Australian Uber rival GoCatch is seeking a $5 million IPO

GoCatch chairman Sunil Patel, board member John Bartolotta and co-founder and CEO Andrew Campbell.
  • GoCatch was one of the first apps in the point-to-point transport market, launching in 2011.
  • It’s raised $12.5 million along the way, since expanding into ridesharing.
  • Co-founder Andrew Campbell returned as CEO last year and says the company is just months away from being cash flow positive.

Australian-owned ride-booking app GoCatch is planning a modest $5 million capital raise via an Initial Public Offering in June.

The business, which churned through three CEOs in two years, as well as seeing a series of boardroom spills, is strengthening its corporate governance by appointing NSW Hire Car Association chairman and Royale Limousines MD John Bartolotta to the board.

Bartolotta, a recent investor in the business, has been an advisory committee member for the last six months.

GoCatch Chairman Sunil Patel said his 25 years of experience suits the company’s focus on the wholesale market.

“We anticipate further appointments to the board leading up to the float that complement GoCatch’s business model,” he said.

The business is currently raising $1 million in pre-IPO funding and short-listing brokers for the float.

It’s original backers included Paul Bassat’s Square Peg Capital, the PM’s son, Alex Turnbull, the Millner and Kahlbetzers families and fund manager David Paradice.

The seven-year-old tech business subsequently stared down buyout offers and leadership turmoil, with former boss David Holmes replaced by co-founder Andrew Campbell last year, while Turnbull and former chairman Bill Beerworth left the board.

Campbell, the prodigal chief executive who returned to the top job 10 months ago after initially serving as CEO to October 2014, (before he was replaced by fellow co-founder Ned Moorfield who in turn departed in June 2016) said the business was on track to break even by mid-2018 and the listing was designed to give the “fragmented market” of vehicle owners, operators and drivers the chance to “invest in the distribution channel that originates their bookings”.

“With less than $12.5 million of capital investment to date since 2011, GoCatch has developed a user base of 59,000 drivers and is executing on a sustainable business to business model that is close to break even,” he said.

GoCatch was one of the first taxi apps on the market and since diversified into the ridesharing platform GoCar, which is cheaper than UberX and without the US-owned rival’s controversial surge pricing, instead using peak and off-peak pricing.

But the app-based market has become increasingly crowded in the past 12 months with European app Taxify launching locally late last year and $8 billion Indian giant Ola launching in Sydney this week as it rolls out Australian expansion plans.

Campbell says his business is one of the lowest cost, has no debts, expenses below $220,000 a month, and a burn rate below $40,000 a month, which he adds is “in stark comparison to publicly disclosed burn rates of between $30 million to $200 million for some of the large off-shore foreign operators.”

Proceeds from the IPO will go towards accelerating wholesale revenue growth opportunities.

GoCatch offers on-demand and pre-booked transport options ranging from economy private vehicles, to taxis and maxis and hire cars.

The business has signed up 59,000 taxi and rideshare drivers and processes more than 100,000 taxi rides monthly. It’s also expanding its Qantas Frequent Flyer points program for taxi rides to the GoCar ride-sharing service too.

In the medium term, it wants to move into “alternative wholesale products” in the car rental market.

Bartolotta says GoCatch “has a sensible business model by applying its point to point transport technology to business-to-business problems in the wholesale ground transport sector”.

“GoCatch is focused on customizing its technology to solve those problems which is what excites me,” he said.

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