Ad Age's Digital Conference is a week away, and in addition to the roster of major marketers and tech powerhouses, nine hot startups are set to participate over the course of the two day event.
Some are bootstrapped and fledgling, others have serious backing and have already made inroads into their respective markets. All have the potential to change the way our industry thanks and operates in some way. Some will make announcements, present their wares, demo new platforms and services, and of course take our questions. Here's a look at who will be there:
Founded by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and internet veteran Nathan Richardson, #waywire is a social network built to empower today's youth to create their own newswires on issues and topics of importance to them. Mayor Booker, Mr. Richardson, and Ad Age Editor, Abbey Klaassen are set to kick off the conference with a discussion on social technologies, digital tools, and government.
Redbox Instant by Verizon
The most recent entrant into the streaming video content war happens to be a joint venture with a TV provider and telecommunications giant in its own right. The venture, from Verizon and Coinstar-owned Redbox just launched in the U.S. On the second day of the conference, CEO Shawn Strickland will speak to his vision for Redbox Instant's place in the market, carving out a niche alongside competitors like Amazon and Netflix.
Ideally, content and ads live in balance. But what if you could separate the two, freeing the content from commercial intrusion while maintaining the business model? That's co-founder Sharon Peyer's vision for Hitbliss, a startup that allows people to watch ads on their own time and earncredit redeemable for TV shows and movies one would otherwise have to buy. Ms. Peyer will demo the service and will talk about the concept, the company, its trust and privacy mechanisms, and its future.
Founded in 2007 and known for its photo editing software, New York-based Aviary has found new relevance late last year when it launched new photo editing tools for both Twitter and Flickr. CEO Tobias Peggs will announce some new developments to the platform, and discuss the role brands can play in an ecosystem where mobile photos have become a form of social currency.
Lots of startups talk about disruption, but have any of them inspired a broadcast network to publicly consider flipping to pay cable? That's what Fox chief Chase Carey said earlier this week after a string of legal victories gave the Barry Diller-backed startup the upper hand. CEO Chet Kanojia will demo the latest iteration of the service and sit down with Ad Age Deputy Managing Editor, Michael Learmonth to talk about his plans to change TV's business model.
Rosie wants to banish the grocery shopping list to history. The early stage startup, born out of Cornell University' accelerator program, uses a proprietary algorithm to bring grocery shopping into the 21st century. The service keeps track of what people buy and then predict what they'll need before they run out. Then it automatically orders those items from local grocers and online retailers. CEO Nick Nickitas will give us preview of the product, still in development.
Let's face it, searching on smartphones is a pretty terrible experience. The behavior was designed for the web, where repeatedly typing and clicking to find what you're looking for works just fine. Not so on mobile. Grokr, a data startup, is out to reinvent this experience for mobile, employing predictive analytics to bring users relevant information they want, before they have to search for it. (Android users may be already familiar with Google Now, the search giant's play on anticipatory 'presults.') CEO Srivats Sampath, will talk about the future of mobile search.
Since launching in 2010, Birchbox has inspired countless imitators, each with its own spin on the subscription-based commerce model that has so far worked well for the beauty products venture. Three years later, Birchbox has partnered with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, and Women's Health Magazine, expanded to the UK, and launched an offering for men. Co-Founder Katia Beauchamp will discuss the latest shifts in online shopping behaviors and how ecommerce experiences must evolve in order to adapt to those changes.
As the internet experience becomes increasingly dominated by images, services like Stipple aim to add new function to those otherwise static photos. Earlier this year, Stipple's technology expanded to include Facebook and Twitter and in this session, CEO Rey Flemings will talk about what's next as for augmented images and the potential for social commerce.