Round One: Ad Age Selects Six Startups for Mobile and Social Brand Hacks

Sonar, GoldRun, Glympse, WANT!, Hatch'd and Voyurl to Pitch for Marketing Budgets at Ad Age Digital West.

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On Sept. 20, 12 startups will have the opportunity to pitch their wares in a series of rapid-fire sessions to an audience of eager marketing, media and agency execs as part of Advertising Age's Digital West in San Francisco.

Six startups will compete in each of two sessions: mobile and social. At stake is a $25,000 project or partnership and the chance to work with major brand marketers. More than the cash, these early-stage startups are looking to prove their potential as vehicles for the next generation of mobile, location-based and social marketing initiatives.

The mobile startups will be pitching Eric Johnson, president and founder of digital agency/incubator Ignited, while the social hackers will be pitching to David Wolf, American Express VP-global business and market development

Here's a look at the first three in each category:

Mobile Brand Hackers

Brett Martin, co-founder and CEO
Sonar is a mobile, location-based app that reveals to users how they are connected to people nearby. By aggregating social and location data across Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter (for now… more to come) Sonar shows you who is in the room, sorted by who is most relevant to you, including friends of friends on Facebook and Twitter follows/followers. One interesting aspect here is since Sonar leverages existing social data and connections, it's a good experience even if you're the only one using the actual app.

Vivian Rosenthal, founder
GoldRun is an augmented reality application for iPhone and iPad that enables users to locate, interact with and take photos of geo-tagged virtual objects and employs the device's built-in GPS to locate those objects in physical locations, such as retail stores, airports, parks, and events. These "runs" engage consumers in immersive, layered experiences. Users can locate, collect, and interact with virtual objects viewed through their device's camera then share them to earn real-world rewards.

Bryan Trussel, CEO
Glympse is a location-based services app that goes beyond static "check-ins" or a simple map showing your location, and allows users to quickly update their status via their mobile phone so friends can follow their real-time movements on a dynamic map, for a set period of time.

Social Brand Hackers

Gene DeRose, founder
WANT! is a new mobile application from Skymarker that allows you to capture and share your wants and desires with the world through geo-located photographs that can be shared on your preferred social-networking platforms. The idea behind WANT! is simple: take photos of the things you want, discover what your friends want, and use WANT! to find out what's most wanted in your city, your neighborhood, or in your favorite bar, shop or restaurant.

Jeremy Kimball, founder
Hatch'd, still in beta, puts a megaphone on your ideas for businesses. It simplifies how you share ideas by creating one destination for them. Ultimately Hatch'd will reward people by tying successful ideas to loyalty programs and enable you to showcase your creativity through a portfolio of ideas. A new take on crowdsourcing, Hatch'd allows business owners to see which ideas are voted up, most commented on, and discussed, we give them better insight into what drives their customers while increasing their engagement.

Adam Leibsohn, founder
Voyurl falls into the same space as Fitbit,, and Nike +, which help people quantify their lives and get recommendations. Voyurl does so by helping people quantify their online browsing habits and then helping them find new content online about the stuff they love. Voyurl uses implicit data -- your browsing behavior -- to power everything they do. That means that all you have to do is browse the web for Voyurl to start working.

Stay tuned for the next six startups to join the field and don't forget to register for Ad Age Digital West, Sept. 20 in San Francisco.

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