'Skyscanner of venue discovery' raises £800k for expansion
A tech start-up dubbed the ‘Skyscanner of venue discovery’ has raised £800,000 as it gears up for a nationwide roll-out, with plans in place to expand into a new major UK city each month.
VenueScanner has secured the investment in its opening round of seed funding, which was backed by numerous investors including Angel CoFund (funded by British Business Bank), New Look founder Tom Singh and Phil Burks, founder of Big Yellow Storage.
Along with supporting the company's expansion plans, the funds will be used to develop the site’s design and user experience as well as trialling new innovative features.
“Digital marketing in the venue and events industry is still in its infancy, leaving a hugely exciting opportunity,” co-founder Rebecca Kelly said.
“We often see individual venues paying >£3 per click on google, with no guarantee of a booking. We’re here to help venue hosts reach high value audiences and connect with event organisers at low cost.
“With funding in place, we’re now able to fully potentialise our digital marketing expertise, rollout to venues nationwide and deliver an effortless online venue discovery experience for event organisers.”
VenueScanner was founded in January 2016 by Benjy Meyer and Rebecca Kelly, who have more than 18 years of experience in e-commerce and digital marketing respectively at major UK retailers.
The digital platform allows people to find, enquire about and book appropriate venues for any event.
The idea was born after Meyer and Kelly became frustrated by the inefficient and expensive venue booking systems they regularly encountered in London when trying to book office Christmas parties, team away days and workshops.
Meyer previously told BusinessCloud about his frustrating experience of struggling to find a suitable venue for a friend's wake.
VenueScanner now boasts a choice of more venues than any other platform in the UK, which range from universities, museums, school halls, pubs, community buildings, hotels and many more. It has also received enquiries from the likes of Facebook, Sainsbury’s, Uber and Airbnb.
Tim Mills, investment director at the Angel CoFund, said: "The challenge of navigating the marketplace for meeting spaces and events venues is a familiar one to many people and offers a great opportunity for a business that can ease friction for all of us when planning those important and special occasions.
"With VenueScanner the team’s vision of a simple, easy to use and comprehensive shopfront for thousands of places and spaces has really begun to take shape and is set to scale across the UK."
The start-up has also attracted investment - and praise - from New Look founder Tom Singh.
He added: "Rebecca and Benjy are enabling communication between organisers and hosts in a way that hasn’t been done before. They’re innovating the venue booking industry much like Skyscanner innovated the flight booking industry. I believe that in the not too distant future you won’t be able to have a meeting, event or celebration without checking VenueScanner first.”