XTC SPONSORSHIP SERIES ANNOUNCES QUALCOMM VENTURES AS VIRTUAL REALITY VERTICAL SPONSOR 14th November, 2017

Consistently leading conversations on the forefront of innovation and technology, Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) is pleased to announce American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, Qualcomm, will be joining the Extreme Tech Challenge as an Official Sponsor of XTC 2018. Leading this year’s Virtual Reality Vertical judging panel, Qualcomm will use their unparalleled industry expertise as they choose the best VR startups to receive an incredible prize and to be presented on stage at CES alongside the overall Top 10 start-ups.

Qualcomm has been the cornerstone of communication technology for decades, and as one of the founding companies that helped launch the mobile revolution they are the perfect sponsors to help the Extreme Tech Challenge competitors explore the ever- growing field of Virtual Reality. In order to stimulate human senses with realistic feedback, a successful VR product relies on 3 pillars of immersion: visual quality, sound quality, and intuitive interaction. Offering an unprecedented experience, Qualcomm will be on hand to to guide competitors through this new frontier of mobile technology as Virtual Reality shapes how people will be able interact with the world.

Qualcomm has made it their business to help others build amazing things, and as the latest to join XTC’s 2018 incredible team of sponsors, Kevin Gregory- Senior Director of Business Development at Qualcomm,couldn’t be more thrilled to be involved with this year’s Extreme Tech Challenge.

On the upcoming competition, “‘Qualcomm prides itself on creating enabling technologies that allow new ecosystems to flourish. VR has tremendous potential to change the way the world works and plays.  We believe great VR experiences shouldn’t require wires or expensive computers, and we are thrilled that many of the core mobile technologies pioneered for smartphones are enabling the untethered VR future.

Equally excited about the new partnership with Qualcomm, XTC Co-Founder, Bill Tai, said. “Qualcomm Ventures is a fantastic sponsor to have on-board. With a hugely successful global technology company involved with XTC, they will be able to impart their expertise on the VR vertical, providing support and expertise to the start-ups.”

As part of its sponsorship, Qualcomm will be awarding The Final Champion of XTC 2018 with a meeting with the world-renowned Qualcomm Ventures Team as well as development kits for their unique XR program.

Sponsorship brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship.

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s technologies powered the smartphone revolution and connected billions of people. We pioneered 3G and 4G – and now we are leading the way to 5G and a new era of intelligent, connected devices. Our products are revolutionizing industries, including automotive, computing, IoT, healthcare and data center, and are allowing millions of devices to connect with each other in ways never before imagined. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, our QCT semiconductor business.

About Extreme Tech Challenge

The Extreme Tech Challenge is the world’s largest startup competition. It is a contest designed to identify emerging leaders that have the potential to dominate their markets and reward them with greatly enhanced visibility, infrastructure and resources to scale quickly at low cost. Ten world class startups will be selected as semi-finalists to present live on stage at CES with 3 finalists presenting to a panel of all-star judges TBA on Necker Island. Winners will receive resources to amplify their success and scale their companies.


Jackie Fast MD of Slingshot Sponsorship Launches Her First Book 8th November, 2017

Buy the #1 Amazon Bestseller in Marketing & Sales
Selling sponsorship is one of the most effective and profitable strategic business tools for any organisation. Whether you oversee a billion-dollar corporation, a medium-sized charity, a local arts council, or even a neighbourhood children’s football team, sponsorship needs to be part of your revenue and marketing mix.

This book will show you the pitfalls to avoid to ensure how virtually anyone can succeed. 

Buy the book on Amazon here.


Slingshot Sponsorship nominated for four ESA Excellence Awards 2017, including Agency of the Year 7th November, 2017

Slingshot Sponsorship is pleased to announce that they have been shortlisted for four awards at the prestigious European Sponsorship Association Awards.

The ESA Excellence Awards, hosted by the European Sponsorship Association, is an awards show that recognises and celebrates the achievements within the sponsorship industry across Europe. The European Sponsorship Association is in charge of regulating shareholders and owners in the sponsorship sector and making sure members are being sustainable and ethical. They also maintain a duty in improving and keeping standards in the sponsorship industry, which they do by educating members, through policy and networking opportunities.

