27 September 2018
Scottish Investment Bank case study: TVSquared
Back in 2012, TVSquared was an ambitious Scottish start-up with a vision to change the way advertisers measure and optimise TV. Today, with funding from a wide range of sources including the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the young company has grown to 90 employees. It has headquarters in Edinburgh and offices around the globe in London, New York, Munich, Tokyo and New South Wales.
Before the company launched, the success or failure of TV advertising campaigns was based on out-of-date, inaccurate information. Surprisingly for a £156 billion global industry, the sector had no accurate measuring and analytical tools. Instead, ads were bought and designed based on six-week old audience data.
Applying big data approaches to a new sector
Founder and Chief Executive Officer Calum Smeaton, along with a small team of data scientists, set out to change this. Based in Edinburgh, many of the team had a background in fintech and e-commerce. They used their knowledge of big data applications to create analytics tools that would help brands, agencies and networks buy and sell advertising based on accurate response insights. Rather than buying TV based solely on reach, advertisers could access performance insights and inform their TV buys based on what would drive the most impactful response in the real-world.
An international market
Megan Garnett Coyle is Marketing Communications Director for the company, joining them as they launched in New York in 2015. Megan comments, “It made sense to take our offer to the US market early on as it is the biggest TV market globally. Japan is the next largest, and we are working there too now. Our products have global relevance. Already more than 700 brands, agencies and networks in 70 countries are using TVSquared.
“On average, TVSquared clients optimize campaigns by 25%, reduce cost per response by 25% and increase sales and registrations by 30%.”
Holly McComb is the Chief Financial Officer, based at the Edinburgh office. “When I joined TVSquared in 2016 around £4m had been invested in the company during the first four years. With an ambition to grow rapidly, we needed to ramp this up. We were looking for new investment that would allow us to grow from a small business to a widely recognised solution.”
Since then the company has grown successfully and equity funding now totals more than £15 million. The latest round of £6 million was led by private equity partnership, West Coast Capital, and supported by SIB and existing investors.
Holly continues, “Altogether the company has tripled in size in the last two years, growing from 30 to 90 employees, but we are still just scratching the surface of the market.
“Funding from SIB has enabled us to be more flexible and responsive. We recently expanded into Munich with the acquisition of a company there. The availability of funds meant we could act quickly on this opportunity.”
“And right now, we are scaling up our sales team here in the UK, the US and in new markets, including Japan and Australia. Again, this is thanks to the additional investment made available.”
“Throughout we have found SIB straightforward to deal with. They were very clear about what they expected from us and overall made the process as easy as possible.”
Support with Research and Development
As well as the funding from SIB, TVSquared also benefited from Research and Development funding from Scottish Enterprise.
Holly comments, “Our R&D activities are based here in Edinburgh, which is the ideal place to recruit and train the specialists we need.”
“The TV market is changing very quickly and its product development which is driving TVSquared forward to maximise this opportunity. The R&D funding is enabling us to explore new approaches to develop both our current and new products to meet the needs of the market as it evolves.”
“Once again, we were impressed. The whole process was agile enough to meet the fast pace of our business.”
Set for the future
With both investment and continuing research and develop in place TVSquared is ambitious to grow. Kerry Sharp, head of SIB, said, “TVSquared is another example of an ambitious technology company starting in Scotland, successfully operating in international markets and attracting further investment to support its continued growth. We look forward to working with TVSquared as it continues to innovate and increase market share.”
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