Cyber safety start-up Family Zone launches $10 million IPO

Cyber safety business Family Zone, which allows parents to monitor and restrict their children’s internet browsing, will pursue an initial public offering to raise up to $5.5 million to ramp up its sales and marketing.

The company, which has developed a cloud-based control system that works across multiple internet-connected devices, will be valued at about $10 million when it lists in August.

In the last financial year, the business recorded only about $10,000 in product sales, but its product officially launched in March this year and has already locked in a number of major contracts with device manufacturers and telecommunication firms in the US and Asia.

Managing director Tim Levy, who is also the founder of Mo’s Mobiles, was inspired to start the business after his experiences with his own children.

“I had a couple of incidents at home with young kids that got me thinking about cyber safety technologies, and I found that it was really hard to implement protections that were sensible and workable,” he said.

“I was fighting with the kids about what they were accessing … the kids were getting addicted and staying up at night with the iPad under the doona, and then some of the content they were seeing, even on YouTube, was unacceptable.”

ASX mulls tighter listing rules

The Family Zone listing comes as the ASX is considering tightening the listing rules, effectively stopping very early stage companies from listing.

The consultation period on the changes ended late last month, but the exchange is yet to announce a decision on the proposed changes.

Under the changes companies would need to have either $5 million in net tangible assets, a market capitalisation of $20 million or profits of $500,000 in the past year to qualify for the exchange.

The ASX has previously indicated that if the rules were approved, it would try to implement them by September. Family Zone would not meet the market capitalisation test or the profits test, but would still be able to list if it has more than $5 million in tangible assets.

The Family Zone product works with all devices connected to a home network, including mobile devices via an app.

Mr Levy is also targeting third-party access providers such as telecommunications firms and device manufacturers, which will be able to run the software and offer it as a service to customers.

The company has locked in deals with a device manufacturer in southern California, which sells its products throughout the US and Europe, and a company that provides internet to college buildings in Texas and a telecommunications business in South East Asia.

“A key part of the commercialisation strategy is working with partners such as ISPs [internet service providers] and mobile carriers to allow them to quickly resell the Family Zone,” Mr Levy said.

The company expects to start seeing results from the Asian carrier deal in this half of the new financial year. In the next 12 months it will also be focusing on building its sales in Australia and establishing a physical presence in the US state of Texas.

Family Zone has recently appointed tech veteran John Sims as chairman. Mr Sims was previously Groupon’s software engineering head and has also served as BlackBerry’s global sales president.

By: Yolanda Redrup
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