Captive Media

Pissing Money Up A Wall? Captive Media’s Interactive Urinal Gets Crowdfunded

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Captive Media, the UK interactive washroom startup (seriously), has raised a further £250,000 (circa $400k) in funding via the equity crowd funding platform SyndicateRoom — adding to the $700,000 it raised a year ago.

It says over half of the new funding comes from professional Angels, led by Peter Cowley and Mike Ullmann, with the rest made of ordinary punters who have invested as a little as £500 a pop, in return for a total 9.4% equity. With crowd funding, it seems anybody can piss money up a wall these days. That’s progress.

Launched in late 2011, Captive Media works on the premise that the average 55 seconds a man stands in front of a urinal during each “visit” to a public washroom is a wasted advertising opportunity, especially since the audience is so captive. Its solution is an interactive media system installed above each urinal, which uses an infrared beam to enable simple games and quizzes to be “pee controlled”. Basically, punters are asked to aim left and right as they interact with the Captive Media system, and get shown ads — sorry, engagement marketing — in return.

As we’ve noted before, the “technology” is potentially quite clever, too, since it can be retrofitted to most urinals; nothing is installed onto the urinal itself except washable stickers to mark the interaction points, while the infrared beam takes care of the rest.

It was an idea that was pitched by Captive Media on the BBC TV show Dragons’ Den last September, only for the Dragons to declare themselves out. But, as is wont to happen, other investors stepped in, with Cambridge-based technology fund Martlet, and serial tech investor Mike Ullmann (chair of Prodigy Finance), going on to invest in the UK company, amongst others.

Advertisers seem to like the concept, too, particularly (and unsurprisingly) drinks companies, including Heineken, Tiger, Corona, and Pepsi.

Urinal loop, anyone?