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

Banjo, Dwolla, Stampt,, Zaarly and Milk Joining Us at Digital West

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It's two weeks until Ad Age Digital West, when 12 worthy startups take the stage to pitch real brands for real business.

Last week we announced the first six startups that will be presenting at Digital West on September 20th. This week, we present the next six: Banjo, Dwolla, Stampt,, Zaarly and Milk.

To recap: Ad Age is staging two "brand hacks" as part of Ad Age Digital West, a one-day event in San Francisco. The point of this is to bring some unknown -- or in some cases little-known -- startups with great ideas and put them in front of an audience of brand marketing execs and CMOs. Startups will compete in two broad fields: social and mobile.

The winner of the social hack gets a $25,000 project or partnership from American Express to develop a new concept. The winner of the mobile hack will have the opportunity to work with digital agency Ignited to bring its technology to brands.

But the real prize here is stage time, and in that sense, all these startups are already winners. So congrats to the next six, and we look forward to hearing more from them at Digital West.


Damien Patton, founder
Banjo is a location-based mobile app meant to act as a service layer that sits on top of your other social networks. The app falls into the growing "discovery" category, designed to introduce users to people, places and events. By combining multiple social platforms, Banjo creates a "socialverse" of global activity that helps users and brands connect and interact with people and places.

Ben Milne, founder
Dwolla is a cash-based payment network integrated with mobile devices, social networks and smartphones. It aims to facilitate seamless transactions by bypassing cards and giving both consumers and merchants instant access to their money. Its latest development is a proximity-based payment option that doesn't rely on NFC or QR codes.

Brian Kelly, founder
Stampt is meant to be the next evolution of "buy-10-get-one-free" cards. Its vision is to build on this tried-and-true marketing tactic by bringing it to smartphones, allowing Stampt to collect and profile consumer-behavior data and to serve as a platform for merchants to market, advertise and integrate loyalty programs. Ultimately, Stampt wants to expand the idea of a loyalty card from coffee shops and delis to consumer packaged goods and beyond.

Alan Chan, chief "baker"
At its core, is a link shortener that allows users to promote their personal brands and interests. When a user's Twitter or Facebook followers click on his or her links, the followers first see a full-page "personal billboard" that can be customized with a personal message. This carries its own social weight, as users can "toast" their friends' billboards and incorporate them into their own rosters. Digital West speaker Troy Carter is an investor in

Bo Fishback, co-founder
Zaarly is a social marketplace designed to get users the goods, services and experiences they're looking for. Dubbed a "reverse Groupon" or "reverse Craigslist," Zaarly is a buyer-demand platform that directs users to post what they want, when they want it and what price they are willing to pay, allowing other people or businesses nearby to fulfill their requests. It's a two-way, community-powered approach to commerce that is a departure from the typically brand-initiated offers.

Milk Inc.
Chris Hutchins, "suit"
Milk is an idea lab in San Francisco whose founders include Digg Founder Kevin Rose and former Digg designer Daniel Burka. So far, it's been pretty secretive about its activities, except for its first app, Oink, which will launch this fall and allow users to rate things around them and share those ratings with friends. What, exactly, will they be pitching at Digital West? Join us and find out.

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