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 Extreme Tech Challenge Series Presents: Zoom – Main Communications Partner 1st June, 2017

Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) is proud to announce the return of Zoom Video Communications, Inc. to the 2018 XTC Sponsorship Series.  Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with a secure, easy platform for video and audio conferencing, messaging, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is their original software-based conference room solution used around the world in conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms. Zoom is proud to be the official sponsor and judge of the Productivity Vertical for XTC 2018.

XTC 2018 marks the fourth year of this exciting and innovating competition that brings together the world’s brightest entrepreneurial minds to compete for the chance to pitch their budding business ventures to an all-star panel of judges on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Zoom will be returning for it’s second year as an invaluable member to the team of global sponsors who will be on hand to guide and support this year’s applicants as they compete in the Tech Challenge of their lives.

“Zoom is proud to be a second-time partner of XTC. We had a great experience sponsoring the Productivity vertical last year, and we’re excited to support this group of world-changing entrepreneurs again. Zoom helps teams be more productive with high quality video meetings and powerful collaboration tools, and it’s a pleasure to support other productivity innovations by promising startups.”
– Eric S. Yuan, Founder & CEO, Zoom Video Communications

As part of their sponsorship, Zoom will offer free accounts to lauded competitors in the contest, with Head of Marketing Janine Pelosi representing Zoom as an XTC 2018 judge for the Productivity Vertical. First place in the Productivity category will receive five free Zoom Pro accounts for one year, while second through fifth place will each earn one free Zoom Pro account for one year. Additionally, the overall Top 10 Semi-Finalists moving onto CES this January 2018 will each get one free Zoom Pro account for one year.

The Final Champion of XTC 2017 will be awarded with the most sought after prize from Zoom—ten free Business accounts for one year. Over 600,000 companies trust Zoom and 94% of their IT organizations recommend Zoom to colleagues, a testament to the high caliber of Zoom’s sponsorship of XTC 2018.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available – contact Slingshot Sponsorship should you wish to discuss the potential of inclusion.


Standing Out from the Crowd 7th February, 2017

The digital music streaming industry has become extremely crowded in recent years with several leading companies vying for market share and growth. In order to differentiate themselves, the major competitors are choosing ever varying strategies, with sponsorship emerging as one of the most innovative.

As of September 2016 over 100 Million users worldwide paid for a music streaming service, a figure that is constantly growing. The most streamed songs on Spotify, the world leader in terms of paid music streaming services, have over 900 million listens. Spotify, along with Apple Music, Tidal and Pandora (US only) have emerged as market leaders with others such as Deezer and Soundcloud also competing for the same substantial audience.

The key way these companies have tried to differentiate so far is through unique content. Tidal offer exclusive, high quality music videos. Artist exclusivity is also a tactic used by Tidal, as well as Apple Music, while Spotify has concentrated on having the largest offering.

Deezer has recently adopted a new tactic of differentiating through sponsorship. Deezer, a French based company with 6 million users worldwide, has partnered with Manchester United Football Club and Barcelona Football Club as “Official Music Partner.”

Traditionally Deezer has relied on B2B deals to increase its user base through partnerships with mobile networks. This new approach showcases Deezer adopting sponsorship as a key part of their marketing and expansion strategy. Deezer will appeal directly to consumers, encouraging them to download the app out of choice, rather than receive it through a tie in.

This innovative partnership with football teams works particularly well given the strong link between sports fans and music fans.  Whether unveiling a new player with the help of a musician, as Manchester United, Adidas and Stormzy recently did, or the frequent appearance of new bands on popular TV show Soccer AM.

Deezer are guaranteed to meaningfully engage this audience as players will create new playlists which fans can download. Deezer will also be responsible for the music on match day where further activation and consumer engagement will be possible. Deezer will not only benefit from the direct access to fans, but association as the music streaming service for sports fans.

Deezer are attempting to open a whole new channel to reach consumers, purely through sponsorship. Of course, Deezer’s competitors may choose to replicate this strategy, but Deezer’s imagination and creativity in using sponsorship as a differentiation tool gives them first mover advantage and a perception of originality that is crucial in such a competitive market. This is a demonstration of the power of sponsorship when seeking to stand out from the crowd.


