Newcastle tech firm Screach lands funding to continue pub market drive
Newcastle-based tech firm Screach is hoping to continue its drive into the pub market after completing a £1.13m funding round.
The firm, which provides a data-driven digital marketing platform for venues, has received backing from existing investors including Northstar Ventures and Hotspur Capital, as well as new capital from Max Capital Partners, the Angel CoFund, and a small group of high net worth individuals.
Screach enables retail and leisure venues to increase footfall and sales by utilising data to communicate relevant and interactive content through a variety of channels, including venues’ television screens, venue wifi, and customers’ mobile devices.
The firm says that organisations using its systems have reported sales increases on promoted products by as much as 53%.
Working with Marston’s plc, the pub group now has a network of more than 3,000 television screens in more than 1,500 venues, resulting in subscription revenues doubling over the past 12 months.
In June 2015, it announced a three-year agreement with BT Sport to provide an exclusive free service to subscribing pubs.
Robert Rawlinson, CEO at Screach, said: “Britain’s pubs face ever-increasing competition for consumers’ leisure time and spending, and forward-thinking owners and managers are realising the potential of new technologies to help them better understand and communicate with their customers to increase footfall and sales.
“The majority of pubs are not yet offering business-grade smart wifi services, but they can open up a potential wealth of data. This can be used to tailor dynamic, relevant, and interactive content – such as promotions, information, or local third-party advertising – to be broadcast via venues’ existing television screens, a typically underutilised asset.”
Rawlinson said that the new round of funding will enable the company to build on this success in the pub market, and to target large addressable markets in other sectors.
“We see great application for Screach’s dynamic, data-led, and content-focused approach to digital signage across the broader hospitality sector, as well as in retail – both in individual stores and in shopping centres” he explained.
“Meanwhile, the ever-increasing popularity of ‘in-play’ betting on live sport creates interesting opportunities in gaming and gambling. This funding will also help us take on more opportunities outside the UK.”
Alongside the completion of this funding round, James Dickson joins Screach as Chairman. Dickson brings a wealth of experience of the brewing industry, and in particular its relationship with the on-trade, having previously held senior roles at Whitbread, Heineken, and Vianet, an AIM-listed technology company that provides solutions to the on-trade and vending markets.
Tim Mills, Investment Director at the Angel CoFund, added: “Screach has demonstrated the ability to empower pubs and bars to communicate more effectively with their customers and, by doing so, significantly increase their sales.
“The potential to take Screach’s tested platform and transfer its technology to other sectors, as well as the company’s longer-term plan to establish itself as a digital advertising network, made this a team and a company that we wanted to back.”