Tech Pitch: Screach

Founder Robert Rawlinson explains how his TV screen solution will help pubs "survive and thrive", and shares the benefits of starting up in Newcastle

Company name: Screenreach Interactive Ltd (Screach)
Founder: Robert Rawlinson (47)
Background: Rawlinson has previously worked both for large multi-nationals – such as Sony and IBM – as well as several high-growth start-ups in the technology and digital sectors
Based in: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • Screach enables any venue with screens to transform them into a powerful sales and marketing platform.
  • We do this by creating an engaging, bespoke TV channel for the venue – which displays its own in-house promotions and events, and gives the business a share of the revenue paid by advertisers.
  • As well as driving greater footfall and sales for the venue, our cloud-based solution allows customers to engage with the channel through an app – playing their favourite songs through an interactive jukebox and taking part in quizzes.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

TV screens are becoming more and more commonplace in venues, as businesses seek to exploit the greater potential of a digital format over static media. Screach allows businesses to use their TVs to communicate with and entertain their customers – and engage with them further through their smartphones.

We chose to start with pubs as this is a sector that faces a number of challenges, and pub groups (as well as tenant landlords) recognise that the introduction of new technologies can attract customers. TV screens in pubs are often under-used, and Screach is designed to provide an easy to use and cost-effective solution (from as little as 82p per day) that increases customer spend and boosts profitability.

There are over 200,000 licensed premises in the UK, of which over 50,000 are pubs and bars – in which we estimate there are 150,000 under-utilised TVs.

How are you funded?

To date, Screach has raised equity investment of £3.7m. We’re currently undergoing a new wave of investment via crowdfunding. We’re looking to raise £550,000 in return for 15.49% equity in the business.

The funds raised will go towards accelerating the growth of our customer base as well as bringing new products to market.

What were you doing before starting the business?

I cut my teeth as an operations manager, working my way up through progressively bigger technology businesses, in a journey that eventually took me to New York as a Vice President for Sony.

But the creative challenge of running a new venture and high-growth businesses has always appealed to me. In 2009 I became managing director of Value Comparison Ltd, a price comparison tool for e-commerce businesses.

I’m passionate about using technology to empower businesses, and Screach is the embodiment of that drive. It allows pubs and venues to transform their TVs into a tool that doesn’t just boost sales and increase footfall – but also pays them a share of the advertising revenues generated.

It’s a disruptive, magnetic idea that I hope will play a crucial role in helping the ‘Great British Pub’ to survive and thrive.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

Newcastle is a great, vibrant, up and coming city – perfect for an innovative technology start-up. It’s long been a university city, but the last decade has seen it really evolve into a cultural and business hotspot.

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