Charity Challenge appoints Slingshot Sponsorship to boost commercial revenue 3rd November, 2016

Charity Challenge, the charity expedition company behind the Red Nose Kilimanjaro Climb for Comic Relief, is launching its next series of world first expeditions and has appointed Slingshot Sponsorship to manage its commercial rights for the official kick-off to the series – a trek through the Andes Mountains in Peru to the mystical Inca city of Machu Picchu in October 2017.

Slingshot Sponsorship, the award-winning commercialised marketing agency, will handle all commercial rights and partner opportunities, ahead of the 2017 expedition.

Charity Challenge, which has raised almost £50m for numerous worthy causes, is creating an epic challenge with a star-packed group of celebrities to take on the trek to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site one of the most famous destinations on the globe. At the end of the challenge, under the stars and amongst breath-taking scenery, an intimate concert will be performed by a Global Superstar – who is soon to be revealed.

This will be the first in a series of nationally and internationally produced documentaries that will be shown on various broadcasters with one main aim, to raise life changing funds for a globally recognised charity.

“We’re delighted to have Slingshot Sponsorship join the Charity Challenge team. The entire agency truly understands our unique vision for this series of ground breaking events” said Simon Albert, Managing Director at Charity Challenge. “I’m confident that with Slingshot’s support we can continue to grow our specialist challenge events commercially through partnerships and ensure we maximise the potential to raise vital funds for worthwhile causes.”

Slingshot Sponsorship enhances its clients’ commercial rights by uncovering new value through development and creation of sponsorship assets – supporting an execution that is mutually beneficial as well as sustainable.

“Charity Challenge have an innovative and unique approach to raising much needed funds for global causes,” said Jackie Fast, Founder and Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship. “Charity Challenge and Slingshot have a shared interest in creating unique ways of shaking up a traditional fundraising market, so watch this space.”

Commercial opportunities are now available for the 2017 Machu Picchu expedition.

 


Uncovering the real assets in Sailing Sponsorship 15th July, 2016

With the Clipper Round the World race generating in excess of £4.7m media value per team and the Volvo Ocean Race generating over £45m in media, you can be forgiven for thinking that sponsorship in sailing is just a global billboard on water for luxury brands such as Rolex, Hugo Boss and Prada.  However, if you strip back the big numbers, it’s actually a platform that can deliver unrivalled engagement through unique assets that can’t be found in the Formula1 pit lane.

It’s All About Big Data.

Data is changing the world and brands who are heavily developing this area (SAP, Salesforce, IBM) are using it. Often overlooked, the value of data in races such as the Volvo Ocean Race are crucial for delivering a stand at the podium.  Being a one-design race means that other than visually, there are no differences in the boats – it’s a level playing field. Consolidating and making use of data gathered in remote areas such as the middle of the ocean truly showcase the capability of data-driven businesses – turning data into insight, and insight into narrative.

Sponsorship of platforms that require a data-led approach are everywhere and most recently at Wimbledon with IBM, a partnership that has been in place for over 25 years. Through this sponsorship, IBM utilises the need for turning thousands of pieces of data, from multiple courts, into insight and narrative immediately. Alongside this they also integrate security products, servers and cognitive capabilities.

Everyone Wants an Experience

Formula 1 provides unrivalled hospitality with Michelin star chefs, the thrill of the pit-lane and the chance to watch races in exotic locations. Sailing also offers this, but due to the nature of the type of competition, there is much greater flexibility providing a unique and often un-experienced opportunity to take part and actually race it against the other boats. This becomes far more accessible to not only key clients but also customers and fans in general.

Emotive Content

Perhaps something not solely unique to sailing but none the less extremely attractive is the content that can be produced from the numerous races and competitions. The Americas Cup boats dancing around in the wind with a back drop of Manhattan is an incredible image to support any marketing campaign. Storytelling has become increasingly important, whether it’s a consultancy firm trying to showcase how they influence change in a business or a sports wear brand proving their products are used by the elite athletes. Each market has become increasingly crowded and the differentiator then becomes about engaging native content.

