Avard created a cloud-based software-as-a-service platform that helps keep projects on time and budget, by tracking performance metrics, as well as asset and project management and providing a portal to easily search and apply for government grants.

After three years, SurePact is going so well that it has just closed a $2 million capital raise led by venture capital fund Future Now, which backs companies connected to the Microsoft product ecosystem.

SurePact employs nine full-time and three part-time staff and is being used by 16 per cent of the Queensland local government market.

However, Avard, who has four sons aged between 15 and 23, describes the experiencing of quitting her stable job to become a founder as being like “jumping off a cliff without a parachute”.

She initially decided to give the business a year and see how it went.

“It was petrifying. My eldest [son] was only 20 and he thought I was having a mid-life crisis,” she says.

“He said ‘can you just buy another horse and do more horse riding’? We had two kids in high school, two in uni, a mortgage and we were going back to one income.

“Your career prospects also aren’t what they are at 30. So I had mixed feelings, but excitement.”

While undertaking the Startup Onramp program, Avard says she “studied my butt off” and came out of the 12 weeks with the solid foundations of a business.

At each step of the way she says she “delivered more than it required” – establishing the contacts she would need to know and speaking to a lawyer while they were learning about the legal structures necessary to start your own business.

“Every project you hear of blows out in cost and scope and with SurePact, they track under,” says Avard. “You have a number of stakeholders on one platform and it provides full transparency.

“One client of ours has a $4 million airport upgrade project. When they establish it in the system, it asks them about specific risks and our algorithms track it and scores those risks… as they move through the [project] phases, everyone receives trigger warnings of tasks to complete.”

Future Now managing director Chris Lee says he became connected with Avard after being referred from one of its other portfolio companies, JESI.

“She has built a really strong product for the market, in particular for local government, where 78 per cent of organisations are still on spreadsheets,” Lee says.

“Megan was very self-aware that at some point she would need to bring on a strategic capital partner and we’re well-placed to help her expand and leverage that Microsoft relationship.”

The investment comes a year ahead of schedule for Avard, who had set out in her strategic plan that she wanted to bring on an investor by 2022, despite it being pushed back six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will go toward scaling the company by hiring more staff and entering new sectors.

“I don’t want to be stretched so thin that it becomes a negative. I was writing my own position description recently and I thought ‘oh my god, this person is so busy’,” Avard says.

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