Tech Innovators 2015: Captive Media Ltd

Captive Media Ltd are one of our top 20 Tech Innovators for 2015.

Captive Media Ltd are one of our top 20 Tech Innovators for 2015

Presenter: Gordon MacSween

Job title: CEO

Based in: London

Founded in: 2007

No. of Employees: 7

Gordon MacSween

Gordon is a graduate of Cambridge & Insead, and enjoyed a career in product marketing before starting his own business. He has spent five years researching and developing a product to help advertisers genuinely engage their audience, at a time when attention spans are on the wane. 

He has raised £2 million to complete the development and establish a UK ad network, based around the product.

Recent Milestones

  • Funding round 2x over-subscribed in 2014
  • Network size tripled in 6 months
  • Named MSN’s 2nd hottest UK start-up 
  • Revenues up 60% YOY
  • Upcoming Milestones
  • Reaching break-even in UK in 2015
  • Extension into new market segment

Background Profile

Captive Media is building a media channel to help advertisers reach 18-30 year-old male consumers. It does so in a way consumers welcome and remember, close to their point of purchase, and with accurate audience measurement. The company has worked with brands like Diageo, Apple and 20th Century Fox and has sales in 12 countries worldwide.

Inside track

Any man who has frequented a trendy bar or restaurant in the UK may be familiar with the work of Captive Media. Their flagship campaign sees male patrons aiming, quite literally, to engage with their product in urinals up and down the land.

During the general election politicians were in the firing line as their faces were used as targets by users looking to vote with their, well not exactly feet, to express their political allegiances.

CEO Gordon MacSween explains that focusing on men aged 18-35 quickly became a deliberate ploy for the marketing business. And that kind of targeted approach is paying dividends.

“Each ad campaign raises our profile further – the last being written up in Brand Republic, the Guardian and in titles overseas,” he says.

“We aim to reach break-even in 2015, which will prove the financial model, and then raise £1-2m to expand the network to scale.”

The company is looking to move forward in the near future through a mix of VC and private lease funding.

Recent Technology

Captive Media developed patented sensing technology to enable the consumer experience it envisioned (see below). This was built into a CE-marked product and integrated with ad-scheduling software. The resulting product is scheduled via the cloud and managed via a bespoke, internet portal.


The physical product consists of a 12”, high-definition screen, mounted at eye-level in men’s washrooms. It uses the patented sensing technology above to detect the presence and direction of the user’s stream, allowing them to control on-screen games simply by aiming left and right – hands-free – for as long as they last! Games are designed to accommodate branding, or are custom-built to fulfil a brand’s creative brief. When the game is not in use, a loop of video content plays, mixing RSS-fed live content and advertising.


Captive Media works with existing ad network operators overseas, supplying hardware, network services and sales collateral in exchange for license fees. In the UK the company works with a nationwide IT installation company, several award-winning game developers, two contract manufacturers and a Cambridge-based design consultancy to deliver a turn-key solution to its direct customers.


Founders 51%

  • Board and associated shareholder groups 25% incl :
  • London Business Angels Roundtable Fund
  • London Co-Investment Fund
  • Peter Cowley, Cambridge Angels
  • Rajat Malhotra, Wren Capital & London Business Angels
  • Mike Ullmann, Prodigy Finance
  • Frits Prakke, Alchemy Partners
  • Mike Segrue, Founder – Kinetic
  • Other angel investors 24%

Contact details

Postal address: Hallfield House, Back Lane, Little Waltham, Chelmsford CM3 3LX

Tel: 020-8123-1543



Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

Related Topics

Digital Innovation