HearMeOut plans Australia IPO by year’s end – founder

Voice-based social network plans to raise nearly $5m on Australian stock exchange to grow activities, Israeli startup says

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustration of the Australian Securities Exchange (Courtesy ASX)
Illustration of the Australian Securities Exchange (Courtesy ASX)

HearMeOut, a voice-based social network app, is planning to raise around $5 million on the Australian Securities Exchange by early next month, Issy Livian, co-founder of the Israeli startup, said in an interview.

Through its app, HearMeOut allows people to post and listen to audio clips up to 42 second long on a variety of social networks including Facebook and Twitter as well as HearMeOut’s own platform.

“Voice has made a comeback into the digital space and many more people are using voice to leave messages,” said Livian at the company’s Ramat Gan offices in Israel. “We want to be the Twitter for voice. Voice allows you to give a unique digital signature. It is more intimate, more personal and more powerful than text.”

HearMeOut does not intend to compete with the giant social networks but is positioning itself as the “on-the-go social network, one that allows you to listen to feeds or create feeds while you are driving in your car or are on your way somewhere,” Livian said.

HearMeOut's voice based app (Courtesy)
HearMeOut’s voice based app (Courtesy)

As opposed to Facebook Live, which allows users to create live video feeds, a voice-only feed is more immediate, Livian said. “You don’t have to stage the video and you don’t have to look nice to make a voice post and it is quicker to upload than a video,” he said.

The company has filed a prospectus to list shares on the Australian Securities Exchange and hopes to raise around AUD 5.5 million to AUD 6 million ($4.2 million-$4.6 million) by the end of this month or early December, Livian said.

In September the company held an investor roadshow in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. “We have held 50 to 60 meetings with private investors and funds,” he said. “Our Australian brokers have told us we are heavily oversubscribed so I have no doubt we will manage to raise the money we want.”

“The capital raised will lead us to a market cap of around AUD 13 million,” he said. “This will help us grow and help us increase awareness” with users and investors.

Five Israeli companies have listed shares on the Australian stock exchange since January 2015, including satellite communications company Sky and Space Global and data storage company Weebit Nano Ltd., bringing to six the total number of Israeli or Israel-related companies that trade their shares on the exchange, according to data provided by the Australian bourse. More are expected to follow, Max Cunningham, the general manager of listings at the exchange said in an interview last month. HearMeOut is one of these.

“We are not big enough for Nasdaq and it is a little harder to create a buzz from the Tel Aviv stock market,” said Livian. “Australia is a bigger market and it has a growing tech scene and they really like Israeli technology. I believe more companies will follow us there. ”

HearMeOut's co-founder Issy Livian (Courtesy)
HearMeOut’s co-founder Issy Livian (Courtesy)

“We will use the money raised to grow,” he said. “Being a public company will raise our profile, allow us to reach more users.”

In September 2015, Ford Motor Company said it was adding HearMeOut to its global mobile-to-car connection system, a move that would allow customers in certain markets to record their thoughts and play their feeds without having to touch or look at their phone, thus allowing them to stay connected and safe at the same time, Ford said.

“We are in talks with other care manufacturers to join into this safety revolution and help people socialize while they are driving, in a safe way,” Livian said.

The company also plans to approach global media companies and news and sports channels to get them to use their app, as well as celebrities. “We want to focus on the international market, mainly the US one, and get international celebs, musicians and comedians to endorse the app.”

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