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/


Charity Sponsorship: Change your mindset – change your fortunes 21st August, 2018

Charity partnerships have shown they can be extremely effective when done right; you only have to look at partnerships between LEGO and WFF, Pampers and Unicef and the I am Shaquem Griffin video, which shook the internet to see this. But for many years, there has seemed to be a reluctance to maximise charity sponsorships.

In the digital age, modern high-level sponsorships have formed a crucial component of the strategic marketing mix, but it could be argued that CSR focussed sponsorships have seemingly been behind the curve. Although in recent times there has been a noticeable shift in CSR sponsorships, Slingshot believes that more can be done so that brands and charities can harness each other for a greater mutual gain.

Charities have the potential to offer brands so much more than CSR alone. In many cases, charities can offer everything that a normal rights holder can: brand awareness, experiential opportunities, direct sales, digital marketing and access to high-profile ambassadors. On top of this, CSR partnerships offer great client hospitality opportunities, and are generally linked to internal stakeholder and employee satisfaction. However, for more charities and brands to take advantage of these benefits, attitudes to these types of partnerships need to change.

Changing the Charity Mindset

Firstly, the charities themselves need to realise their commercial potential. Historically, charities have fallen into the trap of leading with a philanthropic pitch when in-front of brands rather than showcasing the value of a sponsorship deal. Charities are so unique and varied that they have assets and activation opportunities that many properties cannot offer, so charities must invest in the understanding of their audience, realising their USP and harnessing this for their commercial benefit. Additionally, we stress that charities need to be proactive! To get sponsors, you can’t wait for the proposals to come to you, you need to make them yourselves.

Changing the Brand Mindset

Attitudes of brands need to adjust too. There’s generally a timid behaviour towards charities: ‘we have to do this for goodwill, but we can’t use this as a commercial opportunity’… Of course, you can! Charities want to work with relevant brands to create value for their audience just like a music festival or sports team does. Being actively involved in a sponsorship that has a strong fit with your demographic will create value for the charities consumers and help your brand reach a more holistic set of objectives. This will lead to a more authentic long-term relationship, which will be far more effective than simply donating to a goodwill cause.

One charity that is following our approach is Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK). We spoke with Ramon Smits, the charity’s Business Development Manager, to understand what they think sets them apart and what their advice for other charities is: “MDUK understands that charities usually represent an opportunity for corporate philanthropy, but in recent times we have realised the commercial value of our own brand. We are the leading charity for muscle wasting diseases, which is a great title for partners to align themselves with! Through Slingshot, we have understood how to use our unique assets to boost our sponsorship revenue. We believe that other charities can benefit massively from truly understanding who their audience is and what they could offer potential partners; knowing that is vital to showcase your value and attract sponsorship!”

Slingshot can help with any enquiries about sponsorship. If taking your sponsorship strategy seriously is of interest to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


The Cateran Yomp – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s ultimate challenge! 13th June, 2017

Slingshot has been selected by the Army’s national charity to provide valuation and long-term commercial direction for The Cateran Yomp.

Entering its 7th year, The Cateran Yomp is an epic trek where teams of 3-6 people take on 54 miles in 24 hours across the rugged terrain of the Scottish wilderness, pushing both mind and body to the limit. The Yomp brings together unsung heroes from the UK and overseas, with participants ranging from elite athletes to first timers, the young and the old in a unique environment fostering terrific camaraderie.

The event has raised over £2.4m and has been sponsored by the likes of Sainsburys, Alliance Trust, HSBC, Thomson Reuters, PWC and notable others since its inception in 2011.

Bernie Critchley, Events Manager – Bespoke Events & Sponsorship states:

“It was really useful getting Slingshot Sponsorship to do a valuation on the Cateran Yomp, and give us advice on sponsorship packages, so we knew that we were pitching it at the right level. The proposal that they designed for us was excellent, and was perfect to send to our prospects. The team were very friendly, professional and easy to work with throughout the whole process.”

Sam Howell, Head of New Business, Slingshot Sponsorship said:

“We’re delighted to provide sponsorship support to such an inspiring charity and a team of passionate individuals to help them make the most of the commercial potential of The Cateran Yomp”

The Cateran Yomp takes place this weekend, 10 -11 June 2017.


Closing the Gap 25th May, 2017

Women’s sports accounts for 5.4% of the value of all sponsorship deals and just 0.4%  in the UK.

This percentage is mirrored in the number of women CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies: 5.4%, and though not one is a sports company, women are rising through the corporate ranks to become decision-makers.  The underlying cultural attitudes around women and women’s sports are slowly changing and organisations such as Women in Sport and This Girl Can are just two examples of movements working to change perceptions.

Effective communication is the key for athletes to promote themselves and their sport and to increase their share of the sponsorship pie.  By becoming part of the conversation in social media and thus becoming more relevant, potential sponsors can see the value of the athlete to their brand and the business plan becomes clear. Ultimately, they need to know they will get a return on their money as well as activation avenues.  Sponsoring female athletes creates a potential new audience and revenue stream as women today have huge buying power.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has been able to translate the popularity of the sport into large sponsorship and media deals. Last year, it signed a 10-year, $525 million media rights deal with PERFORM, the largest media rights and production deal in the history of women’s sports. Tennis is leading the way for gender equality with equal prize money for the four Grand Slams. Only a few female stars outside of Tennis such as Mia Hamm & Ronda Rousey attract the huge deals that the men so easily do.

Creating sponsorship for female athletes is no different to men: athletes need to be ambassadors for the brand and communicate well the brand’s culture. By using female athletes, brands could not only access a wider audience but also create opportunities to activate in new and creative ways.  Sponsors who integrate into women centric platforms showcase their support for gender equality and diversity.


Teamwork Won’t Make The Dream Work 1st March, 2017

The next innovation in football sponsorship has arrived – more advertising space. Shirt sleeve sponsors will likely be on show from the start of the 2017/18 season and some reports have suggested that this space is valued at 20% of that of a main kit sponsor. Think of that what you will, but what is actually interesting about this revelation is the news that an agency has brokered an aggregated deal with up to ten Premier League clubs to sell this space to a single sponsor.

In a sport that generally divides, it appears a selection of Premier League clubs have decided to unite for a potential quick-fire commercial gain. This wouldn’t be the first time that one brand has been associated with multiple Premier League clubs, with brands such as Mansion.com, Dafabet, Europcar and bet365 currently spreading their allegiance, but a deal with ten clubs teaming up to take a share of the spoils would be a first.

In the EFL Championship earlier this year, 888sport launched an interesting partnership as the first main sponsor to simultaneously sponsor four teams (Birmingham City, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Preston North End), which saw the company roll out a series of activities as part of the 888sport ‘Fans First Campaign’.

To add to this, Sure recently signed a multi-club sponsorship deal and became official partners with Premier League clubs Chelsea, Everton and Southampton, brokering an official ambassador from each team separately.

The difference with these two examples is that on each occasion the brand would have strategically selected their partners based on a multitude of commercial reasons, whereas the potential Premier League shirt sleeve deal with such a variety of clubs will arguably be far less strategic and unsustainable.

The type of brand to take up such an offer likely won’t be interested in the success of the teams’ performance or driving engagement with fans, but will simply look to capitalise on the Premier League media machine to significantly improve its brand awareness.

Whether a deal can be struck or not, only time will tell, but the real winners here will be the Premier League clubs who decide to commit their shirt sleeve sponsorship efforts into pursuing a long term strategic partnership with a brand.


When should I think about Sponsorship for an Event? 3 Ways to Maximise your chance of Securing Event Sponsors 29th May, 2018

It is the stamp of a successful event to be able to successfully attract sponsorship from brands, therefore enabling it to grow and fulfill its maximum potential.

