Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) announces Top 25 for Fifth Annual Competition 25th October, 2018

Passion, purpose and innovation are key characteristics of the Top 25 Challengers poised to take on ACTAI Global’s Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2019; the fifth annual race to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Unveiled during the XTC 2018 Finals on the island this week, the Top 25 contenders will now embark on the world’s ultimate startup competition.

XTC 2019 unfolds across key stages throughout the year leading up to the finals on Necker Island, scheduled to take place April 3rd 2019. This year’s top 25 features companies from twelve countries including Thailand, Estonia, Switzerland, Norway, Israel, Australia, Turkey, USA, Mexico, and more.

There is also a wide variety of industries represented, with this year’s top 25 featuring an increase in energy, environment, and wellness categories. Other highlights include almost half of the companies represented on the list having female founders. More info on the top 25 below in alphabetical order!

  • ActiveProtective: A belt that promotes safer mobility of older adults using wearable airbags. The company is based out of Philadelphia and focuses on the wearable industry.
  • bitlumens: Based out of Switzerland, their mission is to offer a peer to peer platform where users adopt off-grid Solar systems to reduce carbon emissions and get access to lighting and water in places where there is no power grid.
  • Civic Eagle, Inc: This Atalanta based company helps organizations automate their discovery, tracking, and analysis of important legislation with artificial intelligence.
  • Earth Ledger: Based out of Estonia, Earth Ledger looks to resolve climate change using blockchain technology.
  • echoAR: A cloud platform for augmented reality (AR) apps based out of New York City.
  • Einride: Based out of Sweden, Einride provides a system for autonomous and zero emission road transportation.
  • Elevian: A company that develops regenerative medicines to treat and prevent age-related diseases. They focus on the Biotech industry and are based out of Boston.
  • Empower AS: Based out of Norway and focused on the environment, Empower AS is a digital plastic waste deposit system.
  • EnlightAID: A company fighting corruption in aid through transparency technology. They are based out of Norway and focus on the FinTech industry.
  • eWATERpay: Based out of the United Kingdom, eWATERpay uses IOT & Mobile Money to deliver sustainable water supply to 1 billion. Their main industries are energy and cleantech.
  • Liven: A digital currency company based out of Australia that focuses on lifestyle rewards and a mobile payment wallet.
  • Lynq: The only location tracker that works over miles – without phones, networks or infrastructure, founded in New York.
  • MicroEra Power – CHPplus: Based in New York, the company was founded on the belief that Engine + Fuel cell + Storage = onsite cooling, heat, power, and a fast payback!
  • Mymee Inc: A healthcare focused company from New York City that has created a digital therapeutic program to reverse the symptoms of autoimmune disease.
  • Nori Carbon Removal Marketplace: Nori is a Seattle based company that is creating a new way for anyone in the world to pay to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Its purpose: to reverse climate change.
  • NurtureCo: A healthcare focused company out of New York City that makes elder home care management easier. 
  • Nyx Technologies: A Neurotechnology company out of Israel that is currently developing a wearable headband that monitors and changes brain activity in real time. 
  • re:3D: A company out of Houston making human-scale 3D printing accessible.
  • Synapbox: Based out of Mexico City, Synapbox is a content testing platform that helps you measure consumers’ emotional and visual real-time responses that turn into sales.
  • Team uSens: Launched in 2013, uSens is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley and build interactive virtual experiences.
  • The Last of Ours: A platform for conservation initiatives to raise awareness and funds. They are based out of blockchain and centered around the blockchain industry. 
  • Uizard: Based out of Demark, Uizard has created the world-first AI to transform user interface images to code automatically.
  • WeWALK: A smart cane for visually impaired. The company is based out of Istanbul and focuses on the world of accessibility.
  • WILD Technologies AI: Based out of San Francisco, WILD Technologies AI empowers humans to reach their personal best.
  • WOMIN.IO: This New York City company provides a platform offering peer to peer engagements, verification, and the use of escrowed compensation through smart contracts on a blockchain.

 

Beyond the top 25, XTC would also like to provide an honorable mention to three companies with scores close to the finalists. These companies are Chai EnergyNorby Robotics, and ZON Products, all creating functional consumer products that improve people’s lives.

