Last week we announced the first three startups that will be pitching Budweiser in Ad Age 's Brand H@ck at our Digital Conference April 17-18. Today we added three more: RUWT!?, AirTweet and Gravity Jack .
We'll tell you why they were picked, but first, a word on the process. This is our second Brand H@ck (our first, last September, featured American Express) and the response was overwhelming. We got a lot of great pitches that won't make the stage, so thanks.
The good news is that we're going to be doing this more often to help startups connect with brands eager to evolve on new platforms. We'll pick a great consumer brand (interested brands can contact David Teicher), listen do its areas of interest and goals, and then pick six great startups whose founders have built killer technologies that could transform the business.
In the meantime, we've got a great set of startups hacking Budweiser next week, including our first three chosen: Next Play Sports, Wendr and Meeps. And here's a look at the second set of startups that you'll see pitching Bud:
Like previously chosen startup Next Play Sports, Are You Watching This?! uses a proprietary technology to harness real-time data of college and professional sports around the globe. Specifically, its predictive algorithms and machine learning systems are designed to process in-game statistics in real time to ensure that you never miss that crazy overtime win, no-hitter or major upset. What does that mean? Well, we know you can't watch sports all day, so RUWT's robots do the dirty work and send you an alert about when to tune in. RUWT monitors games and lets you know if the action is code-red "epic," just "hot," "good" or merely "OK" (the last meaning "continue mowing lawn"). It's a take on the second-screen experience and hits Anheuser Busch's desired sports demographics. Do you really want to be only one in the office to miss Tebow's terrible/amazing first play as a Jet because you were watching a "Jersey Shore" rerun?
A Twitter-based payment system, AirTweet is pitching itself as a way to skip the line at restaurants and bars. Customers sign up, sync their accounts, and then a simple tweet like "@McGeePub 2$budlight $stella 3$budweiser ASAP" is all it takes to order a round, no matter how many rows back you're standing from the bar. The simplicity of T-commerce combined with the public nature of the purchases -- which endorse both the venue and the product -- could have powerful ramifications for the likes of AB-InBev and the company's relationship with establishments that serve alcohol. Founders Alex Riabov and Henry Kronick haven't taken any investment, but will be looking to raise a seed round in two to four months.
This final spot was the toughest to choose. So many social-TV platforms, multiscreen technologies, mobile apps, sports and entertainment services made culling the herd difficult. But the team at Gravity Jack impressed us with several ways to use augmented reality technology, including an app called "Beer Googles." Augmented reality holds plenty of promise but has frustrated many over the past few years in making the transition from a tool that 's "cool but gimmicky" to one that drives business results. Gravity Jack created its own augmented-reality browser application for iOS and Android mobile devices, and lets others build on its technology through its own SDK. The company was founded in November 2009 by husband-wife team Luke and Jennifer Richey, with $250,000 in seed capital from friends and family.
We're excited to see what they can do with Bud. If you haven't yet, snag your tickets to the Ad Age Digital Conference, April 17 and 18 in New York. The conference has sold out the past two years, and tickets are going fast, so don't wait.