Making it Work

GreyScout targets US to grow its online brand protection client list

The cloud software business, which monitors online channels for intellectual property infringements, has raised €1m in pre-seed funding and hopes to close its seed round before the end of the year

John Killian of Greyscout photographed at their offices in Athlone. Picture: Barry Cronin

GreyScout is a cloud software business-to-business company that works with brands such as Samsung and Nike to monitor online channels for intellectual property (IP) infringements. Those infringements can cover anything from counterfeit products to fake accounts on social media sites.

“We provide visibility of all our clients’ sellers, authenticating the product, and enforcing the listings. If infringing activity is found, we’ll contact the likes of Amazon or eBay to get the products delisted,” John Killian, co-founder of GreyScout, told the Business Post.

GreyScout, launched in 2020, was set up by Killian and Chris McAuley. It has ten staff and has offices in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin and on the AIT campus in Athlone. The founders aim to grow staff numbers to 23 over the next 12 months.

“In 2011, we were just coming out of the recession and I was helping retailers sell surplus inventory on eBay and Amazon. That was when I started to learn about authenticity issues and grey market selling,” Killian said.

“It became my job to work out where sellers were coming from and how they were sourcing the products. That was where I got the idea to make a scalable business out of it.”

The business went through the New Frontiers programme with Enterprise Ireland to define the foundations of the company.

“That was our first step, then we joined the high-potential start-up unit (HPSU). The investment committee signed off on funding for us last year,” Killian said.

Including the Enterprise Ireland support, the business has raised €1 million in pre-seed funding and has begun its seed round with the goal of closing it before the end of the year.

“We launched six weeks before Covid hit so it wasn’t great timing, but the silver lining was that brands started to recognise that e-commerce was mission critical to their businesses rather than something that was nice to have,” Killian said.

“We were lucky in that we had some paying customers from day one and got a break in the middle of 2020 with Samsung. We provided them with a free trial period and, in return, we were allowed to reference them as a client in sales emails. We leveraged the hell out of that for a few months. It really opened up some doors.”

That traction has helped the firm generate interest from angel investors through the HBAN network. A new product release is due in early 2023 as the business seeks to expand into the US market.

“That will be our primary market going forward. We’re looking to have a US sales office set up next year, on the east coast. It will most likely be New York, but Boston would also be suitable for us,” Killian said.

“From there we can expand with our existing customers and attract more customers through the US. We should have that well established by this time next year. We’ve got some marquee logos that we can brag about that will help attract more mid-tier businesses.”

This Making It Work article was produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland