in Canada, Prince Edward Island, Startups

ScreenScape – Software for screens in public places

I had a chance to catch up with Screenscape this week after they announced a new round of financing that came in just over $3million. The Prince Edward Island and Toronto based startup will be using the financing to expand sales capability and speed development.

Screenscape is a web-based tool that makes it easy to create one of the information displays that you see in shopping malls, doctors offices and other public places. Through a simple drag and drop interface you can create a “screen” and add news feeds, local information, and store specific information (such as sales, announcements, etc). They call it “the Google Adsense of place-based media” — and they have some interesting IP that backs that up. The content of a screen can also be tailored based on the overall “power” of the screen. That is: how many people see it, in which demographic?

The product has also been focused on being a “networked” tool from day 1: Venue owners can share content, advertisements and messages in a marketplace that makes it easy to cross-promote within a specific geography or with partners you select.

Before Screenscape there were a lot of options for software that would run a single display, or through which you could push content in a pre-determined way to a certain set of screens, but Screenscape is the first tool I have seen that helps decentralize content production, which makes using a display screen a far less daunting proposition for a smaller venue.

They also plan to add Foursquare and other integrations which could really help make things like Foursquare more accessible and useful for restaurants and retailers. Through the Foursquare API the restaurant could display things like the current mayor, current people checked-in and Foursquare-specific specials.

Mark Hemphill, the founder of Screenscape, first introduced me to the concept several years ago, before he had the company started or even the first product built. I had some concerns about the usual things: go-to market strategy, product focus and overall product-oriented execution. I was seriously impressed when I first checked in with Screenscape about a year later. The team had grown and so had the product. Mark’s dedication to building an incredibly refined tool for display-management seems to be paying off. The team continues to grow in both Charlottetown and Toronto.

The pricing, which starts at $10 a month, seems a bit problematic to me, but Mark tells me that they are selling more and more group licenses to brands such as Bauer which are higher volume deals.