An innovative North East based technology company has secured funding to transform the way audiences engage and experience leisure, visitor, and sporting attractions.

County Durham based Growth Capital Ventures has successfully facilitated £150,000 seed investment into n-gage.io, a highly customisable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) audience engagement platform powering immersive, engaging, and educational mobile-web experiences.

The funds will be used to drive the development of the technology forward and support n-gage.io’s market entry strategy. The funds are in addition to £150,000 worth of resource provided by Growth Capital Ventures through its GCV Labs venture builder division.

n-gage.io – led by entrepreneur Bryan Hoare and incubated by GCV Labs – aims to transform audience experiences through a highly customisable, data insight driven SaaS platform with an integrated mobile-web application. This will help operators deepen their audience and visitor engagement, deliver powerful insights, and increase customer lifetime value.

The County Durham business, whose team combines market leading technology with decades of experience in digital media and mobile technology, has already begun work with a range of pilot customers across both the attraction and sport sectors.

Norm Peterson, co-founder and chief executive of Growth Capital Ventures, said: “Once developed, this new platform will give attraction and venue operators at all levels the ability to affordably embrace the power of technology to improve audience engagement both before, during and after a visit, with real-time evaluation tools to gain valuable insights.

“This has been a great opportunity to invest at an early stage and a highly scalable business focussed on innovation in digital media and mobile technology. This initial investment will accelerate the development of the technology and allow the company to scale up the team to drive the business forwards.”

Around the world, venues and attractions are constantly evolving. In 2020, 84% of UK adults owned a smartphone. But with over 5,500 visitor attractions in England alone, contributing to over £56 billion in domestic day trip spending, only 18% were using any form of mobile app prior to the pandemic.

n-gage.io’s founder and CEO Bryan Hoare said: “Mobile optimised experiences strive to increase engagement, yet many are still lacking innovation in technology and content delivery, failing to meet audience expectations. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of technology more than ever; showing how important it is to maintain links with your audience when a national and global crisis disrupts business.

“While the pandemic has accelerated views around technology adoption, more needs to be done to address market affordability and ease of deployment where low levels of technical expertise and lack of resource are often barriers.

 “We’re developing n-gage.io to transform audience engagement and the visitor experience leading to more loyal and engaged customers for our clients.

“Through our technology we’ll be improving the experience, deepening learning and engagement and building audience loyalty and ultimately revenues for the operator.”

Bryan added: “We have proved the concept and have had constructive discussions with operators across sport and visitor attractions. We’re working alongside a number of local pilot partners including Northumberland Zoo to help develop a digital experience with a focus on education.”

Kate Dearlove, director of media and content at n-gage.io added: “Our content experiences can also provide focus, delivering engagement in such a way that people’s lives are enriched. We can do so much more with technology for education, bringing our heritage and culture to life for community benefit.”