Executives from around the world flocked to Advertising Week in New York City last month seeking to make sense of the increasing litany of media choices to reach the consumers. The ad industry is booming, but with a tremendous amount of uncertainty especially amongst the legacy players in the field. Agencies and traditional outlets are under siege by mobile, digital and consulting groups all hungry for their piece of the pie. Consumers’ attention is ever-fragmenting and more difficult to capture. In this disrupt or be disrupted world, it becomes ever important to keep an eye on what is next and understand how innovation can drive tangible business results. With that mission in mind, Advertising Week launched its inaugural startup competition with an all-star group of judges from the investment, agency and brand world to insure the new companies were judged on their ability to make a real impact rather than just a shiny toy. 15 finalists from the global competition presented live at the Nasdaq Marketsite across 3 categories AI & Data, Adtech/Martech, and Experiential (AR & VR/OOH). Here are the winners from each of these categories with some comments from a few of the judges on what made them special.
SoStereo promises to unlock the marketing power of music by providing a simple way for brands to innovate their music strategy & execution by streamlining discovery, understanding, and music licensing tools. Music is such an impactful vehicle to drive consumer behavior, but the process of finding that music and getting the rights to utilize it is often fraught with friction, intense costs and begs the question is the juice worth the squeeze. SoStereo aims to remove that friction or as Category Judge, Josh Ernst, Principal at Revel Partners, commented “At Revel Partners, we are always looking to partner with compelling startup companies like SoStereo that offer scalable and innovative technology solutions to enterprises, brands, and advertisers to better engage with their customers.”
Advertising Week launched its inaugural startup competition with an all-star group of judges from the investment, agency and brand world to insure the new companies were judged on their ability to make a real impact rather than just a shiny toy.
Outernets is taking advantage of the challenges retailers are facing, by utilizing vacant storefronts and filling them with interactive digital ads that not only pitch products but also switch the offerings depending on who’s looking. The high-tech ads use AI computer vision and machine learning, to analyze the crowd walking past in real time, collecting their demographics to share with advertisers. Category Judge, Patrick West, CEO of experiential shop Be the Machine, commented “Outernets checked 3 very big boxes: 1) cool tech ready for mass deployment; 2) helps marketers; and 3) actually improves the consumer experience. They wisely conducted a demonstration that included one of the judges. It proved their technology could work in a live setting whereas many new platforms only work on very controlled environments.” Outernets continues to push the cross-pollination of the physical and digital worlds to make both more impactful.
The best in show winner, and winner of the AI & Data category, was OneSpot who uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to create one-to-one, personally relevant digital experiences across website, mobile, email and paid media.
Category Judge Chris McCann, President of 1800 Flowers, commented “OneSpot clearly stood out with their recognition that people want it personal! Their ability to drive personalization across channels and at scale is a clear advantage!”
Sarah Fay, Managind Director of Glasswing Ventures, continued “The founder of OneSpot did a great job defining the size and significance of dynamic creative optimization as a category, and then demonstrated the ease of execution which has delivered significant returns to clients.”
Jeff Weinstein, Principal at FJ Labs, commented “At FJ Labs, we are on the lookout for companies and technologies that transform industries. We were impressed by what OneSpot has built, and believe that their platform has the potential to transform content marketing.”
Steve Sachs, CEO of OneSpot, answered the accolades with “This award recognizes the power of the OneSpot platform and how AI can be employed to make content marketing personalized to individuals, more predictive, and drive quantifiable business results.”
The amount of new companies and constant stream of innovation is overwhelming with some reporting as many as 10,000 startups launch every hour. Yet, within this crowded landscape, there are several that can transform businesses for the better and yield tangible results. Advertising Week is intent on making its conference the One Spot you need to go to find the best of what’s next.
“The StartUp Pitch Competition was created to find the best of what’s shaping the future” said Elizabeth Petra, Bespoke Curator of Programming of Advertising Week. If these companies are any indication, the future will continue to provide unique ways to connect with consumers in more meaningful, more unique and more efficient ways.
For a full list of finalists, you can go to http://www.venturefuel.net/advertising-week-startup-pitch-competition/
About the Author
Fred Schonenberg is the Founder of VentureFuel, Inc., which connects new technology and emerging media companies with Fortune 500 advertisers and their agencies to accelerate innovation.