It’s therefore unsurprising that the question most often asked by organisers is when best to approach potential sponsors for their event.

Many organisers regularly fall into the trap of leaving it too late for brand involvement and miss a golden opportunity to subsidise and support their event, as well as dramatically increasing exposure to appropriate audiences.

The Slingshot Sponsorship team are on a mission to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. So here are our top three tips to maximising your chance of securing sponsors when organising an event…

1) Think sponsorship from the start

A successful sponsorship involves ways in which a brand can be interwoven throughout all aspects of the event – so engage sponsors through the entire process.

From initial communications and marketing, right through to ticket sales and the event itself, all stages are valuable assets that sponsors can utilise and you can monetise. Through connecting with sponsors in the planning stage you can create your event with bespoke brand opportunities for each sponsor, and activate them properly, given that you have the time to do so.

Bringing on a new sponsor late in the game can often seem rushed and doesn’t leave a sponsor feeling like they got the most out of their investment.

Key takeaway: The sooner you sign a sponsor, the more they can integrate with your event – and the more they will pay for it.

2) Don’t just approach any brand you can think of

When approaching sponsors for your event, it’s vital to stop and think. Why this particular brand? Can they add value to my event? Can they provide relevant products? Even more importantly, what can I offer them that they can’t get anywhere else?

You must be able to justify why your event will benefit their brand because at the end of the day, sponsorship is not charity – it’s a partnership. So don’t just approach any brand you may have contacts with.

The key is to approach brands that will resonate with your event’s audience, as corporate sponsorship is essentially a form of advertising for the brand. So you need to be able to show how the brand can not only reap the benefits at the point of sale, but also throughout the event lifecycle and beyond. This will help ensure they renew and upgrade on investment, continuing their support for years to come as you grow your event.

Key takeaway: Focusing on the most relevant sponsorship brands to your audience is vital in ensuring a successful partnership throughout the entire event experience and beyond.

3) Don’t pull a price out of thin air

One of the most common mistakes organisers make when approaching sponsors is simply not valuing their assets properly.

Knowing the true value of what you are offering a sponsor is crucial because no brand will pay for something they don’t believe they will get a return on. This is doubly important once you recognise that the brands you approach see sponsorship proposals every day and they’ll be able to tell if your offering is worth the investment you are asking for.

It’s important to think practically and logically when it comes to event sponsorship. For example, if you need £100,000 for your event but you only have £25,000 worth of sponsor assets, you wouldn’t just suddenly charge them £100,000. Instead, you could find another three sponsors willing to pay another £25,000, thus spreading out value to cover the event’s costs. Think about it: would you pay four times the price of anything for the sake of it? Of course you wouldn’t – so you shouldn’t expect your sponsor to do so either!

Key takeaway: It’s a common mistake to scare sponsors away by overcharging them to cover costs. Instead, work to spread out sponsorship values evenly to cover costs.

We hope these three tips ensure you never let an event sponsorship opportunity pass you by in future. It always helps to put yourself in the brand’s shoes and make sure you feel as if they’re being offered strong, relevant exposure to a suitable audience throughout an event’s lifecycle at a price that’s honest and provides real value. This is the secret to maximising your chance of securing sponsors for your event.

Interested in learning more about how to get the most success in sponsorship? Follow our social media accounts for regular updates:

Slingshot Sponsorship – Facebook

Slingshot Sponsorship – Twitter

Slingshot Sponsorship – LinkedIn


How and Why the Sponsorship Hunter is Changing in an Evolving Marketplace 19th July, 2018

Since the dawn of the sponsorship marketplace, rights holders have always been perceived as the “hunter” in the industry: having to approach brands directly for sponsorship in order to boost commercial revenue streams and maintain their position as a viable business.

Recent trends, however, indicate this could well be changing. As rights holders continue to innovate, develop and provide brands with high ROI and clear opportunities to achieve their corporate objectives, brands are waking up and becoming increasingly interested in what these platforms can do for them. It could very well be a case of the hunter becoming the hunted.

