In the News: Funding Round to $1.3 Million

Kate O'Keeffe
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Female-led Australian startup Heatseeker AI has announced an increase in its pre-seed funding round to $1.3 million from its initial target of $500,000.
The jump indicates growing investor confidence in the startup’s offering of 'growth-hacking-as-a-service,' focusing on the U.S. and Australian domains.
Startups spend limited time and money on market testing and product validation. Heatseeker speeds up the process by using AI to gather competitive intelligence, generate digital campaigns that test multiple variations of a startup’s product, and deliver insights on which version produces the most engagement.

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Amidst the competition in software, Heatseeker AI's 'test and learn at scale' approach has garnered significant attention from industry players. Forecasts predict a 5.5% increase in tech spending in the U.S. software market by 2024, with software being a pivotal factor in this growth.
Kate O’Keeffe, co-founder and CEO, commented on their mission, “Imagine if 10 out of 10 startups were successful instead of 1 out of 10. We think that’s possible. Often, innovation failures occur because founders lack the resources for multiple pivots to achieve product-market fit. We aim to equip high-growth companies with the tools for rapid and responsive decisions.
O’Keeffe's experience in digital insurance inspired Heatseeker AI, where she identified the need for nuanced engagement tactics. Reflecting on a crucial moment, she noted, “When we called the product ‘micro-insurance,’ it didn’t click. When we called it ‘bite-sized insurance,’ it outperformed every benchmark. Same product, but the name hit users differently.”
This new take on market experimentation led to $420,000 from angel investors and venture capital firm Euphemia. This round of financial backing is set to enhance team expansion and develop the alpha release to be launched at the end of January 2024. The venture has opted for an unpriced round utilizing a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) with a valuation cap of $9 million.
Co-founder Fiona Triaca explains the role of AI in the solution, “The AI is really helping founders design these experiments. Supporting them with proposed options to test live in the market. But the great thing about what we’re doing is that the data we’re bringing in from users is real. And it’s higher quality than many market research techniques because we’re putting ads on social and seeing how they perform in the wild.”
Heatseeker AI's technique is particularly significant in Australia's thriving tech scene, home of tech “unicorns” like Canva and Atlassian. Their method of combining AI with genuine user feedback for market tests gives a competitive edge to companies searching for dynamic and insightful product development strategies.
To discover more about Heatseeker AI and its approach to market experimentation, visit their website at

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Kate O'Keeffe
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