Sailing offers a unique opportunity for brands to align with teams to showcase their own unique offering. These races are regarded as some of the toughest challenges in the world, the sailors cover whole oceans with no rest and little sleep and must do their job perfectly, whilst also working together to win. It is similar to any business, their employees each specialise in their own field, all working together for the good of the company. Sponsors can access the rights free imagery and create unique content to communicate how their company mirrors the sailors, taking individual expertise and working together to achieve their objectives.

Being Green

Sailing is also a sport with a clean and positive image, powered by natural resources. Teams are looking at new ways to reduce their environmental impact and promote conservation efforts. Sailors also have first-hand experience of the large impact pollution and waste have on the marine environment.

This provides a great opportunity for brands to align with sailing teams who aspire to have their environmental values ingrained within their ethos. Aligning with a sustainable team or race will not only improve public perception, but will also bolster their own sustainability programmes.

Because sailing offers such great media exposure, it’s often too easy to overlook the true assets that brands can capitalise on at a fairly cost-effective price tag.  Big or small, involvement in sailing sponsorship should be a consideration for all brands trying to truly engage their customers – even if they aren’t on the ocean.

If you are interested in discussing sailing sponsorship opportunities, please ensure to contact the Slingshot team on 0207 226 5052.


Football clubs and brands: What’s the crucial ingredient for successful sponsorship? 29th September, 2015

When considering what brands to approach for sponsorship, brand values are a crucial ingredient for successful sponsorship. Football clubs, in particular, must be careful when aligning with brands who do not share similar values as the potential reaction to such deals can have far-reaching consequences and usually serve to widen the gap between board and fans. Without these shared values, football club-brand partnerships are susceptible to failure as the following three cases demonstrate.

Newcastle United & Wonga

One of the key issues at the heart of Newcastle fans’ disenchantment with Mike Ashley’s ownership dates back to 2012, when Wonga agreed a four-year £24m sponsorship deal with the club. Despite the brand making a promising start with the fans by returning the stadium name to St James Park as part of the deal, Wonga’s sponsorship of the club never achieved their aim of forging a reputation as a reputable company. As soon as the deal was agreed, the brand received an onslaught of criticism from fans, MPs and media commentators. This was followed by a stinging attack on the brand by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013. The following year, Newcastle fans successfully lobbied the brand to remove their logo from children’s replica kits. Finally, during the climax of the 2015 league season, Wonga’s £40m financial losses were openly celebrated by fans on social media which capped a bad year for the brand when PR and branding agency, Aberfield Communications, labelled them the worst for fan engagement in the Premier League.

For sponsorship to be successful, both parties must have shared values. In Newcastle and Wonga’s case, it is clear the brand values of both organisations diverge significantly. Newcastle United is known for its ambition and integrity coupled with a passionate, loyal fan base. Wonga, on the other hand, has encountered numerous controversies since its incorporation in 2006 including the chasing of customers with fake law firms and targeting vulnerable individuals with high-interest short-term loans. Positive initiatives such as investment in the club’s academy and free ticket giveaways on Twitter have consequently not swayed fans towards a positive perception of the brand.

Bolton Wanderers & Quickquid

Another football club that has encountered issues with their shirt sponsor in recent years is Bolton Wanderers who signed a sponsorship deal with payday lender Quikquid in May 2013. However, by June 2013 the deal was terminated.

The £500K shirt deal almost immediately came under scrutiny from fans, who managed to amass 1900 signatures for a petition objecting to the deal. Their objections were upheld when the club decided to renege on the deal after a month. Bolton South East MP, Yasmin Qureshi, commented at the time: “It’s completely wrong. These companies prey on the vulnerable and they should be illegal.” After a month of backlash, the Bolton Wanderers board succumbed with technology firm Fibrlec eventually replacing the payday lenders on the front of the club’s shirt. Labour MPs Chris Evans and Stella Creasy applauded the move with fans agreeing that the sponsorship was not in keeping with Wanderer’s image as a community-based “family club”.

Bolton’s response to criticism of the deal differs markedly from Newcastle United, who, despite receiving a backlash over the Wonga deal, kept the brand as sponsor despite the unpopularity with fans. In Bolton’s case, the Quickquid sponsorship failed not only because of a lack of shared values, but the sum involved was low enough to prompt the board into action. If it had been worth the seven-figure sum as in Newcastle’s case, the deal most likely would have had greater success.

FC Barcelona & Qatar Foundation

In 2010, FC Barcelona agreed their first ever corporate shirt sponsor by signing a £25m 5-year deal with the Qatar Foundation. The deal was signed amid a period in which Barcelona’s debt had climbed to £370m, necessitating a deal that was the most lucrative shirt sponsorship in football history at the time. Despite the Qatar Foundation’s commitment to education rights in the Middle East as a non-profit body, the sponsorship was met with opposition. FC Barcelona fans accused the club of “selling the shirt” which had refused revenue from a corporate shirt sponsor for 113 years. Qatar still remains on the shirt today but as Qatar Airways, following an activation of a clause in the sponsorship agreement. However, its presence divides opinion. Sandro Rosell, the former President who signed the deal, resigned in 2013 partially as a result of its unpopularity.

The Barcelona-Qatar relationship had all the hallmarks of a successful sponsorship, yet, this never occurred. Despite the Qatar Foundation’s commitment to a virtuous cause, the association with Qatar, an absolutist monarchy, contrasts with the “People’s Club” philosophy. This refers to the fact Barcelona is a democratic club, owned by the fans, who are used to voting on key decisions, unlike employees from the Qatar Foundation. Furthermore, the association with Qatar’s unpopular World Cup bid was another factor that did not help foster a positive relationship.

The success of football club sponsorship is underpinned by strong shared values. Therefore, clubs must consider a brand or organisation’s past history and organisational makeup when searching for sponsorship. Regardless of whether a brand’s future activities have sound principles, past associations and controversies will skew fan and media perception. As a result, it is imperative they work with fan groups to negate any issues that may arise from pursuing deals with controversial sponsors.

@SimonBinks_


Long Live the King! Fast Food Brand Ambassadors Return Following Hiatus 7th September, 2015

Brand ambassadors have long been used by brands, however it is the return of a larger than life King that has drawn attention across the globe in recent months. Once over shadowed by the might of McDonalds’ Ronald McDonald character (named after former CEO and inventor of the wildly loved chicken nugget) the Burger King, King has returned!

Distinctive and instantly recognisable, standing at over 6 feet tall ‘The King’ has been sighted at various high profile events this summer including the 147th Belmont Stakes where he appeared with Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Bafferrt.

The King’s resurrection began at the start of the summer forming part of the entourage which escorted Floyd Mayweather to the ring during the ‘fight of the century’ against Manny Pacquiao in May this year.

Due to the furor of offenses and negative publicity following Floyd Mayweather in recent years, brands have been cautious to not align with the star; however reports have sited that Burger King purchased the rights for $1 million, becoming one of Mayweather’s first sponsors for some years (having topped the Sport Illustrated Fortune 50 athletes with $0 endorsement deals three times).

The mere sight of the brand ambassador in this setting created mass attention around Burger King. Social media interaction increased significantly creating over 1,343% growth interest for the brand. Yet not all interest was positive with many criticising Burger King for supporting the convicted domestic abuser across Twitter.

With Adweek reporting The King created over a weeks’ worth of publicity for Burger King simply by appearing in coverage of the ring walk with Floyd Mayweather perhaps this is the first in line for the fast food ambassadors – beware the return of The King, Ronald, and The Colonel.


Player Power – Athlete Success Impacts on Brand Fortunes 4th September, 2015

Player power is well documented across sports business with demands on endorsement deals, publicity requests and the ability to influence the many across the globe. However rarely has a player’s performance vindicated the price of company stock.

As Serena Williams appears in New York this week with sights set firmly on the US Open & ‘Serena Slam’ (winning all four majors in the calendar year) there will likely be comparisons drawn with Jordan Spieth’s attempts to achieve the same feat in the world of golf this year.

