To follow on from our maiden Tech Invest event, we’ve profiled some of the most exciting technology companies in the UK.
GrowthBusiness has now produced a new 2014 version of Tech Innovators, where we have again profiled some of the best technology ventures in the UK through interviews with founding entrepreneurs.
Based in: Copenhagen
Founded in: 2011
No. of employees: 20
Company founder: Christian Zigler
Christian Zigler is one of the most experienced entrepreneurs in new media and has been part of the Danish internet elite for more than 12 years. He is also the author of several books on marketing. Zigler also founded Preview Networks, which he sold to Rightster (UK) in 2013. He was voted by PublicisLive to be among the 300 most visionary people in online media.
Shopbox offers a simple online campaign service to turn the online and mobile audiences into physical customers. It became famous locally for developing a transaction loyalty infrastructure for shopping centres, and then migrated that technology to serve small merchants. The business now provides the software infrastructure for hundreds of shops to convert online users into loyal offline customers.
Simplifying and improving the shopping experience is the main target of start-up venture Shopbox.
Despite being founded and based in Denmark, the business and its founder Christian Zigler are firmly positioning the business at the UK and US markets.
Significant traction has already been achieved in its native market, through collaborations with local newspapers and shopping centres, and how the business is set to land its first large shopping centre chain in Britain.
‘That would be the first key partnership and client in the UK for us. We have to put ink on contract but it should happen,’ Zigler says.
‘It makes sense for new shopping centres to start out with this to differentiate themselves rather than just having a physical presence.’
Zigler set up Shopbox using capital from the sale of his last business (Preview Networks) and was then successful in garnering innovation money at a very early stage. ‘We have a very generous government,’ Zigler admits.
‘Then I got a media company involved and they have given us a lot of intel into the whole newspaper industry.
‘They have retail chains and shopping centres as clients. Normally they say you shouldn’t do this kind of thing too early, but it’s been a tremendous experience and as an experienced entrepreneur I know how to word the contract so they weren’t getting a controlling share.’
Once the business is in the black, Zigler says that a move to London is on the cards – establishing a headquarters in the capital before raising a large investment round to go after the US.
‘The VCs are really scared of the Groupon-type businesses so the biggest obstacle for a business like ours is scalability.’
- Received $670,000 in funding from The Danish Innovation Fund and Christian Zigler
- Received $1.35 million in funding from North Media (Denmark’s largest publicly traded media company). Developed a deals infrastructure for one of Scandinavia’s largest shopping centres – Field’s
- Outstanding ROI – increased Field’s online visibility by 500 per cent and email permissions by 700 per cent
- Fully launch English version of site in EU and North America
- Unveil merchants app for business owners to moderate and control their Shopbox accounts and social media networks
- Close partnership with a large UK shopping mall chain
Shopbox has do-it-yourself software, which merchants can use to create and share a deal on social media and email in five minutes. It’s a scalable solution, which is also capable of handling chains with hundreds of shops. On top of that, it has also built an API to connect with other services and software.
- Three local newspapers in Denmark
- Three local cities in Denmark
- Steen & Str.m – Scandinavia’s biggest mall chain
- Christian Zigler
- The Danish Innovation Fund (DSI)
- North Media (Denmark’s largest publicly traded media company)