Screach, the UK startup that focuses on making TVs and other large screens interactive by way of mobile apps, has received $2.5 million in fresh funding to support the rollout of its ScreachTV product aimed at pubs and bars.
ScreachTV is designed to allow bar owners to make their TVs more engaging, combining a traditional digital signage offering with features that customers can get involved in. So, in addition to ads for offers available in the pub, there are feeds of news, sport and entertainment headlines; streams of relevant social content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, plus interactive experiences compatible with Screach’s mobile apps. These allow bars to offer quizzes, games, jukeboxes and the like via their screens.
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The company says that ScreachTV is already installed in more than 100 bars in the UK and USA, and the new funding will fuel a planned expansion across the UK and then abroad. The round has been raised from existing investor Northstar Ventures, via its Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, with participation from Hotspur Capital and others. To aid with the UK rollout, Screach has partnered with Bob Rudd Leisure, a company experienced in distributing gaming machines and pool tables to pubs and bars.
Screach’s technology goes beyond clubs and bars, with potential for applications in television, for example. However, given that the TV ‘second screen’ app market is largely unproven and crowded to say the least, opting to ‘disrupt’ digital signage could well be a more lucrative approach for the company. Still, while today’s funding announcement is specifically about expanding that part of its business, it’s still able to explore other directions too.
We’ve been tracking Newcastle-based Screach, which was formerly known as ScreenReach, since it graduated from the Difference Engine accelerator in Middlesborough, UK. Since then, it’s done US deals involving coffee shops and FOX Soccer, launched a developer platform, partnered with Bauer Media to bring location-based content to radio apps in the UK and allowed football fans to vote for ‘Man of the Match’ from their smartphones at stadiums across England.
Here’s a video from Screach, showing ScreachTV in action.