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AmazingCo: A startup powering human connection during the pandemic

Image Credit: AmazingCo

AmazingCo: A startup powering human connection during the pandemic

In the face of extended lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, AmazingCo is helping people make the most of their time. The Melbourne-based company is an experiences platform that helps people spend their leisure time in ways that increase life fulfilment. 

Using its technology platform, the company creates experiences from the get-go and provides meaningful recommendations.  

Silvia Hope & Jeremy Cox and co-founder Nick Brozovic launched the company in 2012 as a children’s party provider. Since then, AmazingCo has expanded into a platform that offers experiences, such as mystery picnics, dog-friendly bar crawls, backyard movie evenings, and (most recently) unique at-home experiences for families and friends to enjoy while in lockdown. 

The company raised $2.3 million in seed capital in June 2018 to expand the business internationally. Currently, the startup operates across the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Dynamic Business spoke with AmazingCo’s co-founder Jeremy Cox about the company’s journey, and how they aim to help people during the pandemic.

What are your thoughts on the recent lockdown, and how has it affected AmazingCo?

“There are some significant differences for us when you compare this lockdown with previous lockdowns we have experienced as a nation. 

“Last year, the lockdown effects were felt globally and we had all 50+ cities we operate in across Australia, UK and US in lockdown.

“This year, while one city may go into restrictions, we have other cities that are open and thriving and in fact, we’ve seen every single city hit record levels post lockdown. 

“The reality is that we’re still needing to navigate the impact of lockdowns, and it is a weekly, almost daily, challenge to assess what experiences we can offer in each location but we have become very good at doing this. 

“During the lockdowns, we faced last year, there was a really high level of uncertainty around how leisure time activities would rebound. 

“This time around, we know that consumers are desperate and hungry for meaningful, local, small-batch experiences that get them out into the world with their loved ones – so we know we will hit record volumes post lockdown. 

“That allows us to see through short term lockdowns and invest harder into how we capitalise on when things open up. 

“Finally, in the first wave of lockdowns, we invested in a range of experiences for people to enjoy in their home or as ultra-local activities around their home.

“Today, we have a full suite of amazing at-home experiences people can do in a covid-safe environment, within the comfort of their own home. 

“This means we can keep delivering on our mission to keep people connected and we are definitely going to be back, with the perfect offering post lockdown.”

How did you navigate the business during snap lockdowns? What was the biggest lesson?

“For us, the biggest lesson was in listening to our customers and seeing the evolution of customer behaviour. 

“A year ago, most people were quick to cancel their experiences and seek a refund, which hurt the business and affected cash flow.

“Today, people are generally opting to postpone or reschedule rather than seek refunds as they know lockdowns don’t last forever. 

“It has made a massive difference to cash flow and means we have been able to keep our full team intact and not have to resort to standing people down for example because we know with confidence that things will rebound quickly.

“In fact, we have even managed to double the size of our team compared to pre-pandemic levels.

What happens after the lockdowns are lifted, and the COVID-19 situation gets better— what are the changes you hope to see in the way Australians experience life after the pandemic ends?

“When the pandemic hit, people were talking about a hypothesis that leisure time had changed forever. 

“While it may be true in some small way, we still believe at the very top level not much has really changed.

“We are still social creatures; people still love getting together in big groups, that’s why sporting events continue to fill stadiums, and music festivals are selling out despite the situation. 

“We are clearly seeing pubs and restaurants book out almost instantly post lockdowns. And we’ve seen peak demand for AmazingCo’s out-and-about experiences immediately after announcements around lockdowns lifting.  

“The more subtle shift that we think will play out is that people will remain more conscious of how they are using their freedom and spending their time. 

“Perhaps people will start to reallocate some of the time and money they spend on Netflix and UberEats to getting out and bonding with their loved ones more.

“Perhaps the next time there is a birthday celebration, people will make the most of it instead of letting it go by. 

“Essentially, we believe people will want to get more out of their leisure time and there will be increased demand for doing more things that lead to greater connection.  

“It’s our mission to help people do well by creating experiences that are super easy to engage in and inspire people to get out with their loved ones to explore and connect. 

Who are AmazingCo’s existing backers?

“AmazingCo is backed by leading VC and angel investors. We raised our first external capital in 2017 and, over a couple of rounds since, have welcomed cornerstone VC investors Rampersand, Artesian and Macdoch into the company. 

“We also have backing from Aconex founders, Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot, along with Andrew Sypkes, Adam Schwab, Trent Cotchin, Hugh Williams and other wonderful angel investors.” 

Do you have any plans to raise funds in the near future?

“When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March 2020 it took a major toll on our revenue, which was down 95%. 

“Almost a year later, and we are now sitting at cash flow neutral – which is wonderful to see but not without a lot of future planning, hard work and dedication across the team.  

“Now that we are in this position, there are no immediate plans to raise funds.

“However, we have successfully launched AmazingCo in several major cities across the US and UK including Los Angeles, Boston, and London – our sights are set on expanding the brand further, so never say never to another round of fundraising.

Any plans to expand overseas?

“We are always looking to expand our business into new markets. Part of our growth plan is to expand operations across the US, having already launched in 30 major cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and most recently Philadelphia.

“On top of that, we are now operating in five of the biggest cities in the UK, including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. We have also just launched our first city in Canada.

“The plan is to get AmazingCo up and running in over 100 cities in the next 18 months.”

Do you have any new services in the pipeline?

“You bet! Each month, in every city, there are new original, exclusive experiences available. And as a secret pre-release announcement, our experience subscription product is about to launch in August!”

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