If you are interested in getting exclusive access to any of these start ups – or looking for one of the most unique B2B marketing and networking opportunities on earth – get in touch with Slingshot Sponsorship  to discuss partnership opportunities.

Original: http://www.extremetechchallenge.com/2018/10/24/xtc-2019-top-25-announcement/


The Pitfall of Long Term Sponsorship Deals 27th July, 2016

English football team Chelsea and global sportswear brand Adidas outline the potential challenges that long termed partnerships can create. In early May this year, a mutual agreement was made to end the sponsorship deal that short-fell Adidas’ potential and failed to reflect the value of Chelsea FC.

The 10-year sponsorship deal ended after only four year on the basis that the partnership was not benefiting either party.  Chelsea felt the £300million deal did not reflect their success nor their value, whilst Adidas felt the deal was not in line with their new business strategy of maintaining a lesser number of sponsorships at an increased sponsorship sum for their sponsees.  Having recently made a £750million sponsorship deal with rival team Manchester United, Adidas left Chelsea FC feeling undervalued and believing they could achieve greater sponsorship than what had been offered to them 4 years ago. On the other end, with Chelsea’s shocking performance this past season, there was no incentive for Adidas to increase the amount of the sponsorship deal in a way that offered enough benefit and still aligned with their new strategy.

Whilst the partnership proved to be mutually beneficial for the initial years, in recent times with both parties growing and evolving it only proved to be a hindrance to their futures. With the sponsorship industry constantly growing and as a result its costs ballooning, Adidas prioritising their new strategy of a more focused portfolio.  Additionally, Chelsea’s acknowledgement that their partnership did not reflect their market worth today was vital in their growth with a new partner.

The sponsorship industry evolves at a rapid rate, shifting away from logo badging to strategic business deliverables. Simultaneously the sporting world, and more specifically the football industry remains somewhat volatile – with politics and the economy affecting players and transfers amplified by team performance (Leicester City).

Although signing a 10-year contract may seem beneficial, the pace of the industry and media landscape evolution creates more risk.  Long termed contracts in such changing conditions mean that partnerships can get to a stagnant point where neither party can maximise the initial benefits sought. The idea that an extensive contract will provide security is predominantly only viable when looking at the monetary side of sponsorship, but sponsorship is more than money.  This façade of security tends to be a contradictory ‘benefit’ – potentially being more risky than short term contracts that evolve as both partners evolve.


It’s Not Who You Know 25th July, 2016

Far too many of our new business meetings focus purely on who Slingshot knows at Board level with brands. Undeniably, we know a lot. But that’s our business – it’d be like if McDonalds didn’t know what types of condiments to use for their hamburgers. It would be ludicrous if after 6 years of selling sponsorship rights to global brands, we didn’t make a friend or two along the way.

Unfortunately, almost all sponsorship sales agencies use this angle in their pitches – providing a false sense of security, to the potential new client, that sponsorship sales is all about speaking to the right person. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In my 15 years of selling “stuff”, it’s almost never about who you know. Bad salespeople focus on this in a new business pitch because it’s easy. Rather than take time to review the boring strategic processes that underlie sponsorship sales, it’s easier to provide wow factor by name dropping. This masks the fact that the challenge of selling sponsorship actually is controllable by a rights holder and can be fixed without hiring a specialist sponsorship sales agency, and no one really wants that do they?

Slingshot’s approach is never about the black book, which many think is unconventional and also means we lose a lot of pitches to those that guarantee sponsors and often unachievable revenue targets. The smoke and mirrors sales pitch champion who they know, but if you are struggling to maximise your full sponsorship potential it’s not because of your sales people, your property or your access to LinkedIn – it’s your commercial strategy.

Without a commercial strategy that understands what assets you have, what assets brands require to drive ROI, your fair market value and a pretty spectacular proposal – you honestly don’t really have a chance. I am pretty good friends with a lot of big brand buyers, but even I can’t flog something without the above. Gone are Chairman’s Whim days, but it means you have got to start thinking about your proposition if you are going to invest time and resource into selling sponsorship.


