25 Jan 2018
How did Gustavino Capital first come across the Gotskill investment opportunity?
Back in 2014, I had spent four years of my time focused on developing the concept and Skilltracker prototype to address a major technical skills (blue collar) mapping & capability gap in the market globally. I had already built the first cut of the software app and realised that I needed assistance to create a corporate and commercially viable investment proposition to scale this unique business opportunity globally. I was introduced to Ivan through a very good friend of mine, Kyla, who had been working closely with one of Ivan’s colleague’s, John. John had mentioned that for anything tech and global it would be worthwhile chatting to Ivan at Gustavino Capital.
What did Ivan bring to the table?
Ivan brought candour, a will-do attitude, and belief in the product and the vision that I was backing. He went out and quickly raised $650,000 by packaging a disjoint prototype into a world class investment case. Everyone in the company was well-respected, we had a tight team and we ran a lean ship to show investors that we could manage our money and meet our deliverables.
Ivan orchestrated the necessary moves and brought on board the key people into the venture to assist me in accomplishing my vision. I can honestly say that it’s not the physical effort that is always seen or identified, but rather the master-stroke of the key decisions which is Ivan’s expertise. Unfortunately, on the second round of capital raising, Ivan was left out the picture due to a change at the board level, and the plans and vision went off track at the same time and we have struggled ever since his departure from the board.
Ivan is a person with key knowledge and a successful track record – he is calm and a true professional (although I must say as the founder he did drive me crazy sometimes as he doesn’t always show his reactions to great ideas!). However, there is a process and methodology behind his calmness most of the time. The bottom line is that when you need help from somebody who can understand your big vision and add value to it – you need to get someone like Ivan on board. I know that now – in hindsight.
What was the scope of Gustavino Capital’s involvement in Gotskill?
I had quite a lot of prior experience in founding and listing a marine technology company called Neptune on the ASX. I was heavily involved in the founding of Neptune in 2004, and after 5 years of development, Neptune successfully listed. Hence, I knew that I needed assistance to accomplish a similar ambitious goal for Skilltracker, which was my next major tech venture.
Due to my prior business experience, I recognised that what I needed was a group that could help me replicate the Neptune success but with the idea that Skilltracker could be 10 times bigger than Neptune. The scope for Gustavino Capital was simply to get Skilltracker “investment ready,” and then to bring in the appropriate capital and structure to enable the business to grow fast.
What was the experience working with Gustavino Capital like?
Good – but sometimes a little bit frustrating due to my personality traits and style, as I wanted more, and I wanted it now! I probably needed to be in a slightly different mind-set for this whole experience. I worked on the venture arduously for 4 years, and if I had been more focused on doing what Ivan said and ensuring that I led rather than allowing other people to lead the venture it could have been a lot easier. For instance, maybe I should have taken that key leadership role initially, and held it up to IPO stage. I could then have stood back just a fraction and directed the company to ensure that the visions and plans Ivan had put into place were played out. His was a realistic and serious approach which required hard work. It was going to take a lot of effort to achieve – but would have paved the way leading up to an IPO and made the groundwork easier. If you have the best advisor and investor, and sometimes it seems too difficult, you will still end up burning up the hours and years – so you might as well follow through with the well thought out plan that they’ve developed for you.
What were some of the biggest challenges that Gustavino Capital solved?
Securing Investment: Gustavino Capital knew how to pitch a tech investment story, and how to attract key investors along with good operations people to assist in paving the way towards a global tech company growth and roll-out. Ivan could distil and simplify a complex story by cutting through the noise and identifying what we do and aligning this with what investors needed to know.
Corporate and Commercial Strategy: Gustavino Capital quite simply got us all on the same page so we could be successful going forward. They tidied everything up, as we initially struggled to identify what it was that was totally unique and attractive to our investors and shareholders.
Ideas: Ivan came up with invaluable ideas – Gustavino Capital is like the architect for the vision and foundation.
How do you see the most value-add or impact that Gustavino Capital had on your company?
Ivan brought a sense of reality and shed light on the road ahead by addressing the founder’s dilemma and showing us what we needed to do.
What and how would you describe Gustavino Capital’s value to others if you were asked to provide a reference?
The value of Gustavino Capital lies in their deep experience and insight, and they are a true value-add to any ambitious or aspiring global tech company. Gustavino Capital are not an investment or advisory passenger to the venture – they are integral to the success.
I should say that upon reflection I value Ivan’s input 10x more than I understood at the time while we were working closely together. For anybody considering taking on Gustavino Capital, you should be willing to listen and act upon the insights they provide, as they are unique and invaluable.
Reasons why you wanted Gustavino Capital to be involved:
Mentoring, helping with professionalism and etiquette. Ivan’s been around the world and seen a lot of things – if you are one of 1 in 100 people he sees that he chooses to work with, you are very lucky! If he takes you on, you should appreciate that you are very lucky and that he is a very precise guy who isn’t going to waste his time, so this is the first tick in the right box (not to mention he is also good fun to go out for a drink with!).
For any person involved in a tech venture or who wants to rebuild their company – working with Gustavino Capital is a great honour and privilege, as the mentoring ability and value of the experience and knowledge that can be gained is incredible. There is a lot more to Ivan than meets the eye!
Gotskill was brought to life by the Founder & Inventor of Skilltracker, Clive Langley, who identified a desperate need for tradespeople to be able to track their own skills and position themselves favourably, and not be compared to other candidates who presented resumes without any proven qualifications. Clive has 22 years of experience working globally with XLT, a SRC skill recognition certification (skillcard) verification system. This multi-award winning training provider has been the recipient of multiple international and national awards.
GotSkill is a unique and strategic skills trading platform allowing you to be seen on a global scale. It allows you to manage your certificates, verify your skills and find jobs in one place. Gotskill is also an online community for skilled workers as well as a social network where you can make friends, share your achievements, your daily experience, earning points and badges.
To learn more about Gotskill, you can visit their website: https://gotskill.co/