28 Jun 2013
A Birmingham company which – through digital platforms – delivers stories that change based on audiences’ reactions, has secured investment funding.
Portal Entertainment is a digital entertainment company based on Birmingham Science Park. Founded in 2010, Portal is capitalising on the growth in tablet devices and the ever-increasing demand for “on the go” entertainment.
Venture capital specialists Midven have financed the deal through its Early Advantage fund, working alongside a number of other private investors.
Portal Entertainment blends writers, psychologists and technologists to deliver stories requiring audience participation. “Immersion” is a patented storytelling platform that allows Portal to tell stories over multiple platforms and, more importantly, change the direction of those stories based on the audiences’ anxiety levels.
Julian McCrea, founder and chief executive of Portal, said the digital entertainment sector, and demand for “on the go” entertainment in particular, had “huge potential”, and Midven’s investment came at a time when the firm was looking to accelerate its growth.
“We have spent much of our time developing technology, platforms and content, as well as relationships with like-minded concerns,” he said. “We’re now at a stage where we are rolling out our products – suspense thrillers for digital platforms where the audiences can actually take part in the story. There is a distinct and clear demand for immersive products where the user, and their reactions, become an integral part of the story and keep people who take part completely hooked.”
The investment will help Portal complete the innovative film selection app www.thrillmenow.com, which helps viewers select a film to watch based on their emotional response to the trailer. The funding is also supporting the development of The Craftsman, a new immersive thriller iPad app.
“The growth in iPads and other tablets, including smartphones, coupled with the ever-increasing mobile workforce, mean the demand for such entertainment will only grow. We are at the very cutting edge of this and help for companies like ours through investment and practical knowledge and support is vital if we are to capitalise on our situation and continue to expand.
Steven Greenall, investment director from Midven, said: “This is a fantastic example of a cutting edge company at the heart of the West Midlands developing innovative uses of software to improve viewers’ access to quality content. What they are producing is not just exciting, but will help people find the content they want to watch and provide a platform through which they can truly engage.”