It’s like summer camp, but for grownups, according to a video shown as Turner Media Camp’s third Demo Day kicked off.
Warner Bros. and Turner’s media-focused accelerator culminated Thursday as a batch of startups made presentations to a room of investors. The five startups spent 12 weeks in workshops and networking events with media leaders, talking about how their products could be applied to solve problems facing the industry. Each company also received $20,000 in seed funding.
Hugh Forrest, the director of SXSW Interactive Festival, opened the event with seven pieces of advice for startups based on his experience building up the annual music, film and interactive conference.
“If you aren’t mistakes, you aren’t innovating enough,” Forrest advised the companies.
These five startups are already innovating the industry, from the way you get the news to how you check your phone.
Watchup – Plays multichannel newscasts on a variety of devices
CEO and Co-Founder Adriano Farano said Watchup is going to do for news what Hulu has done for television. The startup brings video news content from publishers running the gamut from Vice to Fox News directly to your mobile device. TechCrunch has covered Watchup since it first launched for iPad in 2012 with an impressive list of investors. On Thursday, the company launched in Android (it’s already been available for Glass and iOS). As it has added more platforms, Watchup’s funding has also grown, topping $1 million in its last round from big names like Microsoft Ventures. The company has plans to come to television screens in the near future and has a funding round slated for fall.
Contextly – Engages readers through trending and personalized content
After ten years as a Wired editor and writer, Ryan Singel said he wanted to find a way to keep readers engaged as “drive-by readers” increased. His software helps media publishers connect readers with other content they might be interested in with a combination of curation and machine learning. It provides related links, personalized content and allows publishers to push custom content on an article page. Contextly has already partnered with several large brands including PBS, and it currently is raising a seed round. Singel said readers were much more likely to engage with multiple posts on a website using Contextly on a website not running it.
Adtonik – Links advertisers, content-providers to TV viewers on their mobile devices
A few years ago, founder Michael Masters was watching TV with a friend for hours, and every time a commercial came on she was on her phone. TV viewers increasingly are multitasking on their laptops and mobile devices as they watch television, but little has been done to connect the ads viewers are seeing on their TV’s with the ads on their devices. Enter Adtonik. Using big data, the app predicts what TV shows the viewer is likely watching and then allows companies to push targeted advertising to that user’s mobile devices. As someone who watches way too much TV, it’s a little creepy to think using my location, age and gender, an app could know what I was watching, but the app seems to have the potential to make a lot of revenue from advertising.
Flawk – Connects brands and celebrities with followers through live Q&A
How is a celebrity with thousands of followers supposed to answer all the questions they get when they do a Twitter Q&A or a Reddit Ask Me Anything? They can’t, leaving their fans frustrated. That’s where Flawk comes in. The startup allows celebrities and brands to host Q&A’s in real time, letting fans who ask questions that get the most votes to participate in a one on one conversation with the host that can be viewed by all their followers. Co-founders Matt Coalson and Kabriel Robichaux said early Flawk sessions have engaged users for hours. The pair, who worked together designing games at Electronic Arts, are raising seed funding.
Locket – Delivers content to Android lock screens
CEO & Founder Yunha Kim was working in investment banking in New York. With social media blocked on her computer, she was constantly checking her phone, and she was getting bored of her phone’s generic lock screen photo. But now with Locket, which launched last July, users can see content on their lock screen. If they swipe right, they unlock their phone as usual, but if they swipe left, they can engage with the content. The startup recently launched a feature that allows multiple ads or short news stories to appear on a users lock screen. Kim says since the average phone user looks at the screen about 110 times a day, there is a potential to make 8.9 billion impressions on Android phones in the United States alone.