider.
However, another raising meant that those putting money in, mainly venture capitalists, would require more control.
“When we looked at the economics of layering more capital, with heavy preferences … it wasn’t that appealing,” she says.
“We heard about the ASX and that this was a potential market with a group of institutional investors.”
Doing the same thing in the US, going for a public listing, would mean they would be a very small company in a large pond. In Australia, they decided they wouldn’t get lost in the crowd.
And a ASX listing also means that current shareholders convert their holdings into common stock holders.
“It does provide liquidity (after coming out of escrow in 14 months) for some of these who have been holding their investment for five years,” she says.
The company’s investor and advisor network include the former CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, Steve Sadove, author Deepak Chopra and the founder of New York Fashion Week Fern Mallis.
Mei and Devand are in it for the long haul. It will take five or more years to build it into a billion dollar company, they say.
And they get more shares over the years if they hit performance hurdles. Mei currently has 14.8% of the company and Devand 8%.
The 45 cent shares, which raised $19.9 million, open on the ASX on Friday.