Suffolk/London: Video on demand specialist Screenburn Media raises $500,000 from ‘angel’ investors

Tom Raffe, founder of Screenburn Media Tom Raffe, founder of Screenburn Media

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
3:29 PM

An entrepreneur from Suffolk has secured 500,000 US dollars-worth of investment − about £300,000 − in a video on demand platform which enables the sale of video content via Facebook.

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Former Debenham High School pupil Tom Raffe, from Crowfield, set up Screenburn Media in December 2012 after two years gaining industry experience with Microsoft.

His idea for the business had come to him earlier, during his time at university, when local cinemas were not screening an indendent film he wanted to see and he found himself unable to find it online either, even though he was willing to pay.

An app developed by Screenburn sits on an existing Facebook and enables content owners to sell directly to their existing Facebook fan base.

Having started out in the “indie” movies market which gave rise to the idea, Tom now plans to focus on the music, comedy and sport sectors, the potential audiences for which are larger.

The new injection of capital, which has come from a number of “angel” investors as a result of a funding round led by Lean Investments, will be used to help source high quality content, with early successes including films from Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones.

Among the investors are New Look founder Tom Signh and Michael and Simon Blakey from Avonmore Investments. In addition, Zodiak Rights chief executive Steve Macallister has also joined the Screenburn board, to advise on the company’s expansion, alongside Howard Kiedaisch, chief executive of Arts Alliance Media.

Tom said:“Our momentum has continued to build and we’re already looking to bring some great releases to Facebook this year from some high profile musical artists, as well as sport and TV series.

“Having the collective support of a tremendously experienced board behind us is incredibly validating and we’re very excited for the year ahead.”

Although Screenburn is based in London, the expansion has also strengthened its connections with Suffolk, with Luke Littleboy, from Bedfield, near Framlingham, and a former pupil at both Debenham High and Thomas Mills School High School in Framlingham, having been hired as marketing manager.

Steve Macallister. a formerly sales chief at BBC Worldwide, said: “There’s no question that much of the future of long form video content lies with digital streaming. Screenburn is exciting because it offers content owners an opportunity to reach out to people already engaged with a brand or a particular release online. In an age where physical releases are seeing a downward turn, finding additional revenue streams is now a real priority for many companies looking to promote content.”

Howard Kiedaisch, who has overseen cinema distribution of successful alternative content releases such as films by Coldplay and Pearl Jam, added: “Screenburn already has an established track record and it was exciting to see the team working with some great content owners from major record labels to independent film distributors.

“I’m looking forward to working with them as the company continues to mature and build on its existing portfolio of work.”

Pulse Films has used the platform to sell the Libertines documentary ‘There are No Innocent Bystanders’ on the official Libertines fan page.

Pulse distribution manager Anna Sissons said: “This is a great way for us to reach the artist’s fan-bases direct. It will also help increase our global distribution for each film and find new and lapsed fans that have not yet engaged in the theatrical & physical releases of each project.”

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