Following an examination of Spieth’s miss on the final hole at the British Open, ultimately ending hopes of the calendar Grand Slam the finance department of Serena’s sponsor Nike might be a little more focused on her success this week than the previous wins.

Recently Under Armour became the principal sponsor of the young athlete, signing a multi-million 10 year deal (read more on a previous Slingshot blog here). Following this Spieth promptly returned faith securing the Masters and US Open titles with Under Armour equipment pride of place.

Next the British Open loomed with hype surrounding Spieth’s opportunity to complete the impossible and collect a third major of the year. Jordan Spieth was in contention until the final hole where a birdie was required to keep the challenge alive for a play-off.

This is where the parallels with Serena might interest Nike’s finance department and shareholders.

As following the missed putt by their star ambassador, Under Armour’s share price dropped falling from a price of $89.46 before the putt to $88.79 minutes afterwards – decreasing the company’s value by almost £90 million.

Whilst the exact nature of this depreciation is unknown, this occurred within the 6 minutes between the putt and missing of the play-off. Sport marketing professionals have cast views on the occurrence with Nigel Currie believing the “share price to have grown due to the accumulation of previous successes and the expectation on further success”, with the drop merely showing a return to a normal level.

Whatever the explanation, Nike shareholders will be wishing Serena success at Flushing Meadows just a few percent more.

 


A Day in the Life – Festival Sponsorship Management 3rd September, 2015

As another part of our Day in the Life series we invite you to Pula, Croatia and the current site of Slingshot Sponsorship clients Outlook & Dimensions music festivals.

The music festival is now in its 5th day with international artists and brands in full swing. The Slingshot Sponsorship team have been hard at work over the last week to ensure all the sponsors plans and activations are fulfilled and surpass expectations. Welcome to a day in the life of onsite sponsorship management:

Morning

  • Awaking to the near sound of silence (with most festival goers all recouping from the previous night’s antics) the team meet for breakfast at the festival’s staff area to discuss the sponsorship programme delivery so far, the plans for the coming 24 hours and to share any stories from last night (always entertaining!).
  • Following breakfast the team retreat to the confines of their laptops to ensure all images, social media and admin are planned and in order for the day ahead.
  • The rest of the morning is allocated to ensure delivery on any outstanding work from other client accounts, liaising with the team in London to stay up to date on any actions from head office.

Afternoon

  • The early afternoon has been a flurry of activity each day with a host of tasks and favours called in, whether ushering VIP’s to locating an elusive set of keys the team are on hand to ensure all activation is running smoothly.
  • One of the key features of Dimensions Festival is the Knowledge Area, an area where festival goers can create music, collaborate with each other and listen to acts and idols from across the festival talk about their experiences and deliver expert workshops. Sponsored by the likes of Native Instruments, Abelton and Urban Ears the team are busy setting up the necessary sponsor equipment, marketing information and ensuring all attendees are aware of the schedule for the day including the featured artist’s key note – a huge draw in the late afternoon.
  • New Era’s key activation at Dimensions Festival is the artist lounge. A place for artists to relax, meet the crew and other artists as well as access the range of New Era merchandise available. The team are underway ensuring the lounge is still in pristine condition, stocked with all styles and set for tonight’s activation.

Night

  • Following dinner the team are briefed in and informed of any specific requirements.
  • One section of the team are on hand at the Knowledge Arena to ensure the smooth change over from the workshop to the delivery of the artist key note speeches with a huge crowd set to listen to the legend George Clinton.
  • The remaining team are on hand at The Clearing to welcome all artists to the lounge, mingle and capture content. Tonight there were specific requests from a number of artist from across the festival stages who asked for New Era caps for their onstage performance, which the team duly delivered and captured the content from.
  • As the music continues until 6am, enough of the team are on hand for the rest of the night, a couple of members take the opportunity to visit a select stage or two of their favourite artists and join in the Dimensions vibe.
  • With happy sponsors, well delivered activations and content captured from across the festival it’s time to retire to bed and catch a few hours’ sleep before it all begins again!