Tell me about Sceenic. What do you do?
In one word, we call it “togetherness”. Our passion is to allow friends and families to be able to watch online video, TV and experience VR together even when separated by distance. We call it “Watch Together” and that’s been our purpose since day one.
How did the idea come about and why?
In 2013, I was running digital for MTV / Viacom and they relocated me to Argentina but my parents were back in London.
The Volleyball World Championship finals were taking place and Poland was playing against Brazil. My dad rang me to watch it together. We started over the phone and eventually opened a video chat app to see each other and it was magical – even opening beers together as we watched the same match despite being 13,000 miles apart. That’s how the idea was born. Shortly after that I left MTV to start our journey.
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Who are your target clients and why? How many clients do you have and how do you monetise?
Our clients are mostly media companies, ranging from cable operators which carry all the live content to IPTV OTT platforms, all the way through to eSports organizations. We currently have six clients and charge a monthly subscription fee for our software.
What have you been up to since taking part in UKTN’s Elevator Pitch last year?
I could write a book about what has happened in the past four months, but the highlights have been working with Rogue, an amazing eSports organization on watching eSports together.
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We also won second place at Leaders Sports Business Summit in London at Chelsea FC and second place at [email protected] in Hamburg.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, but next week we are in the finals for the BT Sports Inifity Lab competition. I’m very proud of this as the winner will get to work with BT Sports here in London.
Tell me about your upcoming trip to SXSW.
I stopped going to huge events some time ago, but representing the UK at the upcoming SXSW finals in March is an honour.
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We will get to present to potential clients and investors and network with my US-based colleagues.
I’m also in talks with the Department of International Trade (DIT) from London to join their side events there too which will be great exposure.
Where do you see your business going in the next 12 months?
I see Sceenic going places where the eye cannot see or the brain imagine. On a more serious note, we definitely see us working a lot more with eSports clients (we have a few announcements coming up) and exciting media companies.
What challenges have you come across and how did you overcome these?
Running your own business is literally like climbing Everest. We’ve come across the same challenges everyone comes across, but have overcome these with the amazing help of organisations such as Innovate UK, KTN, Immerse UK.
We’ve also had great mentors like Robert Mollen, here in London; and partners such as Miguel Ferrer in the US.
What advice would you give to fellow tech entrepreneurs?
A great investor from the Aria Fund, Dariusz Lewandowski once said “be patient, be patient, it takes a lot of hard work and time to build a great company” and I would add to this:
1. Move fast (get product into real users’ hands when it’s still buggy and not perfect.
2. Don’t rent expensive offices at the start, start hot desking for free. These little costs will all add up and kill you.
3. If you go to networking events don’t just talk to the person you came with. You are not there for that. Make an effort to say hello to at least 25 new people. Don’t pitch them, just say ‘hello’.
And finally, work harder than anyone else you know. If you are in sales, wake up at 6am and be in the office at 8am ready to start sending emails so that you are ready to catchup with clients by 9am.
Remember to smile and laugh with your team and co-founders. Hug each other and you will keep strong through the tough times.