Jackie Fast named as Entrepreneur of the Week 5th May, 2016

Jackie Fast has been announced Entrepreneur of the Week by The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine.

Jackie was interviewed for The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine, you can read the interview below:

Tell us about you and the business
Slingshot creates revenue for organisations through the process of transforming those organisations into viable marketing platforms for brands. Basically we get sponsors for events, online platforms, television, associations, celebrities and charities. Launched on the premise that sponsorship can do more than just brand awareness through logo badging, we uncover the true value and business synergies that deliver significant ROI for all parties involved. This approach is based on business value – we are essentially commercial experts for organisations wanting to grow.

How are you helping start-ups?
Almost 70% of our Bootcamps are with start-up businesses as creating a robust sponsorship strategy is vital to not only their ambitious growth plans, but tends to also be the only way the Founders can earn a salary.
We also have a quarterly training module with General Assembly, which is specific to the tech start up community. Many tech start-ups secure VC funding at product development stage; however, when they go to launch it – funds have dried out, so we teach tech start-ups (and VC fund managers) how to utilise sponsorship techniques to reach users critical mass for awareness (and sales).

Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur, but I’m not sure I always wanted to be one (or really understood what one was) at a young age. I like executing ideas – in often controversial ways, so being my own boss is typically the easiest way to do this.

Where did the idea come from?
I’ve been known as a financial fixer in my previous roles – I find solutions to money problems using creative commercial strategies. It was a very simple step to go from that into sponsorship.

Do you have a business role model?
I don’t have a particular business role model, but I admire people who don’t take no for an answer and who aren’t worried about what other people think. I’m also a huge fan of Harriet Green as she cold called her last employer (Thomas Cook). I love anyone who cold calls a Chairman of a company outlining why things could be done better.

What were you doing before you started?
I initiated and led the first sponsorship division of the Direct Marketing Association in the UK.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Hiring the right people for business growth. Our people are so vital to our business and so it’s so important to work with the right ones. However, it can also be a challenging job with a lot of pressure – and it’s been a learning experience trying to identify the right types of people who can be successful in this environment.

What has been the biggest breakthrough?
Learning that the emotions in business come in cycles – and everyone goes through hard times, but the important thing is to keep your vision and keep a smile on your face.

Do you think there is enough entrepreneurship taught in the education system?
I actually think there is a lot of entrepreneurship education everywhere (including the education system); however, most of the time it’s has little awareness with actual budding entrepreneurs. I think we could do more to promote the available opportunities.

What are your plans for this year?
Slingshot have been actively opening our horizons globally – with projects already in India, Africa, and Asia this year alone, we are hoping to build our presence in these new markets.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
With a great team working on excellent partnership opportunities with brands you haven’t heard of yet.


Slingshot heads to India 7th April, 2016

Slingshot Sponsorship are heading to India later this month to work with IDBI Federal Life Insurance, one of India’s fastest growing life insurance companies.

Slingshot’s remit is to help build sponsorship strategy into the marketing team at IDBI Federal and support the team in their role to maximise the potential of their current and any future sponsorship investments.

Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, said:
“As a growing organisation operating in a highly competitive marketplace, it’s important for us to have a differentiated marketing approach. In the last couple of months we have taken important steps to boost our brand building efforts using sponsorships and experiential marketing initiatives. We’re eager to work with Jackie and the team at Slingshot to help us to further derive the long term value of our brand and brand associations. We know that bringing practical implementation solutions to our sponsorships will result in increased benefits to our customers which we’re always striving to deliver.”

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot explains; “We’re looking forward to working with IDBI Federal and helping them leverage their sponsorship assets further than typical logo badging. It’s also very exciting for us to be working with firms in India as expanding our client portfolio within the World’s largest democracy is a central element to our global growth strategy.”


Will brands click play on creating an e-athlete megastar in 2016? 23rd February, 2016

E-Sports are fast becoming more popular as both a competitor and spectator sport in the West, with Wembley Arena playing host to large events such as League of Legends and a dedicated e-gaming space currently being developed in Fulham.

