Fredericton-based Zaptap is on the threshold of closing a round of funding as it prepares for the North American launch of its system by a handful of luxury product makers this autumn.
Headed by founder and CEO Yan Simard, Zaptap’s software allows consumers to ``zap’’ a product label in a store with their smartphones, and immediately receive information on the product such as technical specifications, warranty information, etc. The system allows a retailer or maker of a consumer product to design and produce a label, control the information it delivers to consumers, and track the purchasing and reaction by customers who receive a specific message.
Simard said in an interview this week that he was days away from closing a round of funding that would bring the total investment in the company to between $500,000 and $1 million. When I last spoke to him last September, he had raised $225,000 from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and three private investors, one of whom is Jody Glidden, the former chief technology officer of Vancouver-based Chalk Media.
Simard added that he is working on securing his first venture capital round, with a target of $2 million, in the autumn, and that he is now talking to Atlantic Canadian, Canadian and international funds about participating. Asked whether he has been canvassing venture capital funds or they are contacting him, he said it was a combination of the two. (I’d believe this as I first heard about the company from a VC fund manager.)
Zaptap established itself as one of the exciting young startups in the region last August when it was the only Atlantic Canadian company invited to Grow, the annual tech conference in Vancouver.
Since then, the company has been in talks with potential clients and testing its system at a New Brunswick Liquor outlet. What it learned fairly early is that Zaptap is best suited to the luxury retail goods market. ``These are higher margin products so there is a real incentive on their part to explain why there is a justification for the consumer to pay more for their product,’’ said Simard.
Zaptap has therefore lined up eight or nine global luxury goods makers that will be early adopters of its product, launching it this autumn across Canada and in the U.S., possibly in Europe as well. Simard declined to name the early adopters but said they are companies with immediately recognizable names.