SXSW - © Merrick Ales
Sceenic-CEO Paul Bojarski © Hamburg Startups

London's Sceenic heading to SXSW with Hamburg delegation

Start-up's peer-2-peer TV brings viewers worldwide together in virtual reality, living room

The countdown to the world’s biggest creative festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), is now on with just weeks until events from March 9–18, 2018 in Austin, Texas. The London-based Sceenic start-up will be part of Hamburg’s delegation after the team completed an intense, six-month programme at the Next Media Accelerator (NMA) in Hamburg last year. Sceenic has close ties to Hamburg and the Hamburg Startups platform where it’s “watch together” software proved impressive.

“Hamburg is really a special place”

Paul Bojarski, Bojarskic, CEO of Sceenic, told Hamburg Startups in an interview: “Our connection to the wonderful and beautiful Hamburg started when Sceenic was accepted to the Next Media Accelerator (NMA) in February 2017. We lived and worked in Hamburg for six months, further developed the product and connected with corporates like NDR, Tagesschau, SKY, Axel Springer, Welt, Sport1 and many more via NMA’s managing partners Nico Lumma’s and Meinolf Eller’s network of connections.” And we noticed: “Hamburg has an outstanding media eco-system of corporates, investors, partners and organizations like nextMedia.Hamburg, NMA and Hamburg Startups that support small companies to grow and scale! It’s really a special place with everyone wanting to see companies grow.”

Watching television together again

But what is Sceenic aiming for?

Sceenic creates a virtual living room with its “watch together” software and brings families and friends together – regardless of whether they are in e.g. Australia, Japan, Peru or Germany. Borders do not matter and the sky is literally the limit. A webcam allows viewers to see and interact with each other in the virtual room. Bojarski, Jonny Williams, Chief Operating Officer and Aharon Yechezkel (CTO) are the brains behind the product innovation, which is based on human behaviour.

Inspiration from Volleyball World Cup in 2014

Bojarski hit on the idea for the video-peer-2-peer communication during the Volleyball World Cup in 2014. At the time, he was living in Argentina running MTV’s digital division. One day, Bojarksi and his father in London were watching the same match on TV and commenting it on together over the phone, albeit separated by 11,000 kms. Bojarski explained: “We moved onto a video call and could see each other and even open beers together ‘virtually’ via the video chat whilst still watching the same match. At this moment, the idea of ‘Watch Together’ was born and I left MTV to start working on it.” Four years later, the start-up has passed an important milestone and launched the world’s first “watch together platform” with their client Rogue – an esports organization.

Nominated for SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event

Sceenic has been nominated for the coveted SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event in the “Entertainment and Content Technology” category and will be pitted against four other finalists for the prize. Not surprisingly, the Sceenic team has other plans in the works: “The closer it (SXSW) gets, the more connections we are making with media companies in the United States that are looking to meet with us at SXSW. We plan to meet with media corporates that we can sell our watch together solution in the USA in order to bring it to the huge U.S. market. I want to check out the ‘New Media Day’ at the German Haus at Barracuda and also we will be part of some of the Great Britain Innovation events at SXSW, so I’m really looking forward to connecting with media investors and potential clients there.” Bojarski added: “I am really looking forward to seeing the whole Hamburg Startups Delegation family in Austin and showing there how great European start-ups are!”

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