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/


Top 3 Tips When Prospecting For Sponsorship Sales 19th September, 2018

 

All too often, people in the sponsorship industry dive into sales headstrong, without proper justification behind each of their approaches. This leads to poor performance and a lack of interest from prospects and can be avoided simply by taking the time to identify fit.

 

The role of a sponsorship sales professional is to prove value through sponsorship to the brand they are approaching. It is crucial that before starting to sell sponsorship, key research is undertaken and brands are targeted which align closely to the specific assets, and have the best fit with the specific demographic.

 

Below are Slingshot’s top three tips when prospecting brands.

 

  • Visualise the audience experience: The first step before doing anything is to brainstorm the experience an attendee will get and to then understand how a brand would want to engage. This paints a picture as to which industries and brands would benefit the most from sponsoring and which might improve the experience for attendees.

 

  • Zeroing in on targets: Armed with an idea of what industries to consider, build a prospect list based on the synergies between specific brands and the demographic. The main point of sponsorship is to enable a brand to access an audience they couldn’t target otherwise, or to showcase that by engaging in sponsorship they can do this in a cost-effective way. It is important to consider what new products and services a brand is offering and how these can be integrated.

 

  • What’s the hook. With a solid prospect list in hand, outlining a tailored approach for each prospective client based on their current marketing objectives is essential before picking up the phone. A good tip is to think of 3 key points as to why the brand in question should become a sponsor. Pair the brands objectives with specific assets and use these assets to showcase how they solve a brands problem. For example; a consumer electronic brand is trying to increase it’s B2B capabilities and engage more with senior-decision makers in large organisations. The rights holder has a database (GDPR compliant of course…) of decision makers that would be the perfect potential clients of this brand, therefore the sales pitch becomes about utilising this database to engage and create new leads for the brand – something they couldn’t do without sponsorship.

 

It is essential to perform this research before diving in to sponsorship sales. It will ensure that the rights holder will understand what the sell is to each brand, and can therefor tailor their approach, solving a problem and not just asking for money.

 

At Slingshot we pride ourselves on the fact that each call is tailored for that brand in order to add real value to their marketing spend, and satisfy their marketing objectives. It is this highly tailored and specific sales strategy which has led to our impressive roster of clients, and testimonials which praise our “attention to detail”.

 

If you are looking for advice on sponsorship sales or any aspect of the sponsorship industry, we would be more than happy to offer our expertise, please email info@slingshotsponsorship.com with any enquiries.


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!


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.


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.


Keeping up momentum in sponsorship sales is like watching the London Marathon on your sofa 5th May, 2017

If like me, you spent Sunday morning and much of the afternoon sat on the sofa with leftover pizza and a chocolate bar saying to yourself (for the fourth year in a row), “this is going to be the year I do the London Marathon” then you know exactly how influential ‘being in the moment’ is for making decisions.  If I don’t register for the London Marathon within 4 weeks of watching, it’s unlikely that I ever will consider registering for the rest of the year – until that annual ritual of watching it sat on the sofa again next year.
Unbelievably, this is no different to sponsorship sales, especially sponsorship of annual events.  As a sponsor, sponsoring annual events is a bit like the London Marathon – you get excited about confirming your sponsorship/registration, but then months go by and it seems all but forgotten until the actual day.  However, upon passing the finish line after a number of hours of slog throughout Greater London, you remember why you signed up in the first place and quite likely think it was the best decision you ever made.
Understanding and keeping up momentum is absolutely critical within sponsorship sales.  Like the London Marathon, there is a limited time-frame from which a sponsor remembers all the great times, the finite details that may exist beyond the assets list.  Memories of the sponsorship are always viewed with a ‘glass half full’ and sponsors are more likely to de-brief with you, grab drinks with you and generally more likely to want to discuss plans for the following year.  However, go past 4 weeks and memories fade fast – leaving only hard numbers.  I should clarify that hard numbers are not necessarily a bad thing as sponsorship is only as good as the measurement and ROI behind it, but when combined with the very distinct memory of how great it was, it’s incomparable.

