R/GA, the agency that works with brands like Nike, Samsung and Google and has its own IoT-focused accelerator, is is partnering with the Innovation Lions for the first-ever Start-up Academy at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity from June 22-24.
The Start-up Academy aims to bridge the gap between startups, the creative industry and brands to bring innovative new products and services to market.
During the academy, selected startups will work on their brand identities, hear from speakers and network with senior global marketers from the world’s best brands.
Bonus: Cannes Lions is paying for week-long accommodation and Innovation festival passes for two people from each startup selected. With the Startup-Academy starting the week’s events and the Unilever Foundry closing it out, Cannes Lions are making this world-class event accessible to young companies.
KITE recently caught up with Jonathan Bradley, Partner, Programs at R/GA Ventures, to chat about the agency’s support of the Academy and what it’s looking for in startups.
KITE: Why did R/GA decide to partner with Cannes Lions on the Start-up Academy?
Jonathan Bradley: Our experience with the community has shown that what startups who are poised to scale need the most is help with strategy, positioning and exposure to key decision makers. By bringing talented companies to Lions Innovation, we’re giving them access to mentors, creatives and marketers that have the ability to transform their businesses.
KITE: Your criteria for startups are pretty open: be at an early or growth stage and have a working prototype or product in market. How can startups show they’re right for this opportunity? What will most impress you?
Bradley: We are looking for companies who are poised to help global brands connect with their consumers in new and compelling ways or exploit new technologies to reinvent their existing business models. We are looking for companies can show their efficacy via their prototype, market sales or pilot programs that have been completed to date yet are still looking for a significant deal or partnership that will allow them to scale to their full potential.
Some sample technologies include mobile and social applications, CRM/loyalty services, brand and consumer experiences, cashless commerce, social currency, connected retail and commerce, beacons and customer tracking, augmented and virtual reality, new media platforms and content management systems, enterprise solutions and gaming.
KITE: Please describe how startups will get to interact with and learn from brand and agency executives during the program.
Bradley: The program will consist of a variety of activities to help innovative companies connect with global brands including, pitch practice and coaching, mentorship from agency leaders and successful founders, and one-on-one meetings with brand executives. The 3 day program will culminate with a exclusive pitch event/reception that will include an audience of industry leaders, investors and press.
KITE: What kind of outcomes would you like to see from the Start-up Academy?
Bradley: Our hope is that each of the companies who are selected to participate will make one or more significant connection with a leading brand, greatly increase their visibility with industry leaders, and come away from the program having gained valuable insights that will benefit all of their business development efforts moving forward.
If your startup is interested in applying, be sure to do so here by May 17. Winners will be announced on May 24.