Could this be the first wave of future business launches funded by big brands?
PepsiCo owns such mega-brands as Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Quaker and, of course, Pepsi. Today the company revealed its first class of 10 fledgling technology companies to participate in a unique incubator program that will fund and promote the start-ups while they prepare to produce pilot programs in support of PepsiCo brands.
The first group of startups forming the PepsiCo 10, as they're called, fall into four categories.
For Place-Based and Retail Experiential Marketing, PepsiCo picked AisleBuyer and TableTop Media; Mobile Marketing, MyCypher and Zazu; under Social Media and Marketing, BreakoutBand, FanFeedr and Tongal; and for Digital Video and Gaming: Evil Genius Designs, Miso and MotiveCast.
The inaugural PepsiCo 10 business concepts vary widely, from AisleBuyer's mobile shopping platform that aims to improve the in-store retail shopping experience, to McCypher's platform that turns a mobile phone into a microphone for creating music in real-time; from FanFeedr's real-time personalized sports feed, to Miso's mobile app that lets users check-in to their favorite TV shows and connect with others.
The companies were selected from more than 500 applicants. As part of the incubation program, the companies will create new digital marketing activities as early as the fourth quarter of this year.
Each of the 10 companies will receive support from a PepsiCo mentor, as well as from Highland Capital Partners (venture capital), Mashable (social media publication), and four communications agencies: dmg::events, OMD Ignition Factory, TracyLocke, and Weber Shandwick.
B. Bonin Bough, Director of Digital and Social Media at PepsiCo, said, "With the inaugural PepsiCo 10, we are creating a new conduit for digital R&D within PepsiCo and for the industry broadly — an important endeavor as we continue to seek innovative and meaningful ways to connect with our consumers and to transform communications into a business driver." Seth Kaufman, Director of Media Strategy and Investment for PepsiCo North America, added, "PepsiCo 10 is about outside innovation, celebrating and helping to cultivate emerging start-ups, while at the same time, refreshing our brands and our communications strategy with new perspectives and inspiration."
Kudos to PepsiCo for an innovative program that helps young companies get off the ground and creates an innovation pipeline for the company's brands, connecting them with innovative, forward-thinking outsiders whose digital dreams will surely re-energize their own brand aspirations.