Sponsorship is fast becoming the most effective form of marketing. When executed correctly, it allows brands to genuinely engage and truly connect with their desired audiences – resulting in a host of short- and long-term positive outcomes for both themselves and the rights holders.

But what is the driving force behind these increasingly popular partnerships?

The importance of ROI in sponsorship

Broadly speaking, the most crucial consideration for a brand when deciding whether or not to partner with a platform or rights holder is simply the deal’s ROI. Therefore, rights holders must be able to prove to potential sponsors that they can generate or exceed a satisfactory ROI in order to have any chance of finalising a deal. Failure to do this will leave the rights holders with next to no chance of securing sponsorship.

So it is vital for rights holders to understand that in order to successfully attract brand partners, they must appreciate a “one size fits all” approach just isn’t good enough. Instead, rights holders must ensure they align their assets appropriately with their targeted brand’s ambitions.

For example, let’s imagine Brand X has an objective of increasing positive brand association across a mass audience. Understandably this will require a multi-faceted approach, particularly when compared to Brand Y – who simply wish to create specific B2B opportunities. Rights holders looking for sponsorship would never be able to give the same pitch or offer identical assets to both and expect success.

To create effective customer relations, rights holders must be able to offer the assets which will enable brands to truly engage with their audience. This means providing opportunities for brands to positively rebrand their image through relevant assets – such as social media channels and key influencers – and create sustainable long-lasting relationships.

What makes sponsorship opportunities so valuable?

The real value in sponsorship lies in how it provides brands with the potential to have a positive impact on all areas of its business. Examples of this could include on-site brand activations which generate increased sales; community engagement with leaves audiences and employees feeling worthwhile; or even social media takeovers which boost follower numbers.

These huge potential benefits put rights holders in a very strong position: owning unrivalled opportunities for brands looking to tap into a cost-effective alternative to traditional marketing which actually delivers results and ROI.

Key takeaway

As the industry moves forward, we are fast progressing to a stage where brands proactively realise the value of sponsorship when executed properly around their unique requirements. As rights holders move to master their propositions, we may soon see brands begin pitching to rights holders for access to their audience.

However, for this sponsorship pendulum to swing, rights holders must continue to invest in developing their own pitches to make them fit for purpose in the modern market. Achieve this, and the hunter could very well soon become the hunted.


Recognise the Value of Social Influencers for your Brand 18th January, 2017

Influencer endorsement is not a new concept, it has however taken on a completely new meaning since the emergence of social media.

A celebrity’s influence has become larger and far more valuable with the ability to personalise their endorsement of a brand. Through ‘organically’ integrating products into a social media post, followers become more susceptible to influence, and are more inclined to listen when it is in a celebrity’s own words.

Currently the most liked image on Instagram is a Coca Cola sponsored post from Selena Gomez, with 6.2 million likes and counting. When an influencer seems to genuinely like and use a product on social media it is arguably far more effective to a consumer than traditional advertising, even when that celebrity is featured. What Selena Gomez proves is that when ads are incorporated well, fans respond positively to the brand.

It is this fact that brands have come to recognise and is why paid social media posts are fast becoming celebrities most lucrative asset.

Sponsored content however, is not just for celebrities. Any ordinary social media user with enough followers can utilise their influence to make money from sponsored content.

Users with as few as 100K followers can make significant money from sponsored content, proving fame is not everything when developing a successful social media brand.

Many have found the secret to success is finding your niche and remaining consistent. Repetition is key to successful accounts. Followers respond when they know what to expect from an account and when you stray away from your niche, you lose followers.

Therefore, smaller accounts remain successful for brands to advertise through, as they value follower engagement over sheer number of followers. An account with 100 followers where all followers engage with posts can be worth more to an advertiser than one with 1000 followers where no-one engages.

You can’t make an impact with people who aren’t paying attention. Brands that recognise influential individuals and utilise their reach and personality well will see the results.