Screenist CEO Tibor Jakab
Screenist CEO Tibor Jakab

Screenist makes professional product placements available for small enterprises,  while giants get a chance to explore even bigger, more accurately targeted markets – and the average user is pleased to be able to obtain anything they see on the screen. But where does the dynamically growing Hungarian startup behind the app come from? CEO Tibor Jakab shares the story.

The idea

“The movie Constantine came out in 2005, where actor Keanu Reeves – in the role of John Constantine – is wearing a watch. One if my friends really liked this watch, and wanted to have it for his birthday. His mother agreed to get it if we manage to find it: so we began to hunt for the watch” -Tibor Jakab talks about the early days. – It was not easy to find stuff back then, as we couldn’t just google it back in the days. Digital advertising and product placement was a far cry back then from what it is now. I can recall that my friend, the future owner of the watch even pointed out how cool it would be if we could just check it on a teletext page what the main character of each movie is wearing.”

[Oris Modern Classic] as worn by Keanu Reeves in Constantine (2005), and now me thanks to my better half. from r/Watches

Well, in the end, we managed to get the watch – an Oris Big Crown – and soon the first advertisements came in, too. It was the perfect product placement.

As a founder of Synaptel, a company focused on mobile developments, Tibor revisited the idea of having an app that makes finding and ordering stuff we see on the screen easy online. In 2011 though,  technology was not quite there yet: 3 or 4Gs we’re not yet a thing, bandwidth used to be pretty low at the time, and mobile phones were not yet able to provide the necessary hardware-background for such an application either.

The beginning

By the end of 2014, some pretty good mobile devices finally entered the market, and that was the point when research development really began on the perfect product placement solution. Tibor and his colleagues were quick to realize that object recognition is a dead end street,  as it was something not even giants like Google and IBM manage to work with. Seems like even though an artificial intelligence of some kind is able to recognize an object, exact details of the products are not yet available.

It seemed obvious that QR-codes,  which was pretty much catching up at the time – should be involved in one way or the other, but several tests proved that this is not the solution either.  “We talked about using specific screenmarkers, and the problem was given: how to be there between the broadcaster and the content provider then? This solution would have made us needless, thus killing the business model” – the CEO recalls the early days. After selling his previous company in 2012, he was ready for a fresh start with a successful exit and plenty of experience in building a business.

“As a new technology, blockchain proved to be a key in this process. Thanks to this revolutionary technology, we are able to offer jobs to thousands of people all over the world, while both the workflow and billing remain perfectly transparent. This transparency is precisely what makes it easy for everyone – for people working for us as well as for our partners – to follow the processes taking place at Screenist” – Tibor adds.

 

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The team

“I can’t even recall how many times we’ve heard the term “it’s not possible” throughout the process. That’s while I like the Google-book, as when they launched the company back in 1998 in order to “gather all the information available in the world and make it available for everyone”, everyone laughed at them, saying it was not possible,  or they need at least 30 thousand years for that. As a person who does not like to put up with no, I was certain we would eventually reach our goal” – Tibor says with a smile.

The team of Screenist is the result of a very conscious structuring: people working for the company really know what they are doing. “I believe in hardworking,  goal-oriented people who do their thing in a professional way. I’m not a friendly boss, I do not play the role of a multinational company with my own money. In this chair of the director, my task is to represent the investors. I want their investment to make the profit, not expenses” – the CEO sums up his call. And considering that there is a 1 million dollar investment behind Screenist, it’s easy to share his view.

Screenist has just left behind the stealth mode and switched to the communicative mode instead.  Community building began, and a number of new potential investors came in the picture. Sign up for the company’s newsletter, and join the team in the Telegram-group “Hello Screenist”.