The Disruptors: Getting as many Thyngs out there as possible
PUBLISHED: 10:31 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:35 10 February 2020
Bridging the gap between the physical and digital world, Thyngs is the perfect business to kick off The Disruptors – a series of 40 videos highlighting businesses from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge which are changing the way business is done. Here we speak to CEO Neil Garner about what it takes to be a disruptor.
Tell us a bit about Thyngs.
Thyngs transforms any physical product, packaging or advertisement into an instant point of transaction. We have a technology platform that makes it quick and easy for brands and their printers and manufacturers to upgrade their existing products, packaging and merchandising for instant payments and loyalty via consumers' own smartphones.
Thyngs turns any ordinary object into extraordinary experiences that bridge the physical and digital worlds and differentiate your brand. Using any smartphone, consumers can receive personalised content and promotions without having to download an app
What was the opportunity that led to the launch of your business?
A conversation with the head of fundraising at British Legion was a lightbulb moment that highlighted the major challenges ahead for the charity sector due to the decline of cash and need to better engage with donors digitally.
The first charities we worked with included Break, Nelson's Journey and Big C locally, as well as Royal British Legion with Natwest Bank. We're now supporting many national and international charities plus working across a range of highly scalable markets beyond charity.
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How did you use invention and innovation to disrupt the market?
Having built pioneering near-field communication (NFC) technology business Proxama into a global leader, we had an excellent insight into the likely roadmap of Apple and Google. From the beginning we worked on building strong relationships with global players like Apple, Paypal, Worldpay and Stripe, and created the best possible platform.
What were the challenges you faced along the way?
Initial challenges have been mainly around raising early stage funding for a business and product that is designed to work scalably across a range of sectors. Unfortunately, many early investors didn't like the charity angle as an investment proposition. We're now going into Series A funding where we're dealing with more sophisticated investors, but there is definitely a middle ground between Seed and Series A which is difficult for fund raising, plus Brexit uncertainty is certainly making Angel investors a lot more nervous.
What are your plans for the future?
Global domination! Seriously, we've already got active presence in Asia and New York, and we're working with many global brands already. We really want to get as many Thyngs out there as possible to make interacting and paying with our technology as natural as contactless is today.
The Disruptors video series is being produced in association with the University of East Anglia and the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor.