California Digital Signage CMS Start-Up Launches $250,000 Crowdfunding Campaign

squizzlogoA Pleasant Hill, CA startup called Squizz has started a $250,000 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to bankroll inventory and new features, and stimulate some sales and PR buzz in the process.

The campaign has a variety of levels, from $10 to $10,000 for something akin to a franchise or reseller set-up. The money would be used to purchase the core Android HDMI sticks the platform uses, fund development of a pro version of the platform and help with sales and marketing.

The pitch has so far netted only $364 as of this morning, but there are 35 days to go.

“The Squizz system has been on the market for over a year with great results. People love it because it’s so simple to use. But some of our users say, now that they are comfortable with Squizz, they want features. That is exactly what we had hoped for,” says Squizz CEO and founder Chris Oar. “We want two versions of Squizz Digital Signage, the simple and affordable one and one bundled with more sophisticated features called Squizz Pro. We feel crowd-funding and Indiegogo.com is the best way to drive some sales of our current app so we can turn that revenue right back into development of our new Squizz Pro App.”

The Squizz pitch is that its “system employs the use of a cloud-based content manager that can be accessed from any location. This is where users compile images, videos and document files to create their digital signage displays. What makes Squizz so cutting edge is the delivery system. The Squizz system uses Android stick technology, like the one pictured on the left, loaded with the Squizz app. This “Squizz Stick” can be plugged into any TV with an HDMI port and deliver HD quality content continuously.”

Sound familiar? Sure.

The problem with this sort of thing is that it’s a campaign to raise funds to solve a problem that’s already been solved, by scores of established companies. I entirely respect that there may be something special about the way Squizz allows users to do things, but ease of use and affordability are not mountains yet to be conquered in the digital signage industry. EVERYBODY says their platform is dead-easy to use and delivers an ROI.

Squizz is also trying to market a bundled offer that rolls the service in with the purchase of the HDMI stick. The problem here is that most end-users who are shopping around will know that stick is worth MAYBE $80 coming out of Shenzhen, but the bundle costs between $500 and $900.

If the company does get its funding (sorry, but really doubt it), it could and should put some money into graphic design, which I’d politely say lacks some polish.

And branding.

Every week I get emails from digital signage content management system start-ups looking for attention. And almost every time, I wonder what kind of market research was done (like competitive landscape and a gap analysis) before they put their heads down and started writing code. In short, there are already waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many CMS platforms out there. We don’t need more.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
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