Tech Pitch: Snizl

Facebook says posts from businesses who don't pay for advertising will soon stop appearing in customers' news feeds - but this start-up has a solution...

Company name: Snizl Ltd
Founder: Chris Hill (50)
Background: Hill launched an electrical goods business at 17, and has since gone on to build and sell a successful bar chain, invent the world’s first heated pizza delivery bag and build a successful web and marketing company.
Based in: Nottingham
Launched: 2014

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

  • Snizl allows businesses to post deals, promos, events and competitions to a willing, local audience in real-time – while keeping all of the sales revenue for themselves.
  • Snizl builds an audience unlike any commercial platform before it. It is packed with viral loops that add thousands of users at a pence cost per acquisition.
  • Snizl gives businesses the power to capture an interested audience and easily contact them via powerful lock-screen alerts.
  • Business owners can add friends, staff and customers as promoters, and then incentivise them to share word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer recommendations about the business to their own social networks.

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

Quite soon, the Facebook news feed will be unrecognisable as a place to connect with customers, and businesses’ link to the market will be severed.

Snizl allows businesses to promote brands via peer-to-peer, word-of-mouth recommendations on Facebook and other social networks.

Through the platform, promoters are enabled to share posts for incentives (or just for love), and the business can see an analytic of how many ‘post views’ each promoter achieves – allowing the business owner to reward people who actually make a difference to their business.

Snizl also enables business owners to connect in real-time with customers who follow them on the platform, and allows the business to contact followers via powerful lock-screen push notifications.

Is Snizl funded?

Yes, over £1m has been invested so far by seed investors.

What were you doing before you started Snizl? 

My first business at 17 (retail electrical goods) made enough money to buy out the family business, stopping my parents from losing the family home. I went on to build and sell a successful bar chain, invent the world’s first heated pizza delivery bag and build a successful web and marketing company.

After building great websites for people with my company Weweb, I became very frustrated with the ‘field of dreams’ expectations of valued clients. If you build it they won’t come!

I interviewed over 300 businesses about their issues with digital marketing and concluded that they had all tried something digital – a website, a Facebook business page, Groupon – yet all had failed at utilising digital to successfully generate customers and profits.

No-one has the time, money or knowledge to keep up with digital trends and business owners were tired of falling for the same old sales pitches.

I asked the question: What would be the ideal product that you would buy and use? The answer that came back was surprisingly simple, yet no one had created it:

“I want to take a picture of something to promote in my business when I’m quiet, add a few words and send it out. Then people just walk through the door.”

So I built that, creating Snizl. Little did I know when I started that I would be setting out to disrupt several billion dollar markets.

We look at Snizl feeds as vertical markets: localisation and real-time information is key here, so as the software expands, we can add more feeds. Events, accommodation, jobs and vehicles are very much in our sights.

These markets are all controlled by one major player who has their hand firmly in the pocket of small business owners. Snizl will change that on a level playing field, giving back the profit and power to the business owners, where it belongs.

What’s the best thing about being based in Nottingham?

We have a floor in an old mill; real tech start-up stuff – bags of space, pool tables, et cetera. Nottingham is a lively town with loads of local talent just spilling out of the universities. We love it here.

Although, we did spend four months beta testing Snizl in California with a willing media partner, so we know we have a software platform that is fit for world markets.

For more on starting a business in Nottingham, take a look at our comprehensive guide for all you need to know about launching there.