Unilever is returning to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity with its second crop of top marketing-tech startups but in a more organized way, dividing honorees and sessions into five categories during the Lions Innovation sub-festival June 21-22.
Unilever's Foundry 50 (technically 49 this year, since one needed to drop out) are plucked from 4,500 startups Unilever has reviewed over the the past two years. The new crop is divided evenly into companies focused on brand content and innovation; data, insights and personalization; engaging millennials; social impact and future of retail.
"What we tried to do this year was the same but better," said Aline Santos, Unilever senior-VP global marketing. "Now we have a very clear brief in terms of the territories we want the startups to play with."
The Foundry is the portal through which tech startups connect with Unilever's 400 brands, so far through 100 have done so in pilots, about half of which have led to further work. About two-thirds of brands that have engaged with the startups have seen revenue increase as a result, she said, and campaigns using Foundry startups have above-average engagement with consumers.
Sessions on each area of innovation will take the form of a reverse pitch, where a Unilever brand representative will participate. Social impact comes first on June 21 from 11-11:30 a.m., followed by the data/insights/personalization group at 2-2:30 p.m. and engaging millennials from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. On June 22 will be future of retail from noon to 12:30 p.m. and brand/content innovation from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Besides Ms. Santos, the committee choosing the Foundry 50 included Brent Hoberman, travel site Lastminute.com co-founder; Rob Dembitz, head of Lions Innovation; marketing communications firm Karamarama Creative Director Jo Jenkins; and Olivier Garel, head of Unilever Ventures.
Among the startups showcased are Pavegen, which creates footstep-powered energy; Proximus, which provides in-store customer tracking technology for shopper research; and Lisnr, an app that responds to "smart tones" to unlock content from brands on phones.
Although some have headquarters in multiple cities, about half of the Foundry 50 are headquartered in the U.K., 16 in the U.S. and five in other developed markets. Eight have headquarters in developing markets, including two each from India, Singapore and Brazil and one each from Thailand and Turkey.
"It's becoming a much more diverse group than it used to be," Ms. Santos said, in part because Unilever is using the program to focus on needs in developing markets.
The Foundry is also implementing a two-way mentoring program with startups.
Ms. Santos came to her corporate marketing role late last year from Unilever's home care business, and said results of some Foundry-fostered projects in that business will emerge soon, focused more on product development rather than communications.
|Duel||United Kingdom||Runs fully automated photo contests|
|Goopi||United Kingdom||Cloud based video ad creation|
|Kino-mo||United Kingdom||Futuristic ad display such as bikes that play video|
|Klip||USA||Branded content, video and experiential design|
|Landmrk||United Kingdom||Enables placement of content into physical locations|
|Mirriad||UK, USA, India, Brazil||Makes brand integrations into scalable ad units|
|People.io||United Kingdom||People earn prizes by sharing data and viewing content|
|Rattle Technology||United Kingdom||Augmented reality for brands|
|Styla||Germany||Technology enabling e-commerce from content|
|Those||United Kingdom||Woodpecker drawing system to bring surfaces to life|
|The Big Sofa||United Kingdom||Makes video content easier to search, analyze and use|
|Blismedia||United Kingdom||Location data and behavioral insights|
|Codec||United Kingdom||Artificial intelligence for content marketing|
|Mavrck||USA||Word-of-mouth marketing through micro-influencers|
|Mesh01||USA||Global network of designers and product testers|
|Pineapple Lounge||United Kingdom||Research on kids, teens, families|
|Poshly||USA||Get products from brands by answering questions|
|Sampler||USA||Distributes CPG samples through social and digital media|
|Unacast||Norway||World's largest proximity sensor network for ad targeting|
|WeSeeThrough||United Kingdom||Uses wearables to help brands see through eyes of consumers|
|8 TV||USA||Makes it easy to create shoppable TV-style shows|
|Crowdly||USA||Brand advocate marketing platform|
|Jebbit||USA||Optimizes brand content through personalization|
|Naritiv||USA||Creates vertical content for Snapchat|
|Playbasis||Thailand||Engagement and gamification to motivate Gen-Yers|
|SailPlay||USA||Marketing automation platform for B2C programs|
|SoPost||United Kingdom||Helps brands drive product sampling online|
|ViralGains||USA||Video distribution and analytics based on consumer choice|
|Visionteractive||Turkey||Digital experiences using custom robotics|
|Zeotap||Germany||Helps telecoms unlock data with privacy-by-design tech|
|Bliive||Brazil||Network that lets users exchange time and skills|
|Do Nation||United Kingdom||Make pledges or start drives to change behavior|
|Gander||United Kingdom||Live feed app for local savings|
|The Girls Lounge||USA||Girl-focused men-inclusive lounges at trade shows|
|Inkpact||United Kingdom||Send personalized, handwritten notes electronically|
|Neighbourly||United Kingdom||Connects community projects with donors|
|Next Billion||Singapore||Reaches emerging-market consumers through mobile|
|Pavegen||United Kingdom||Smart flooring that turns steps into electric power|
|We Farm||United Kingdom||Helps farmers globally to share info even without internet|
|Constant Commerce||United Kingdom||Makes print, digital and broadcast content shoppable|
|Elevaate||United Kingdom||Platform for trade-funded e-commerce programs|
|Lisnr||USA||Activates experiences on mobile devices via smart tones|
|Loyyal||USA||Universal loyalty and rewards platform|
|Proximus||U.K., Spain||Data analytics company that tracks behavior in store|
|Shortlyst/Shopalyst||India||Universal shopping cart across retailers and apps|
|Skip||USA||Uses RFID to scan tags as you shop for instant checkout|
|Streetbees||United Kingdom||Pays consumer "Smartbees" for collecting in-store info|
|Streetlike Ltd.||United Kingdom||Appless reward program through in-store digital signage|
|Trax Image Recognition||Singapore||Uses image recognition to track in-store performance|