Great business leaders have a forward-thinking approach. They anticipate events and consciously prepare themselves to make most of the opportunities. They are ready to face challenges, even at the spur of the moment. With a high presence of mind, they keep themselves well-informed with the wealth of knowledge and valuable experiences they have gained in their life. These experiences help them become inspiring and forward-thinking business leaders. Akin to the above mindset is Renee Welsh, a renowned leader in the tech and travel sector who leads with an innovative approach.
Renee is passionate about building businesses and transforming industries, and as a natural innovator, she launched her first tech business when she was 27. Renee gained relevant experiences by joining prominent start-ups including lastminute.com, Wotif, Monster, and RedBalloon. In 2013, she started Booking Boss, the ticketing and booking management start-up, with her husband, Andy. Helix Leisure acquired their start-up four years later, and Renee was appointed CEO of Embed, an integrated cloud-based software solution platform for family entertainment, attractions, and amusement. Renee was a unicorn as one of the rare female CEOs in the tech industry, specifically the family entertainment center sphere. In a heavily male-dominated industry, it posed challenges. That’s why it became her journey to have greater female representation, especially at the C-suite level, so sponsorship, mentoring, and championing became a personal mission for Renee.
Enabling, Empowering, and Easing Management of Family Entertainment Businesses
At Embed, its leaders enable, empower, and ease the “business of fun” for owners and operators in the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) Industry. They enable them to achieve greater operational efficiency while reducing costs and increasing profitability through Embed’s integrated hardware and software system solutions.
Embed offers an array of innovative business solutions such as its arcade debit game card reader smartTOUCH, self-service kiosks, RFID wearable media, game cards, and the integrated software solution TOOLKIT. It offers a suite of software that eases the management of family entertainment businesses via transparent business reporting, central games management, mobile assistant, online party bookings, and more. Embed takes great pride in these next-gen solutions, especially its award-winning Mobile Wallet – the only Apple iOS and Google Android certified solution in the business.
This makes Embed the only non-banking, non-loyalty, and non-financed brand to sit in the consumers’ Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Mobile Wallet is a virtual game card that guests can top-up or reload using their phones without leaving the arcade game. And Embed is proud that its SaaS systems operate on Amazon’s AWS platform.
Embed operates with a highly competitive global team, with offices in the United States, EMEA, and APAC regions, adding South America to its roster. To date, it has over 1,000 customers and 3,000 installations in 56 countries.
Pioneering Tech Transformation of Family Entertainment Industry
A very important aspect of what Renee does at Embed is pioneering the tech transformation of the family entertainment industry – the industry of fun. Embed’s award-winning Mobile Wallet is a testament to this – no one in the industry has ever come close to developing what Embed has, and Embed launched it back in 2019!
Being an Impact Player in an Industry with Strong Business Agility
The pandemic forced businesses in the FEC industry to close their doors first and reopen them last, so Embed was there to help them turn the lights back on. To showcase its commitment to the industry’s recovery, it launched Embed’s COVID-19 Relief Act in 2020, giving away its Mobile Wallet to everyone in the industry for free for one year. Aside from this, Embed also kicked off its COVID-19 Resource Center, which includes free white papers, an expansive video series featuring critical advice from industry leaders, and free creative toolkits to help operators facilitate the successful reopening of their FECs.
Embed joined the fight to eliminate COVID-19 by developing Embed Hygiene Defense products – powerful 100% natural hygiene protection that’s safe for families, which is the primary segment that frequents family entertainment centers. Embed’s business agility makes it an impact player in its industry, aside from the tech solutions it provides.
Having a Customer-first Approach and Results-driven Work Culture
Embed runs on a customer-first approach, ensuring its software enables the optimal end-customer experience because when the customer thrives, the operator thrives. Embed informs every operating and strategic business decision it makes and how it executes it. Embed is dedicated to supporting operators and enabling their businesses to become FECs of the future. It’s why it partners with the best in the tech industry like Apple, Google, and Amazon to empower its customers to provide a superior guest experience at their locations.
Embed operates as a global brand and a tight-knit team, with a results-driven work culture that takes the “business of fun” seriously.
Challenging Boundaries and Driving Evolution of Industry
Renee is proud of Embed’s ability to pivot its business to what the industry needs now. It continues to keep a finger on the pulse of key technology trends to continue to be innovative. Embed harnesses the maverick mindset to challenge the boundaries and drive the evolution of its industry. In hyper-competitive industries, it draws significant inspiration from emerging technology partners (Apple, Google, and Amazon).
Driving the FEC Industry Forward
In today’s low-touch economy, Embed’s contactless solutions have become more relevant than ever because this is how consumers expect to transact so they can engage with brands safely and securely. From an operator’s standpoint, this also means getting real-time data to improve their business. Embed continues to develop and evolve its solutions to drive the FEC industry forward.
Staying Ahead of the Game
Renee believes the complete transition to cashless systems is the next big thing. She thinks there is still a huge gap in FECs that have not converted their outdated systems to future-proof businesses. Embed is already ahead of the game. It anticipated this great leap forward, and while it is still innovating to stay ahead, it is preparing for this by lining up exciting solutions that enable the FEC of the future.
Making Businesses Thrive and Transforming Industries
As an innovator, Renee sees herself continuing to do what she loves in the years to come – creating opportunities to make businesses thrive, transforming industries. She sees Embed at the forefront of solutions providers in the industry, pioneering products that the FEC sector has not yet seen.
Giving Priceless Advice to Emerging Leaders
Renee advises emerging leaders to embrace change. She says, “Advance just as technology advances. Do not just keep up with the times; stay ahead of them. And if ever you feel disheartened with challenges, bring your focus back to the very heart of what you do and why you are doing it.”