With the help of Nesta’s Creative Business Mentor Network, Screenburn Media has grown the business, formed a board comprised of major industry figures and secured $500,000 in angel investment.
The mentee company’s challenge
Screenburn Media founder Tom Raffe applied to Nesta’s mentoring programme very early on in the development of his business. He recognised that his background was largely on the technology side and that he needed help and advice to create an entertainment-based product. In particular, he was looking for an insight into working with studios and distributors.
The mentoring process
We teamed Tom up with Howard Kiedaisch, CEO of Arts Alliance Media, a worldwide leader in digital cinema. With a stellar background in the film and music industries, Howard was the ideal candidate to guide Tom through the development and growth of Screenburn.
Howard and Tom chose an informal mentoring process, with monthly meetings at a local pub. Despite the casual setting, Tom followed Nesta’s advice and was always prepared with an agenda and action items, as well as thought out and valuable questions.
The process grew organically as the company developed and as new issues and challenges appeared, which Tom enjoyed and worked hard to solve. Howard found the process very satisfying and felt that mentoring was a great way to use his knowledge and experience to help someone else. He said: “There have been times in my career where I faced a challenge and wish I had had someone who had 'been there, done that' who I could have bounced ideas off of.”
Results and lessons learned
Howard quickly realised that Tom was the genuine article: committed, professional and proactive. He happily opened his contact book to Screenburn and worked with Tom to refine the business strategy and plan, helping him to focus and target his approach.
With this support, Screenburn has secured $500,000 in angel investment, and Howard has joined the board of directors, along with Zodiak Rights Chief Executive and fellow Nesta mentor Steve Macallister, whom Tom was introduced to at a Nesta mentor event.
Screenburn Media has launched over 200 films on Facebook and is now bringing high profile music artists, sports and TV series to an international audience via digital streaming. The company is also investing in a robust mobile strategy as VOD continues to evolve.
Howard’s work with Tom was crucial in preparing the startup for significant funding and investment. He said: “I think Tom grew over the last year and matured as a business person. All credit is due to him as it’s his dedication, sacrifice and commitment that has got him to this level.”
When he launched Screenburn in December 2012, Tom never dreamed that, just over a year later, he’d have achieved so much. He felt that the match with Howard was perfect and he can’t wait to see what the future brings. “Having the collective support of a tremendously experienced board behind us is incredibly validating,” he said. “We’re very excited for the year ahead!”