As part of a suite of support offered to SMEs during the pandemic, last year we launched the Digital Innovation Fund. The programme, which was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, was open to SMEs in the West of England region who were looking to digitally innovate.
Over the past 6 years, UWE Bristol has worked with thousands of SMEs across the region, helping them to grow and innovate. This has led to the investment of £10,000,000 and creation or safeguarding of over 1400 jobs. As well as offering funding, these programmes offer: dedicated one to one support for SMEs through the project design and application process; support in delivering a successful project once it’s been funded; and a series of workshops and hackathons.
The Digital Innovation Fund has successfully funded 36 companies, awarding grants of up to £40,000 and support to everyone who engaged with the project. Below we share the story of one the successful SMEs, Landmrk:
Landmrk allows artists and brands to create virtual ‘treasure hunts’ that encourage fans to explore the real world to find digital content. However, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the music industry and caused all touring to stop, ultimately halting business for Landmrk.
As the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, the reality of months at home set in. During these times there has been an even greater need than ever for escapism, distractions and (self-isolated) fun. Landmrk, often called Pokémon GO for music, diversified their offering and created the Virtual Tours product, with help from a Digital Innovation Fund grant, in response to this.
The Virtual Tours platform gives artists the opportunity to deliver a branded experience to their fans. As the tour rolls into town a hotspot will open up at the venue. Fans within travelling distance of the gig will be able to unlock a series of content pieces that are delivered to them from their favourite music artist.
The Virtual Tours product allows artists to generate a new revenue stream through paywalled content and experiences, delighting fans with immersive content, digital collectibles and contextual merchandising.
Seth Jackson, Landmrk CEO commentated:
“Hard times cause for swift innovation. The Digital Innovation Fund allowed us to move at pace towards building out and launching new features on the Landmrk platform that are particularly relevant to an industry that has suffered greatly during the pandemic.
The support and funding enabled us to create Landmrk Virtual Tours – a revenue generating platform for music artists and entertainers, that gives them the tools to deliver immersive content to their fans, and generate unique pieces of digital merchandise that can be turned into t-shirts and posters that are delivered anywhere in the world in a matter of days.”
Landmrk are currently supporting the Icelandic Eurovision contender Daði Freyr with his virtual world tour. The music artist’s Virtual Tour will delight fans around the globe with 2D holographic performances, dynamic merchandise and unique digital collectibles
Fans around the globe are invited to be part of the Daði Freyr World Tour by visiting road2rotterdam.com on their mobile phone.
The Virtual Tour begins on April 1st in Daði’s hometown of Reykjavik, before setting off on a transcontinental journey that visits fifty destinations in sixty days. The digital nature of the tour has allowed it to be expanded beyond the original UK and European dates into Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America. The Daði tour bus will roll into town and entertain audiences in places such as Cambodia, Jakarta and Lago.
The virtual tour bus will be in Bristol on Monday 19 April.
The Digital Innovation Fund is open to support SMEs in the West of England until December 2022. To be the first to hear about the next round of support available, please register your interest at: www.digitalinnovationfund.co.uk.
The Digital Innovation Fund (DIF) is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). DIF receives up to £1.9m of funding from ERDF, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regeneration.