With the charity sector facing immense pressure during the coronavirus pandemic, Playrcart CEO Glen Dormieux reveals how technology is coming to the aid of those who need it most.
Playcart first hit the spotlight because of big name backers and prized IP protection, now you are winning plaudits for your charity work… Explain the technology and who can it benefit?
In simple terms, our technology gives users the opportunity to purchase or donate whilst watching a video and from within the screen. For example, I see the new Bond movie trailer, I like it, I click within the video, I book and buy a cinema ticket… I literally make the key purchase before the trailer even ends. Quick for the individual, quick for the seller.
Now, turn that towards the charity sector and that instantaneous grab becomes crucial. People are well intentioned but time poor so if you can capture them instantaneously you’ve made a big difference.
We know you’ve hugely impressed stars like Nile Rodgers with collaborations in the charity sector. What were you able to achieve?
It is a hard time for charities at the moment and we have just tried to play our own role in helping. Nile is a legend and his work with the We Are Family Foundation and BRIT’s School is a real inspiration. We enabled viewers of his exclusive livestream event to donate within the stream itself, uninterrupted. I’d like to take this opportunity to appeal to any charities that are using video to generate awareness, hopefully we can help generate a few more donations for your worthy cause. We are here to help.
Have recent frightening global events changed your business?
Our solution is being taken much more seriously, especially as we are seeing mass behavioural change due to Covid-19. It is a time of immense change for every sector, but particularly for the tech and charity sectors. We have some exciting collaborative ideas underway and are trying to force positives in a dark period for the country.
Playrcart has fast become a hot name in the tech world – this ‘overnight success’ must have an interesting backstory?
Thank you, yes, it does! True, it has been an incredible six months for us – some of the most respected names in the industry have come on board, people like the internationally respected Peter Scott of WCRS fame and telco giant Telefonica. We’ve closed a funding round and we’re expanding.
However, the truth is the growth we are seeing today is the result of years of hard work and total belief that we are doing the right thing. Myself and Richard Mason – a phenomenal CTO who has aided Microsoft and Huawei in the past – have been perfecting things for a long period so it is nice to see the hard work now pay off.
Before the birth of Playrcart you were used to hanging out with music and film stars – has coping with the spotlight in the past been useful preparation for success?
Well, personally I avoided the direct spotlight at every opportunity. But I used to work regularly with famous faces. A good few years ago I worked for, and then eventually founded, my own digital agency. Our main clients were blue chip entertainment brands and we would manage tentpole releases from a marketing and press perspective. I collaborated with some brilliant companies – Disney, Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Universal Music, Def Jam Records, Island Records, many others. I worked closely with the artists themselves because names always help carry the message. Those were formative years for me. I leant a lot and the shoots of what we are building now began during those fun days.
Given the current shutdown and difficult financial times, do you think Playrcart is well positioned to help kickstart the live entertainment industry when the recovery reignites?
I do recognise that our technology can benefit consumers reaching brands and vice versa.
The immediate future of commerce belongs to companies and platforms that can deliver a seamless commerce and content package. Shoppable video experiences have been around for some years, but there are no winners in this space. This epidemic could change perceptions for brands and consumers of what’s possible forever. Both win in this scenario. Immediate shopping capabilities appeal to consumers who prioritise seamlessness. In this new world we find ourselves in, they demand it.
Though we are proud of our achievements you can never sit still. So we shall be bringing more capabilities online, such as integrating direct carrier billing – buy a product and add to your mobile bill. We have also already distilled our solution so that you can purchase directly within an RCS / 5G pushed notification.
What lessons have you learned from the heavyweight names who have joined Playrcart?
These guys have been around the block. They keep your feet on the ground as they have seen it all before and have the bumps and bruises to prove it. They are wonderful sounding boards as there are no substitutes for experience. They also provide stability and a form of governance which can not be underestimated as you grow.
What makes Playrcart unique?
For those with a technology knowledge, this is a video commerce SaaS platform. A video consumer can directly buy the product within the asset itself. That opens up endless possibilities for small businesses and blue chips alike.
Who are your business heroes?
I think what Jose Neves did and is doing at FarFetch is fantastic.
Experts have heralded your clever integration and monetisation across platforms – do you remember the first brainwave you had when you realised the missed opportunities that others had failed to notice?
I’m sure others have had a similar idea, it feels to me like an obvious solution. But acting on that impulse and believing in it so much that you are prepared to put your house on it, to shut down your own agency to focus solely on an idea… That is another thing entirely!
I’m a former marketing and PR expert, having run literally hundreds of digital marketing campaigns for many big brands, it struck me that there wasn’t a solution embedded within any video assets. Something inherently designed to create excitement and awareness around a particular event or film, game, cosmetics, clothing or music release. One that immediately targets the audience engaged with the content – an opportunity to buy, rent, book or donate directly within the asset itself. That seemed a lost opportunity. So I built a business that delivers exactly that.
In a year from now do you expect Playrcart to be commonplace across a wide variety of platforms? What does the future hold?
A year is a very long time in this space, especially amid the current crisis. You can only control what you can control yourself, but what I can say is that we are just getting started on our journey and I’m learning every day.
Playrcart could be heralded as another great British success story. As an inspiration to other startups, what tips and advice would you give to new aspiring Brit companies?
We’ve got a long way to go before we can ever claim that. However, I would say… Fail early, go with your gut, and let data support your decisions. Don’t seek perfection. Think as the end customer. Be comfortable with risk or failure – unfortunately most businesses will fail. Surround yourself with smart co-founders that you really like, as you will be spending huge amounts of time together. Exercise. Sleep well. Most importantly, just enjoy it.
HOW DOES PLAYRCART WORK? STEP BY STEP PICTURE GUIDE: