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13 startups that wowed us

I think we can all agree that the world needs another startup competition. There are, by my count, just 37 currently, and 38 is clearly the magic number. With that in mind, I offer this short list of companies that appear to have the stuff to move the needle for marketers.

Yinzcam offers a unique premise on the mobile experience for sporting events. Fans in the stands can check out more than a dozen up-close video streams of the game action on their smartphones. In addition, they can access a treasure trove of information about teams and players. They offer nifty integrated mobile marketing experiences encompassing video, display, LBS, sponsored content, and more. Very cool -- even if they are Penguin fans.

MotiveCast is a combination location-based casual game AR experience that has to be seen to be believed. Imagine consumers interacting with your brand in real-world environments using their smartphones. With MotiveCast, users interact in engaging and attractive gaming experiences that blur the line between real and virtual -- no need to imagine anymore.

Zuberance is a fan amplification service that identifies your superfans and asks them to help you out by publishing reviews and spreading the word about your brand. You're not paying them to do it -- they do it because they have demonstrated real affinity for your brand.

Badgeville enables you to offer virtual badges when consumers take desired actions on your site. For example, when a consumer writes a review of a book you are selling, he is rewarded with a badge. I love the concept of recognizing your loyal site visitors!

I also love Tynt, which incorporates a new data set into the ad targeting sphere -- it analyzes the content you cut and paste from web pages. Apparently it's the most common way that we socialize content to one another, and it reveals a whole bunch of about who we are and what we care about. Fresh content-rich data set -- the taste your whole family will love!

Clovr Media lets consumers upload special online deals and discounts onto their credit cards. When they check out using that card, their accounts are credited with the savings.
Shopper Marketing

AisleBuyer enables consumers to pay for products using their smartphones -- without going to the check-out. It also distributes offers and product information for consumers who want to learn more and save.

NearBuy Systems offers an in-store smartphone-based service that provides "turn by turn" directions to get people from where they are standing to any item they covet. NearBuy can get a person to within 4 feet of any item in addition to featuring a way for stores to offer information to consumers when they have questions.

BlurbIQ offers a way to make your brand videos interactive by asking consumers to answer questions about your messages as they play. Think transformation. Your videos go from ad to game and from interruption to activity.

AdGenesis identifies people who are interested in watching your video marketing messages and rewards them when they do so. Instead of interrupting users as they try to watch content, this service goes deep with the people that care about your brand and category.

Wild cards
Submishmash makes it easier for brands and pubs to manage the process of soliciting, accepting, managing, and publishing content. Instead of an endless tide of emails, content solicitors get a simple, clean, feature-rich collaboration platform. Use it for sweeps, articles, contests, UGC videos, etc.

Trada is a crowd-sourced SEM solution for small and medium-sized businesses that leverages the knowledge of multiple search experts through a CPA model. A brand posts a CPA offer, and Trada community members hit the search engines, developing search programs that they hope yield a nice spread between their costs and the bounty.

In the "I don't get it but I am watching" category, AdKeeper is a standout. It's a service that enables consumers to save and refer back to banner ads. I don't fathom why a consumer would want to save a banner, but I've been wrong before, and these folks have the resources to make a go of it if there is a "there" there.

Small business drives innovation in every business, and digital marketing is no exception. I think these companies have the stuff to make them worth a look.

Jim Nichols is senior partner at Catalyst:SF.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Jim Nichols is VP of Marketing for Apsalar. Jim has 20+ years experience in over 80 different categories, including developing successful positioning and go-to-market plans for more than 40 adtech and martech companies. He joins Apsalar after...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Bill Kaplan

2011, June 27

Great list. Here's one more startup to add to the mix: Her Campus Media (www.hercampus.com), an online magazine for college women with both national and individualized content at 130 college branches and counting. With marketing partnerships in place with brands including The Body Shop, New Balance, Juicy Couture, LOFT, Pinkberry, and Rent the Runway, hercampus.com is not only changing the face of journalism but is demonstrating the value of connecting with market niches, in this case the college girls' market, in the right place, time, and language.

Commenter: Steven Rivers

2011, June 27

Re Adkeeper: If I find something interesting while in the middle of a different project, I might not not "chance" upon the banner again. Re blurbIQ: This is a really fun way to learn about products that interest you, and a link follows the game experience that brings you to the products site for more info. I'm surprised this hasn't taken off in a big way yet. Re NearBuy: I've just learned about this app here, but not yet used it. This is such a good idea! Now I usually use the cell to call the operator at the store I'm in to get directions, this is even better. It is just a matter of time before this concept is common place, but I'd think the store would provide the service directly from their own site using a QR code at the entrance to alert you... Just my thoughts after 1 minute of thinking about it...