One of my biggest sponsorship sales tricks is ensuring that we keep up momentum as well as truly understanding the time-frame for commitment from a buyer’s point of view.My top three ‘keeping up momentum’ sponsorship sales tips include:

  1. Renew all sponsors within 4 weeks of the event.  If you are unable to do this in this time-frame, you run the risk of starting all over again in terms of the sales process you need to go through.
  2. Include renewal clauses within the contract at the outset.  First right of refusal is a benefit and as such should be used as an asset.  Not only does this help within the sales process it also provides a clear and communicated deadline to your sponsor well in advance.
  3. Don’t just sign a sponsor and never speak to them again until just before the event (or worse yet, when you need something).  If your sponsor signs well in advance providing a very long lead time, create reasons to catch up and talk about the event in the run up.  If you have a large number of sponsors, creating bespoke sponsor communications to update them on the event progress is a great benefit and keeps everyone in the loop.

In the meantime, I shall keep you posted on my London Marathon musings.  Maybe 2018 is the year I finally get off the sofa…


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.


“How Long Should My Sponsorship Proposal Be?” 9th March, 2016

I am asked this everywhere I go – it seems to be the thing that most people think is holding them back from securing that perfect partner.  As much as I’d love to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately (much like most of sponsorship) this is not the case and the answers vary with each sponsorship platform.  The golden rule is to keep it as short as possible, but still retaining all the information a prospect absolutely needs to know.  As most people are not quite sure what information a prospect absolutely needs to know, I’ve created some tips to help you when creating your sponsorship proposal:

  1. Keep it short, sweet and concise. Sponsorship proposals are not the latest Grazia or best Faulkner – put simply they aren’t interesting and regardless who you send it to in whatever format, people are not desperate to read them.  Sponsorship proposals are just not exciting regardless of how exciting your actual property or opportunity is.  Rather than accepting this, people overcompensate the boredom by writing excessive copy hoping to draw people in.  This is simply not the case – mostly because you aren’t a copywriter and even the best copywriters in the world are unlikely to make your sponsorship proposal a page turner from copy alone.  Therefore, don’t try and make your proposal exciting just by writing more about it.  In our digital age, if you can catch their attention and imagination – they will Google you.
  2. Following on from above – make sure whatever they Google is good.
  3. A picture says a thousand words. If you have great imagery – use it in the best format possible which is typically in a landscape format.  Saying this, don’t fill the entire proposal with a load of the same pictures – if they want to look at pictures of an event or people at an event, they will go on Facebook.
  4. Put a price on it. Don’t waste people’s time.  If you are going to go to the effort of sending a sponsorship proposal, make sure everything that the buyer needs is in there and this includes how much you expect from them in return.
  5. Be professional. I estimate that over 95% of all sponsorship proposals in the world are done by the person looking for the investment.  You are often the Founder, Marketing Director, Event Manager or Sponsorship person.  It’s not your fault you are not a graphic designer, you have other important skills.  But it is important to recognise you are not a graphic designer.  People like things that look good.  You wouldn’t try out the new restaurant in town if they handed you a hand-drawn flyer made out of copy paper and crayons so how can you expect someone to part with budget when you won’t even invest on your own sales collateral?

In terms of a litmus test, I recommend taking your sponsorship proposal to a brutally honest friend and asking their opinion.  They don’t need to work in marketing to have an opinion – they just need to not worry about hurting your feelings.  Listen to them.  They will definitely help.

Failing getting a friend’s sign off, get some actual professional help.  Speak to a sponsorship agency for feedback and/or hire them to put together a proposal for you.  Slingshot obviously does this, but there are also many other agencies who can help too.  It is such a shame to see people fail at securing sponsors for their event because of a bad proposal, but not a bad property so don’t go it alone!

If you are interested in having Slingshot review or create your sponsorship proposal drop us an email: proposalreview@slingshotsponsorship.com


Forbes Speaks to Slingshot Sponsorship MD Jackie Fast on her mission in the industry 22nd October, 2015

Forbes recently caught up with Slingshot Sponsorship’s MD Jackie Fast to discuss her journey through the sponsorship industry to date.  Insight on how to break into the sponsorship industry, what drives entrepreneurs, and how changing the model has helped to drive Slingshot’s client successes.

Read the full article on Forbes here.