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Rubber Monkey gears up for Aussie market with latest capital raise

By Catherine Knowles
Wed 6 Jul 2022

Rubber Monkey, New Zealand's e-commerce platform for creatives, is seeking to raise up to NZ$2.5 million of new capital through online investment platform, Snowball Effect, to expand its Australian presence and drive its growth plans.

Rubber Monkey was founded by Laurence Alexander and Nigel Stanford, former TradeMe CEO and Mighty Ape major shareholder, when the duo identified the opportunity to create a specialist offering for the creative community.

According to the pair, the existing market for audio and film products is fragmented, reliant on numerous brick and mortar outlets with limited stock range. Rubber Monkey removes this barrier through providing a one-stop-shop for specialist creative products.

The development of Rubber Monkey's proprietary e-commerce platform was led by ex-TradeMe senior developer and current CTO, Philip Cox. Simplifying the product purchase journey for consumers is the key point of difference that has scaled Rubber Monkey's competitive edge in the market.

With audio, visual and photography products, Rubber Monkey currently has more than 94,000 products listed on its site, sourced from distributors and manufacturers locally and around the world.

It has branches in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney, including a 16,000 sq ft purpose built warehouse facility in Wellington.

Rubber Monkey is now a top e-commerce platform for creatives, generating more than $20 million of revenue in FY22, including $2.5 million through its Australian website with minimal presence, marketing and product range.

With premises now secured in Sydney, supplier agreements in the process of being signed and staff being recruited, Rubber Monkey is positioning itself to capture market opportunity in Australia.

Alexander comments, “Our competitive advantage comes from the highly optimised, bespoke web platform we've created. It runs 90% of our business process, not only our sales front-end but also everything from warehousing, shipping, accounts, sales admin, promotions, support and data analytics.

"Designed from the ground up and utilising the talent and experience of industry leading experts, it's what sets us apart from the all too common generic 'off the shelf' approach to e-commerce. As a key adviser and co-developer of our technology, we really benefited from Nigel Stanford's history with TradeMe. He had a deep understanding of the web space and how usability and customer journey needed to work. It guided our strategy from the beginning.”

He continues, “We've enjoyed consistent market growth since Rubber Monkey's inception both in New Zealand and more recently Australia, we've seen this Trans-Tasman success as a lucrative opportunity to further our expansion across the ditch. Too often we hear about big Australian companies coming in and taking over smaller operations in New Zealand. This is a genuine opportunity to flip the script and take a New Zealand business to Australia and further. We aim to be the first company of our type to do it.”

Rubber Monkey is seeking to use the funds to support its current growth strategy of furthering its presence in Australia and growing its product range. This will be supported through investing in additional inventory for both the Australian and New Zealand markets, further investment to fit out the warehouse and distribution centre in Australia and increasing investment in marketing and sales, according to a statement.

Total group revenue is forecast to grow to $95 million in FY27, with Australian sales surpassing New Zealand sales in the same year.

Snowball Effects co-founder and CEO, Simeon Burnett, says “We can see there's demand for specialist products and the unique service that Rubber Monkey provides, and it's essential there's an accessible provider in the market. Rubber monkey has demonstrated its ability to fill this need and Australia provides a unique opportunity for Rubber Monkey to scale their business. Along with some of the earlier stage opportunities that we offer, it is also nice to be able to offer investors an opportunity to back an established business with a validated business model with strong growth plans."

Alexander concludes, “We’re excited about the opportunity of inviting new shareholders into the Rubber Monkey team there is an enormous range of opportunity for us to build on what we have created in New Zealand and use the population advantage of Australia to create an even better experience.”

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