The Newcastle-based developers behind a social media app that delivers personalised messages to users’ televisions have secured a £350,000 investment.
i-Spy Digital received the backing from Northstar Ventures’ Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund.
The firm’s system, Care Messenger, is aimed largely at the elderly, who may not be confident with computers, smart phones and tablets, but spend more time than any other demographic in front of their TVs.
i-Spy chief executive, Paul Slaughter, said: “Now the older generation, the housebound and the disabled can be more connected to loved ones, receiving messages and pictures on their familiar TV.
“Their children and grandchildren can, for the first time, start simply messaging gran from their smart phone, tablet or from a web browser from anywhere in the world – a sort of ‘Instagran’!
“Once the family has downloaded the app and bought the Care Messenger set top box, any number of relatives and supporters can send unlimited messages, all for a small fixed monthly charge.”
The system can also be used by domiciliary care providers or healthcare professionals to remind their clients about visits or to check if they will be at home. Even housing associations and landlords can use it to conduct surveys or send news to their tenants.
Slaughter added: “The investment we have received from Northstar Ventures is going to be very beneficial for us – three new jobs are being created, and now we can really start to focus on marketing and advertising, and also important patent costs.”
Northstar focuses on building high growth businesses across the North East. The Accelerator Fund is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.
Northstar investment manager Rebecca Roberts said: “I am really happy to be working alongside Paul and his team – the company is doing well and will thrive with this new investment. i-Spy Digital and the team are planning to visit the USA in partnership with UKTI, where there is already huge interest in the system.”