Saturday 18 January 2020

We track the ones to watch: Kealan Lennon

ROISIN BURKE

Kealan Lennon is heading to Silicon Valley soon to drum up fresh funding for his greeting card startup.

Originally a business-to-business direct marketer, Cleverbug is now chasing Facebook's one billion subscribers, and has evolved into a social-media-driven card retailer.

Synching with Facebook's timeline function, it prompts users on their friends' 'life events' so they can send personalised card for birthdays, engagements and so on.

"It is a €21bn market," says Lennon. "We think we can fundamentally disrupt that, thanks to the explosive growth in smartphone use in the last 12 months."

Having spent a year building the back end infrastructure, Cleverbug launches its App on the App Store within the next two weeks. It allows users to create a personalised card that is printed and shipped within 24 hours to anywhere in the world.

Cleverbug raised €2m last year and will seek new funding of up to €15m to finance technology and distribution development. Lennon is going to Silicon Valley to woo investment suitors.

"We've had offers from tier one VCs there who love our business model. I genuinely think we could get it to a billion dollar business in five years' time," he says.

Lennon has a history as a high level dealmaker and is a founder of investment firm K Partners. Cleverbug won 'Best Digital Startup' at last week's Spider awards.

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