Despite numerous stalwarts’ draconian views and attempts to undermine the credibility of the platform, veteran e-sports journalist Rod Breslau commented in a VICE interview that it continues to surpass expectations in revenue and attention. A once tight knit community now draws in hundreds of thousands of attendees to events (surpassing many traditional sporting contests), eager to see their team take home cash prizes to $18million (The International 2015).

Already USA and Korea have ‘appointed’ superstar players (Faker, NadeShot), with the success of KSI (he would be the first to point out he is not a ‘gamer’) in the UK when will mainstream brands see the e-sports as a credible, substantial marketing platform? Red Bull were the first major brand to act signing Dave ‘Walshy’ Walsh in 2006 however relatively few brands have followed. Venturing outside traditional endorsements to capitalise on the expanse of the platform, Red Bull developed training labs focusing on nurturing and developing the e-sports athletes of the future, cementing their position and long term commitment in the sport.

E-sports is growing in size year on year with significant growth expected in 2016. The platform is already producing talent, major events and games which are capable of building and capturing a loyal fan base of elusive millennials. These can be reached through numerous, non-traditional channels including online streams and development YouTube channels, to note Matt ‘NadeShot’ Haag has over one million YouTube subscribers who follow his daily gaming sessions.

Yet Europe has yet to find their e-sports star on the same pedestal as their Asian counterparts such as Sang-Hyeok Lee, who is constantly in discussions with native Chinese companies interested in partnering.

There are a number of parallels with the growth of sports marketing in the 1970’s and the e-gaming platform of today with brands viewing the platform with trepidation as opposed to optimism. Brands should look towards e-sports as an exciting platform to engage with their market using all of the crucial buzz words of content and media coverage of the industry today (in 2014 over 70 million hours of content was captured from League of Legends online, with the BBC streaming the 2015 contest live on their IPlayer and Sport platforms).

2016 is set to be a monumental year for the growth of the e-sports industry, with tournament prize pools reaching up to $20 million and huge strides pending in the Western market.  With new launches of multiplayer sensations (such as Overwatch, Battleborn) sponsors will have the ability to engage in real-time with the audience something which is rarely achieved through traditional sporting means.

For those brands who position themselves as ground-breakers E-sports offers the perfect challenge. The only question is, who will click play?


What Car? Win Excellence Award with the help of Slingshot Sponsorship 16th February, 2016

What Car? was awarded the Rights Holder Achievement Award at the prestigious European Sponsorship Association Awards held at Café de Paris in London.
Overcoming strong competition from around Europe, What Car? impressed the judging panel after turning around dwindling interest from sponsors in their flagship event and bringing numerous new sponsors on board.
In 2011 the What Car Awards only had one sponsor which signalled the lowest event revenue in its 36-year history, at this point they enlisted the help of Slingshot Sponsorship to overhaul the commercial strategy and attract new sponsors.
Four years later, the first sponsor Slingshot brought on board in 2012 are still sponsors today, despite signing one-year contracts each year. What Car Awards and Slingshot Sponsorship have achieved this by creating the right partnership for each sponsor, delivering results year in year out – ensuring the delivery of truly sustainable sponsorship.
Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship commented; “We are really proud of our work with the What Car? Awards who were actually Slingshot’s first ever client, the Awards are a fabulous event which now has the sponsor partners it deserves.
Slingshot are unique in the fact that we exclusively specialise in sponsorship sales – particularly how to creatively build a commercial proposition. This award win (one of many for this client) supports how our innovative approach significantly impacts our client’s bottom line for the long term without compromising the culture and personality of the event. We are thrilled!”

To find out more about the What Car? Awards please click here.
To read the Slingshot case study on What Car please click here.
To find out more about Slingshot Sponsorship please click here.
To see more news from the ESA Excellence Awards 2015 please click here.


Billetto joins with Slingshot Sponsorship to develop digital sponsorship for event owners 27th January, 2016

Billetto, the ticketing platform has joined forces with Slingshot Sponsorship to develop an innovative activation platform for its event owners to connect with their fans.

The rich data Billetto has on each of its attendees is much sought-after by event owners wanting to engage with specific audiences based on lifestyle segmentation and with access to over 35,000 events across the UK, and an active email database of 250,000, the pickings are ripe for Billetto’s partner brands.

With access never before available with such ease, brands will now be able to hone into very niche audiences using demographics in addition to interest segments such as culture, music, sport and creative.
“Our USP as a data provider is that we can offer a model where the client only pays for the specific data they need, so if they are targeting a very small audience of 35-44 year-old foodies within a certain European region, they would only pay for the reach we could deliver,” explains Morten Jensen, Partner at Billetto.

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship says, “The potential of this is enormous and helps bridge the gap between online and onsite engagement. By working with rich data, we can segment campaigns and messages with minimal cost and resource. Equally there is the capability to create extremely widespread campaigns and develop continuity with the same consumer – regardless of which music festival or event they attend. It marks a shift in the way that brands and rights holders can operate in the sponsorship industry.”

To find out more about how your brand could utilise Billetto customer data to engage meaningfully with your target audience online, please contact Andrew Selby from Slingshot Sponsorship:
E: andrew@slingshotsponsorship.com
T: +44 (0)207 226 5052


A Week At Slingshot 17th October, 2013

We get up to a lot at the Slingshot offices, so we thought we’d give a bit of insight into our daily goings on.  Our very own Jamie Dey willingly offered his services. Having joined the team four months ago, Jamie has a fresh take on Slingshot’s agency life; so here’s a week with Jamie.

Monday

Having spent the weekend in Cornwall which was subsequently followed by the mandatory slog along the A303 late into the night, Monday started with a coffee firmly by my side.  It doesn’t take long, however, until I’m off and going with a diary update to see what lies ahead.

With the cobwebs swiftly shaken, the first task is a catch up with the Slingshot team, which gives everyone the chance to catch up with one another’s business – more often than not this turns into an open forum with everyone contributing on strategy and areas in which campaigns can be improved upon (very ambitious for a Monday morning, indeed!).

The rest of day is filled with analyzing new business requests, and looking at what future projects we can get involved in. Each proposal is sent around the team, we offer advice on every inquiry no matter how big or small, it’s important to feedback on every request as you never know what it can lead to.

Tuesday

The day starts briskly by jumping straight into talking with brands that are looking to sponsor the What Car awards? The awards themselves have been a real success over the past two years, and the platform has developed considerably, making it a great account to work on.

Brainstorming possible activations for brands gets the blood pumping and definitely an area of the job I enjoy, this takes up the day and with progress made, the week is looking good.  It’s great to see new clients coming on board and the process which is involved from inception – the run up to Christmas looks busy!

Wednesday

Wednesday is dedicated to on-site duties for Silverpop at the Festival of Marketing, this is a chance to get out of the office and see how our work is doing in practice.

Our work with Silverpop as a B2B brand keeps me on my toes as it goes away from our usual consumer focussed platforms. This broad range of experience has really helped me look at each account with an open mind; this is one of Slingshots strong points and has made the agency dynamic in its approach within the industry.

Thursday

Hump day is gone and it’s the back part of the week – that said, the day is spent sitting in on one of Slingshot’s key services, the sponsorship Bootcamp.  The Bootcamp is a one or two day service which aims to provide organisations with an insight into the sponsorship industry with a focus upon developing sponsorship proposals and approaching and securing sponsorship.

Today’s Bootcamp is tailored around an international TV show, which I worked directly on alongside our MD Jackie Fast.  Presented by Jackie, the Bootcamp seeks to give insight but most importantly to spark inspiration and discussion, which it looks as though we’ve done!  The month’s work prior to today has been demanding, but it’s great to see my strategy warmly received and to know that there is a high chance of it being implemented.

Friday

The morning is spent going through sales and prospecting for Digital Unite and their Spring Online event next year. This has proved a real success over the past 18 months and a fantastic example of a well engaged campaign that is making a significant difference across the nation.

The Friday ritual starts early with Tina Turner howling from the office speakers, giving us all the motivation to finish off our weekly progress reports in time to make a dash to the pub.