Slingshot Sponsorship’s nominations at this year’s ESA Awards include:

  • Rights Holder of the Year: having won this category for the last two years, Slingshot Sponsorship are thrilled to be nominated again for two clients: The Holi Festival of Colours and the Extreme Tech Challenge held on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.
  • B2B Sponsorship of the Year: a sponsor with the Extreme Tech Challenge, the activation of iTutorGroup showcased how the tech event could support female entrepreneurs in China, providing them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend and pitch.
  • CSR Partnership of the Year: a deal brokered with Slingshot the Aramco and Bloodhound SSC partnership aims to engage 50,000 children in 6 months in STEM.
  • Agency of the Year (Single Nation): after a highly successful year, Slingshot are delighted to also be nominated in this category at the prestigious ESA Awards.

Slingshot Sponsorship, renowned for disrupting and moving away from logo-centric partnerships, specialise in brokering sponsorships for their rights holder clients. Through a highly strategic approach, Slingshot Sponsorship continually delivers world-class partnerships.

Jackie Fast, the MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, commented “It’s a wonderful achievement to be shortlisted for so many awards, for an association that holds as much weight as ESA. But we are not content, we are aiming to get better every year and show the same level of quality at all times with all our clients.”

The winners this year will be announced at the ESA Awards on the 7th of February 2018 at the Science Museum, London. The event will be attended by over 350 people across Europe.


XTC 2018 – MEET THE TOP 25 NECKER ISLAND HOPEFULS! 16th October, 2017

Slingshot Sponsorship client Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), the world’s largest startup competition, is back again for its fourth annual year, unveiling The Top 25 contenders moving on to the next phase of the challenge, slated to take place this January at CES 2018. The Top 25 was formally announced at CTA Innovate! and Celebrate at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco, and presented by emcee and renowned tech writer Brent Rose.

XTC’s selected Top 25 will be narrowed down to the Top 10 Semi-Finalists who will then pitch on stage at CES to compete for the ultimate prize of global visibility and invaluable resources, with three finalists to pitch their ventures to Branson on Necker Island alongside a phenomenal panel of judges.

Making discernible waves overseas during last year’s challenge, XTC is poised to welcome its largest pool of international contenders to date. The 2018 Top 25 companies reach far beyond American borders, representing countries such as France, Norway, Australia, Germany, Rwanda, and Singapore. The industries these companies represent are as diverse as their home base, with emphasis placed on verticals such as Blockchain, Sustainability, FinTech, Transportation and IoT.

Among international frontrunners to the finals in February 2018 are Norway’s climate action tool chooose.today, touch-free gesture control interface creators BlueMint Labs’ Bixi hailing from France, Powerledger – an Australian company creating a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading platform, and Germany’s sustainability stewards AIRY – a plant pot designed to ventilate root systems.

Stateside, the bank of competitors is stacked with brilliant minds from Silicon Valley to the east coast covering a wide range of cutting-edge trends that span the spectrum of tech industries from BioTech and Gaming to Healthcare. Companies such as Mountain View, CA’s NextBiotics – a biotechnology platform engineering viruses, infant healthcare platform Owlet Baby Care Inc., and Florida’s Immersed Games – an online game world for real STEM learning experiences, are all prospects who may have never crossed paths, yet now find themselves on a leveled playing field competing for the ultimate prize.

Other noteworthy aspirants include Bluefield Technologies, who is utilizing microsatellite sensors to analyze high-value methane emission data and Neurotrack, a company transforming the diagnosis and prevention of memory loss.

Past iterations of XTC have showcased the latest breakthroughs in sectors such as Virtual Reality, Healthcare, Genetics and Transportation, and this year proves to be even stronger. In an inspiring showcase of the evolving landscape of startup-driven discoveries, XTC serves as the platform where science and ingenuity collide to create a new paradigm of advancement in consumer, enterprise and medical tech.

XTC 2018 is proud to present the pioneering Judges’ panels for the Semi-Finals and the Final Round:

  • Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, Investor & Philanthropist Returning XTC Finals Judge
  • Gary Shapiro, CEO Consumer Technology Association, Returning XTC Semi-Finals Judge
  • Koichi Narasaki, Chief Digital Officer, Sompo
  • Valery Vavilov, CEO, BitFury
  • Tom Siebel, Veteran software entrepreneur and founder of C3 loT, Returning XTC Finals Judge

XTC 2018 TIMELINE

  • Stage I – October 11, 2017 – Top 25 Announcement
  • Stage II – November 9, 2017 – Top 10 Announcement at CES Unveiled NYC: Two months ahead of CES 2018 10 Semi-Finalists will be selected from the Top 25 XTC challengers. In addition to unveiling the Semi-Finalists, the annual event showcases the future of tech before the new year.
  • Stage III – January 11, 2018 – XTC Semi-Finals at CES: Extreme Tech Challenge returns to CES Las Vegas for the semi-finals in 2018. This stage of the contest will see the chosen Top 10 pitch their tech live on-stage in hope of being one of three companies selected to move onto Necker Island.
  • Stage IV – February 28, 2018 – XTC Finals on Necker Island: Top 3 Finalists present to a panel of all-star judges, spearheaded by Branson.

XTC would like to extend special gratitude to the current sponsors on board for 2018 – SompoOWCZoomJungle CreationsCiscoQualcomm, and Meltwater. Thanks to their generous partnerships, XTC 2018 will be the most comprehensive iteration to date!

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About Extreme Tech Challenge
Extreme Tech Challenge is a competition that empowers entrepreneurs and their companies by providing visibility, resources, and it gives competitors the ability to grow exponentially in scale and knowledge at a low to no incremental cost. XTC strives to inspire and provide growth to up and coming entrepreneurs and businesses by surrounding them with mentors to help guide them as they build on product success with business success.

XTC pulls this all together into an experience that money cannot buy with showcase events at the world’s largest technology trade show, CES, and also at Sir Richard Branson’s own Necker Island.

Hurricane Irma Relief
XTC alongside Richard Branson and The Virgin Group continue to do everything possible to support and assist the local BVI community that they call home. Please explore the various donation options & spread awareness to Richard Branson’s efforts with Virgin and their support of the BVI relief fund . By covering all of Virgin Unite’s Hurricane relief overheads, Richard Branson and the Virgin Group have made it possible for 100% of the donations received directly to the local BVI communities.

EXTREME TECH CHALLENGE 2018 TOP 25

ABRA – AirSwap – AIRY GREENTECH – Bansen Labs – BioCellection Inc. – Bixi Bluemint Labs – Bluefield Technologies – Chooose.today – EVmatch – Immersed Games – Lavabit – LYNQ – Neurotrack – Nextbiotics – Owlet Baby Care Inc. – Piaggio Fast Forward – Powerledger – Rayton Solar 2018 – REVL – SafeMotos – Square Lovin – TenX Wallet – CoLoadX – Tissue Analytics – WooHoo by SmartBeings


Football Clubs: getting the most out of gambling sponsorship 25th September, 2017

There has been a large increase in the amount of betting companies sponsoring football clubs in the top two tiers of English football. And for clubs looking to improve and maybe mount a challenge in their respective leagues, looking for bookies to sponsor your club may actually be step one into doing so. But beware, time is running out, as it is only a matter of time before regulatory bodies intervene.

Betting is now the latest industry to monopolise the sponsorship sector of the footballing world, with match and training kits being sponsored by many gambling companies across the world. However, for clubs and rights holders, your time is running out as authorities will soon put a stop to this, just like in 2003 the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act caused tobacco advertisement to be prohibited. 2005 saw the ‘Gambling Act’ passed, allowing domestic and offshore gambling companies to advertise on TV. In 2007, 4 out of the 44 clubs in premier league and championship had kit sponsors pertaining to gambling. Over the years, this figure has dramatically grown, and now out of the 44 clubs in the top two leagues, 22 clubs are sponsored by gambling companies.

The takeover of betting companies

If we take away the top 6 clubs, because they are separate entities from the rest of the top two tiers of English football, over half of the clubs are sponsored by betting companies. Betting companies in 2007 took up just under 10% of the market share or kit sponsors, but 10 years later, it is now at 50%, but what effect does this have on the future of football?

More competition in the Premier League

With the rise of gambling companies, clubs are now able to challenge the top six more than ever before. With an increase in sponsorship money, clubs can inject that money into new players and new infrastructure, giving them a better chance of winning. As a gambling company, sponsoring a club is a win-win. They not only gain more awareness, but if they are giving clubs more money, with the industry spending £47.3 million this causes the gap between the top six and the rest of the Premier League and Championship to shrink as clubs are able to afford more. The quality of players and facilities will improve which makes games much more even, thus containing much more upsets which is beneficial for gambling companies as there is now much more of a chance for favourites to lose.

What does this mean for betting companies, and how to make the most of it?

Football is the largest sport betted on in the world, and with the increase of gambling companies sponsoring football clubs, sports betting will become even more prevalent. With this being said, due to the ethical issues that come with gambling, such as addiction and the breaking up of families, it’s only a matter of time before there is some sort of regulation causing gambling companies to refrain from being the shirt sponsors of clubs in England. Just like with tobacco, gambling advertising in the premier league will become extinct. So in order to get the best out of gambling advertisement, gambling companies need to act now as opposed to in five or ten years’ time.


My controversial stance on “the current climate” 5th September, 2017

The British public have been told that funding and corporate sponsorship is a bleak business.  Our sports, health, arts and culture sectors are battling those strong arm brands who are becoming increasingly “difficult”.  Nevertheless, those underdogs continue their uphill struggle whilst we root from the side lines.

I hate to burst your bubble, but despite the hundreds of articles, interviews and broadcasts, this is just not so.

Let’s start with the facts:

  1. Industry: sponsorship spend in 2016 was $60.1 billion USD, which was a 4.6% increase since 2015.  The amount of sponsorship dollars spent has continued to increase.  More importantly sponsorship growth has outpaced advertising growth since 2014 and just recently surpassed marketing/promotional spend in 2016.  In short, sponsorship spending is on the rise.
  2. Market: sponsorship is being purchased by businesses and business is also on the rise.  Globally there are over 100 million start-ups launched each year and in the UK alone we have seen 429,950 businesses launch since the start of this year.  We have also seen an increase in businesses of all sectors start contributing to sponsorship with law firms, online networks, and new technology getting in on the action.

So if both spend and new customers are increasing dramatically, why the sullen faces when it comes to pitching sponsorship opportunities?

The fundamental issue is the proposition.  No one seems to know what they are selling.

The best and worst thing about sponsorship is that it can be very intangible – you can’t touch and feel a sponsorship like you can a t-shirt or even an employee.  The benefit of this is that you can work with your future partners to shape and structure the end result.  The negative is that many people find it incredibly difficult to sell something they can’t see.

However, there are many individuals and agencies who can help NGOs and rights holders build a strong proposition and formulate the opportunity so it’s easily understood (but most importantly bought) by brands.  The issue is that 99% of these people go out and try and do it alone.  Most fail to recognise that this is a specific skill set and experience is required first and foremost to build the opportunity.  Once packaged properly and the people going out to market are equipped with the right tools and information, sponsorship sales becomes much simpler.

My one tip before going out to sponsors – get some help to first identify what it is you are selling in the first place.  You’ll soon find that the “current climate” isn’t so difficult after all.


The Smell of September 4th September, 2017

September is my most favourite month at Slingshot – mainly because it is the kick off of our busiest quarter and ‘buying season’.  Over 80% of big brands purchase their sponsorship deals in this period, which means if you are in sales, the majority of the quarter is spent closing everything you’ve worked so hard on for the calendar year thus far.  For those less cut-throat, it is also the time when your ideas and pitches finally come to fruition.  Outlining execution and following through on the deliverables of programmes, it’s when creativity comes alive.  It is both the most commercial and creative quarter of the year – which is where Slingshot as an agency excels and when our clients truly feel our value to their bottom line.

Many people assume that our success lies in our ability to close deals, when in actual fact it’s how we combine our creative flair for partnerships into a commercial deal.  This synergy is the reason closing becomes easy.  There are better ways to sell sponsorship than cold calling and I truly believe sponsorship deals cannot exist without understanding both the commercial and creative value.  Yet most of the sponsorship industry is still wholly divided with activation agencies and sales consultants.  What makes Slingshot’s strategies work time and time again is understanding the client’s vision and finding the right brands to partner with where both visions align.  Insight and foresight is incredibly important to create the lasting partnerships that are necessary in this churning industry.

If you haven’t ever seen them or need a refresher, I encourage you to have a look at our latest case studies here.  And if you ever want to have a cup of coffee to discuss how we do what we do, I’d love to.  You can reach me at jackie@slingshotsponsorship.com subject ‘Coffee Break’.

It’s September after all.

 


Top 5 Tips To Ensure Your Next Sponsorship Proposal Doesn’t End Up In The Trash 21st August, 2017

Far too many people fail to realise how crucial a sponsorship proposal is.  They are hoping that the reader can decipher the value through your iPhone photos arranged into a poorly formatted PowerPoint.  You wouldn’t get your haircut from a guy who handed out leaflets that he created with crayon, and the same goes with sponsorship proposals.  The lack of resource put into making an amazing sponsorship proposal outlines how people fall into the trap of how most people approach sponsorship.

Sponsorship is not free money.

Now that’s out of the way, the key is effective communication in a short space of time.  So how do you articulate the many wonderful benefits of your package succinctly?  Here are my top 5 tips on doing this well:

  1. Talk about them, not you. Sponsorship is purchased with the aim that it will help the sponsor achieve something.  If you spend the first 8 out of 9 pages talking about how great you are, it will become difficult for a prospect to understand how this great thing is going to benefit them.
  2. Use a graphic designer. You don’t have to invest in a photoshoot, but having a graphic designer format this will make all the difference – even if you don’t use any photos.  If you want to take it one step further, have a video made (example from one we’ve done here).
  3. Put in a cost. So many people fail to put in the investment of their sponsorship in hopes that someone will ring them back to ask. Whilst in principal this makes sense, it almost never happens in practice.  Don’t make people work too hard to sponsor you, give them all the information they need straight away.
  4. Use testimonials. Credibility is often an issue for sponsorship opportunities that don’t have broadcast backing.  Therefore, invest some time to ask your network and previous sponsors to write some quotes on how sponsoring your event helped them achieve their goals.
  5. Keep it short, but engaging. I have seen over 30,000 sponsorship proposals and only 1 of those was a great sponsorship proposal that lasted over 20 pages.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s unlikely you are the 0.003% of the population that can engage someone throughout a 10+ page sales proposal.  Our rule of thumb is that if you can say everything you need to say in 1 page, then keep it to one page.  This is rarely the case and our proposals tend to average 4-7 slides.  So keep it short, but informative!

Creating a proposal is only one small part of the sponsorship sales battle, so make it easier on yourself by putting in more effort in at the beginning so your proposal actually gets read. Instead of being like most and ending up in the bin.


eSports: It’s here and it isn’t going away 11th August, 2017

A force to be reckoned with

320 million eyes. That is the amount of exposure a brand could potentially gain through the sponsorship of eSports right now, with predictions of a £1bn market and audiences doubling to over 600m by 2020. The elite professional gaming industry is taking over the world at an ever-increasing rate.

With the millennial generation becoming ever more influential, eSports currently taps into this demographic like no other, with an estimated core audience of 145 million. This means that eSports can offer brands considerable value immediately, due to the technology developed world that we now live in.

In 2016, Twitch became the official streaming partner of the eSports live gaming events for League of Legends, Call of Duty and Counter Strike. Twitch are able to stream to 100 million people at the same time and all for free, meaning that economic cycles will not affect the exposure brands gains as much as mainstream sport. To put this in perspective more people in the US watched the League of Legends Championship final than the NBA Finals, the Masters and the Stanley Cup individually. eSports has arrived.

What does this mean for mainstream sporting rights holders?

With eSports already selling out stadiums and attracting major brands such as; Orange, Apple and Samsung, mainstream sports rights holders are now faced with the challenge of how and if they should compete with eSports for global brands’ sponsorship budgets.

What can the mainstream sports rights holder do?

Some mainstream sports rights holders have already embraced the industry by not viewing eSports as a competitor but another vehicle to grow their own brand, with football clubs such as PSG deciding to create their own eSports team for League of Legends, which is a game not linked to football whatsoever, in order they can tap into an entirely new fanbase.

Whether this strategy will work is yet to be seen, but one thing the eSports industry is doing is disrupting the landscape. With eSports becoming a force to be reckoned with, it will not spell the end of mainstream sports sponsorship but will mean these commercial teams will need to seriously review their proposition and strategy within the market.