Until 18 months or so ago, Phil and Dan Neale were half or Britain’s Got Talent hit family group, the Neales. Now they are waking up the nation with Snoozle…
Phil and Dan Neale hit stardom with fellow brother James and dad Laurie after the foursome took TV’s Britain’s Got Talent by storm, famously reducing Simon Cowell to tears. After hitting the right notes and seeing their self-released single peak at number six in the Official UK Music Charts – which had them sandwiched between Rihanna and Drake – the Neales eventually decided to call time on their music careers. “It came to a natural conclusion, we don’t take bookings for the Neales now,” said Phil.
But as one door closed another very different one opened for the youngest of the brothers and band manager, Phil, and Dan. The Birmingham boys pulled back the covers on the dreaded mobile phone ‘wake-up’ ringing tone by officially launching an alternative – their own, fun and social alarm clock app called Snoozle.
SOCIAL ALARM CLOCK
Snoozle is a new connected social alarm clock app that lets users wake up to personalised audio content, such as special messages from loved ones. Available in Android and iOS, the new app replaces the persistent, piercing ringing of most smartphones with ‘Snoozles’.
Snoozles are 12-second voice messages which, when sent to friends, will play at the time the recipient has set their alarm clock. Whether funny anecdotes, love notes or daily reminders, Snoozle personalises how users wake up. “Based on banter not beeps, Snoozle makes getting out of bed on the right side much easier,” said 28-year-old Phil.
After the Neales stopped performing, each returned to ‘proper’ day jobs – something which they had always intended to do as Britain’s Got Talent fame came totally out of the blue and they knew the group has a finite shelf life. Phil worked as brand manager for Tesco Finest in Welwyn Garden, but was saving furiously to ‘bootstrap’ the Snoozle project.
Phil and Dan put in every effort and endured sleepless nights of their own to ensure that Snoozle was a crowd-pleaser.That became a reality when the pair set up a crowdfunding page via online platform Seedrs in 2017 and truly woke up the market – blitzing a £100,000 target in less than 10 hours and becoming the site’s number one ‘Investment Opportunity’ during the week of its campaign launch.
“It was absolutely insane to see people really connecting with Snoozle. We knew that we were tapping into something that was interesting to people. The buzz about what we were creating helped us to attract our now technical co-founder, Warren Bickley, who has been a real coup for Snoozle,” said Phil.
“Funders told us that they wanted a fun and innovative app that benefitted their lifestyles and offered something a bit different. We’ve used that feedback in our development of Snoozle.” For the past year, the Snoozle beta version has been made available for iOS users on the App Store while the brothers and their team worked on enhancing its capabilities. And following the official launch in June, Snoozle users can enjoy a sound night’s sleep with features such as ‘Snoozle Lullabies’ – audio content to help people drift off.
Now, as well as download the app, Phil and Dan want to hear from aspiring influencers to be part of Snoozle’s app network of ‘Wake Up Artists’ which promotes the talents of undiscovered musicians, comedians, news readers and more. And while the dream has become a reality this year, there’s also talk of Snoozle becoming available via smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo, and smart watches in future.
HOW IT STARTED
The idea for Snoozle was first dreamt up in 2012 when Phil would manually set voice memos of good luck messages ahead of exams or last-minute revision from friends and family as his alarm tone to wake up to. “I wasn’t much of a morning person when it came to the awful alarm tone on my phone. I much preferred waking up to a happy and friendly voice. It set me up so well ahead of an important day. It became something I did ahead of every university exam and it really helped me to get a restful night’s sleep because it totally put my mind at ease.”
Bringing in brother Dan, 29, as co-founder, the pair continued their tireless efforts to build-up the app idea while enjoying the limelight as part of the Neales, who reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2015. As CEO of Snoozle, Phil is now full-time on the business, together with Warren, while Dan works with him on a part-time basis.
“Dan has always been a great sounding board for everything we have done as a family,” explained Phil. “He is always about the detail and that is invaluable. We were very lucky to get Warren on board too because he is one of the best tech talents in the region.”
Phil added: “Our long-term target is to become very mainstream. If you think about it, it wasn’t until the invention of the clock radio in the 1940s that people woke up to anything but a conventional alarm clock ‘ding’. Now mobile phones have taken people back to the simple ‘beep’. We aim to give you an alarm clock based on you tailored preferences – different every day if you choose.
“The business opportunities are endless. If we become the business behind the first thing you hear every day, across Birmingham that can mean 500,000 people potentially waking up to a media opportunity that doesn’t currently exist. Our USP is the ‘social connection alarm clock’ and we believe we can develop Snoozles to improve sleep patterns, be entertaining, be educational and a whole lot more…”