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Startups a beacon of hope for snack food giant’s quest to change its culture

Thursday, 3 July 2014 | By Kye White

Are beacons the future for snack food companies? You might think so given they were the common theme amongst the startup pitches at Mondelez International’s Mobile Futures Pitch in Melbourne this week.


The snack food giant is searching for startups that can work to solve pressing problems facing some if its major brands.


Mondelez International owns brands like Cadbury Dairy Milk and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, among others.


Thirteen startups pitched over the course of the two day event, which began on Wednesday and ended on Thursday, hoping to become one of five that will receive $40,000 to work closely with Mondelez with the goal of launching a pilot program in 90 days.


The thirteen startups included:


  • Streethawk – segmentation, messaging, campaign automation and measurement plug-in for apps.
  • Issue – turns brand content into a magazine that is interactive and shoppable, curating content from social media, blogs and product categories.
  • Popup Brands – an online marketplace for listing and booking short-term commercial spaces.
  • Snaploader – uses image recognition to enable users to snap an image and connect to all the relevant content behind the image and augmented reality to enhance the content experience.
  • Kouperific – an app that distributes interactive, gamified coupons to a consumer’s mobile phone in order to drive impulse buying and improve positive brand perception.
  • Proximiti – a location-based services and geo-analytics platform that helps companies craft personalised customer interactions and discover insights from geo-spatial and customer location data.
  • SkyFii – mobile technology that uses Wi-Fi and beacons to help venue owners understand their visitors and engage with them via mobile.
  • Lighthouse – a mobile marketing platform that leverages Bluetooth low energy beacons to deliver content and experiences based on proximity to things in the physical world.
  • MyShout – a mobile app that allows you to shout your friends food and drinks at cafés, bars and restaurants.
  • OnePulse – a new take on market research that produces real-time consumer insights effectively and inexpensively via mobile.
  • GeoMoby – geo-location platform that uses GPS, BLE, Wi-Fi and GSM to deliver the right mobile message to the right person at the right time.
  • BlueCats – allows marketers to add context to any app user’s experience in real time using BLE beacon, an SDK and a cloud-based management platform.
  • Blocks Global – has developed Screener, a disruptive approach to traditional signage software, delivering stable web content to digital signage in-store, in real-time.


Mondelez International corporate affairs manager Julian Polachek, who was one of the judges for the pitch event, says all 13 startups did a fantastic job with their pitches.


The 13 startups were the best of 60 who applied to take part in the program.


“It was really engaging, so professional overall,” he says.


“Really interesting to see a spread of ages, professional backgrounds and also to see the ideas were so refined.


“There was a ubiquitous mention of beacons throughout the whole thing. Beacons were absolutely everywhere, but the particular take that each startup had on the beacons, you see how differently they could use the technology.”


He says the winning startups will be notified late next week and shortly after they will be linked up with the brands they will be working with.


Brand managers from each brand will then spend an ‘emersion week’ where they go and work inside their respective startups.


Mondelez International has run similar programs in the United States and Brazil.


“It’s so interesting seeing the cultural change aspect of the project really dawn on (Mondelez) participants,” Polachek says.


“Startups are vastly different to how we typically work inside the company. For good or bad we come with 100 plus years of knowledge about how we do things in manufacturing.


“In some sense some of that has to be unlearned. For these guys to be successful, they need to learn to fail often and in small ways, which is what startups are absolutely about.


“The challenge of changing our culture into a more entrepreneurial culture is going to take a while, but what we’re trying to do here is change it rapidly.”