This is the seventh article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Screenreach Interactive, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screenreach’s flagship product, Screach, is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.
By Francis Moran and Alexandra Reid
Last time we checked in with Screenreach, the company was dealing with issues at the Apple application store to launch the new version of its Screach application. After coordinating efforts with external organizations and working through the problems at hand, the team managed to push through to launch. Following in the wake of this recent achievement, the team launched Screach’s sister product, Screach TV, at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in May. CEO Paul Rawlings explains what he and Chief Strategy Officer David Weinfeld did at the event to gain favour with investors and media.
Never stop innovating
One thing we have learned from listening to the many startups in our Startup Story series is that new companies must never stop innovating if they want to survive. Following this advice, Screenreach didn’t call it quits after improving its Screach application. Instead, it listened to its market and in doing so identified a substantial pain that it wasn’t already addressing through its current service offerings. Smaller venues and independent restaurants were approaching the team to see if they could use Screach to develop their own personal experiences for their customers. But many explained they didn’t have the funds or development resources to support these initiatives.
Rawlings and his team decided they would fill this market need by developing Screach TV, an inexpensive hardware box that syncs a mobile device with any TV. With this box, any business can instantly offer its customers previously ordered and developed Screach experiences that can later be branded according to the needs of each business’s target demographic.
Getting the marketing right
The warehouse venue for TechCrunch Disrupt, which boasts an estimated 2,000 participants, housed for three full days some of the biggest startup talent the world has to offer. Although this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt was reportedly less busy than previous years, it was vital for the Screenreach team to make sure its newly launched Screach TV stood out from the crowd, especially in the highly competitive Startup Alley where startups vie for the attention of potential investors and journalists who troll for the hottest new startup talent and products.
While the messaging for the Screach app was challenging to craft due to its complexity, the straightforward Screach TV concept was a comparably easy sell, making it a great product to launch at the busy event. Sarah Athey, Screenreach’s marketing coordinator, collaborated with Rawlings and Weinfeld to simplify the messaging for the product for quick consumption to suit the needs of the event attendees who typically only make short stops at each booth before moving on.
“The audience needed to learn about Screach TV in a simple way without feeling bamboozled,” said Rawlings. “We stayed clear of buzzwords and stuck to a simple pitch.”
Once Rawlings and Weinfeld attracted an audience, they championed their product, and the power of customer interaction, by allowing attendees to play with Screach TV to further whet their appetites.
“We had a big TV on a stand set up with lots of Screach experiences,” said Rawlings. ”Attendees could play with the experiences on the spot, giving us a visual and hands-on interactive entertainment advantage, which goes down well at these kinds of exhibitions. It was far more than just a boring stand.”
Hooking the right audience
Rawlings and Weinfeld make a great team for events because they both have deep-seated passion for the product and complete knowledge of the company. While Weinfeld has the elevator pitch down pat and can succinctly and confidently explain the product and company to any journalist or investor, Rawlings, who founded the company and has had a hand in every aspect of the business from development to sales to marketing, is intimate with the company’s roots and knows every detail of the product and how it works for businesses. Together, they can tailor the messaging to the needs of every interest group and answer complex questions with confidence and unity.
“I know the business inside and out, but explaining it to others requires practice,” said Rawlings. “Articulating the business and exuding passion and confidence comes from experiencing the natural day-to-day flow of the business and having a hand in every part of it. I also listen intently to the needs and progress of each department and relay information from my own interactions to help refine the messaging further.”
While Rawlings has managed to successfully move the company further into the media spotlight without media training, this is an area that the senior team at Screenreach will be looking to develop in the very near future with the help of some industry experts.
In our next instalment, we’ll hear more about the company’s media training and its exciting moves to create a new PR program.