Entrepreneur Tom Singh is one of a number of investors to participate in the company’s £800,000 seed funding round.
VenueScanner, the online venue marketplace, has raised £800,000 in its opening round of seed funding, doubling its £400,000 target.
The ambitious start-up is on a mission to re-write the event-organising rulebook by creating a simpler venue hire experience for both event organisers and venue owners.
Its vision is backed by investors across a range of sectors including Angel CoFund (funded by British Business Bank), Tom Singh (founder of New Look) and Phil Burks (founder of Big Yellow Storage).
The funds will be used to develop the site’s design and user experience as well as trialling new, innovative features with its ‘PA Members Club’ - a select group of its personal and executive assistant customers whom help shape the company roadmap.
The investment will also be used to further support its nationwide roll out as it expands into one new major UK city each month.
Rebecca Kelly, co-founder and former head of digital growth at Majestic/Naked Wines, said: “Digital marketing in the venue and events industry is still in its infancy, leaving a hugely exciting opportunity.
“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.”
The VenueScanner story began in 2015 when Rebecca Kelly and Benjy Meyer became frustrated by the inefficient and expensive venue booking systems they regularly encountered when trying to book office Christmas parties, team away days and workshops.
They found that the majority of the UK’s most interesting, unique and affordable spaces were hidden and barely discoverable, let alone bookable online. They set out to solve this with a focus on creating a self-serve platform, enabling direct interaction between event organisers and hosts.
By June 2016 VenueScanner was live. Using digital marketing and data automation expertise, Benjy and Rebecca were able to quickly grow their user base. Within four months VenueScanner had signed up over 3,000 spaces - a feat that many of its competitors took 2-3 years to achieve.
The site 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.
Speaking about the raise, Singh said: “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.”
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