Scott Friedberg is helping businesses make the most of digital signage. Scott founded Gilded Social back in 2012 while attending college at Syracuse University. He created a device and app that connects to a display that allows businesses to have onsite digital displays of live social media feeds, videos, images, graphics, wait lists, weather, and more. Today, Gilded Social provides an interactive display where business can directly create customer engagement.
Interactive engagement wasn’t the original idea for Scott – he originally wanted to create small displays in restrooms that would provide advertisements. It was soon after that Scott decided to place these displays in businesses that received a large amount of foot-traffic. It wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that Scott changed the direction of Gilded Social to what it is today – creating customer engagement directly within the business location. Scott sees that businesses with onsite customer traffic have a golden opportunity to connect with their target audience in ways that go beyond the usual face-to-face transactions.
Scott admits that he wasn’t thinking big enough when he first started out. He didn’t believe that large, established businesses would take his team seriously because they were still in college, but it turns out that it wasn’t the case. “Bigger businesses have a bigger pain point in the digital signage space and found our service to be a ‘game-changer’ when it comes to managing communications through a network of displays,” said Scott.
Gilded Social faced a few bumps in the road just like every startup. Since Scott was still in college he found it difficult to balance schoolwork and his business. The wealth of knowledge and experience he could gain in the real-world compared to college was too alluring to Scott. “My schoolwork took a backseat to growing my company,” said Scott, but he still managed to graduate from Syracuse and embark on his master’s degree at SU as well.
Luckily for Scott and the rest of the Gilded Social team, they aren’t facing these startup challenges alone. Launch NY has provided Gilded Social with an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR), Paul Brooks, who has been working closely with Scott over the past several months. Paul follows the Business Model Canvas method in helping Scott evaluate his market and his operational plan. Scott says it’s nice to be able to turn to someone with years of experience and that this mentoring has been crucial to helping grow the business.
Gilded Social doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. They are adding new clients every week and have made it their goal to power 10,000 displays by the end of 2016. Scott says to keep an eye out the next business you visit, you might be looking at a Gilded Social display.
Launch NY is a nonprofit organization who has provided pro bono support for over 450 businesses across Upstate New York since 2012. The mission of Launch NY is to identify high-impact companies and invest time, money, and expert resources to help these companies grow into successful businesses who transform the regional economy.