Scan, a startup focused on making the most of mobile scanning technology, is announcing $1.7 million in seed funding today. The round is led by Menlo Ventures, and also includes participation from Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Start Fund, Social + Capital Partnership, Transmedia Capital, Ludlow Ventures and select angel investors. The company is also introducing its latest product today: Scan Pages, which provides businesses with a ready-made mobile landing page for use with QR codes or short URLs.
The idea behind Scan Pages scratches a much-needed itch for businesses by providing a mobile-optimized landing page for users accessing their sites from mobile devices. The sites have custom branding, video, text and other content. Scan also tracks metrics associated with the Scan Page, including how often its QR code was scanned or short URL was used, and where geographically people are accessing the site from. That kind of information could be very valuable to brands interested in measuring the effectiveness of print advertising campaigns or the viability of QR codes as a marketing tool with their target audience.
“People have been giving QR codes a hard time lately, but the problem isn’t QR codes themselves,” Scan co-founder and CEO Garrett Gee said in an interview. “But the problem isn’t QR codes. It’s the way pople are using them and the content behind them. Not everyone has the time, money and budget to create mobile-friendly content, so we thought, let’s make that easy for them.” Scanning a QR code that leads a user to a site that either isn’t designed for mobile or doesn’t work at all on devices that don’t support Flash is a commonly-cited complaint. Scan’s new solution provides a simple way for businesses to avoid that problem without hiring a developer.
Gee’s vision goes beyond just providing businesses with a pleasant web-based landing page for mobile visitors. His goal is to associate QR codes with a trusted, approachable brand. “A QR code is so impersonal. You look at it and you don’t know what it’s going to do or who it’s from,” Gee said. “We believe that if we can come in and add a trustworthy, brandable name to it, we can give QR codes as a whole a more friendly, approachable personality. When you see a Scan-branded QR code, you know that’s going to be a positive experience.” Gee thinks this should help customers become more willing to use them.
But QR codes aren’t the be-all and end-all of Scan’s approach. “As other technologies come around, say NFC or image recognition, we’re already beginning implementation of those technologies, so the focus is on the content and the experience,” independent of the technology used to get there.
Gee said the company’s plans for this round of funding include perfecting the product, as well as growing the Scan team. Scan has already worked with companies including Kroeger’s People Water and Barneys New York, and even counts Lady Gaga among early adopters of Scan Page technology. By focusing on content that can work with a flexible range of delivery technologies, Scan should be well-positioned to help more brands reach a mobile audience.