Following the success of the dwell cellular sport present HQ Trivia, a group of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if one other sport present idea can work, too. Their new sport show-inspired app, Gravy, is supposed to be a riff on the “Worth is Proper” mixed with a QVC-style procuring expertise. That’s, the “contestants” compete for reductions of 30 to 70 p.c off the merchandise marketed, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. As well as, by means of a facet sport, customers can guess when the product – whose portions are unknown – will promote out and at what value. Those that guess closest win a money prize.
The startup was created by Mark McGuire, Brian Wiegand, and Craig Andler – the founding group behind Jellyfish.com, an older social procuring community that was acquired by Microsoft again in 2007, to assist create Bing Buying. They’ve additionally paired up on different tasks, together with NameProtect (earlier than Jellyfish), printable coupons useful resource Hopster, social community Nextt, and e-commerce subscription retail web site, Alice.com. These have both exited or shut down or each.
The group’s efforts indicate a transparent ardour for working with manufacturers, however getting customers to attach with manufacturers in new methods is way tougher, as their observe document exhibits.
That’s why they’re now making an attempt Gravy.
The hope is that the joy round seeing the product unveiled nightly – and realizing you’ll get an enormous low cost in the event you purchase – will turn into a wholly new advert unit of types, whereas protecting gamers engaged in a game-show like expertise.
“One of many challenges with millennials is their quick consideration spans, and so they don’t reply properly to interruptive promoting,” explains Wiegand, of why the group needed to construct this startup. “I don’t assume anybody’s actually mastered methods to monetize dwell video. So we got here up with this chance to create this new advert unit the place manufacturers might inform their story, and – for seven or eight or 9 minutes – create a dwell procuring occasion the place millennials can tune in and listen to that story however in a enjoyable, gamified sort of method,” he says.
Right here’s how Gravy works. Each night time, at eight:30 PM ET within the Gravy iOS app, a dwell host will unveil the product customers should purchase. Presently, there’s a rotating collection of hosts who work on a per-show contract foundation, normally native comedians – not model reps.
Gamers usually are not informed what number of objects can be found, but it surely’s usually anyplace from two to twenty.
Then the value begins to drop. In case you purchase early, you’ll have an opportunity to snag it at a slight low cost. However the longer you wait, the upper the share off will turn into. Nonetheless, you don’t know who else might snatch it up first and when. In case you wait too lengthy, the product will promote out.
In the meantime, in the event you’re not within the product itself, you’ll be able to guess while you anticipate it to promote out (which means, at which value.) These ten or so closest will obtain a small money prize – a cut up of perhaps $200 or $300, with first place receiving the biggest chunk.
Not less than 20 p.c of gross sales are given away to charity – a nod, I suppose, to millennials’ curiosity in do-gooder type corporations. However in the end, that call that has extra to do with the truth that Gravy doesn’t goal to be a retailer – it’s not one other deal-of-the-day vacation spot like Woot!, regardless of the similarities round producing product pleasure.
As a substitute, it expects manufacturers to donate merchandise and pay a charge for the “promoting alternative” Gravy gives.
Manufacturers will like Gravy as a result of they get millennials’ consideration for seven minutes or extra, Wiegand says. “They love the engagement. It’s a extremely engaged viewers…I’ve an opportunity to purchase the merchandise, so I’m closely engaged in excited about that product. The recall, memorability, and all the subsequent buzz – tweeting and all of the social media that will get created due to that – is nice,” he provides.
Nonetheless, none of that is confirmed out but – Gravy is simply a few weeks previous.
To date, round 50 p.c of the merchandise it has featured have truly been donated by manufacturers, together with 23andMe, 3D Doodler, Tapplock, and others. The remaining have been sponsored by Gravy, together with the larger attracts – like a DJI drone, for instance.
It’s not but charging for the advert alternative, both, because it’s hoping to develop the viewers first.
The corporate says that’s already underway. After alerting family and friends to the app’s launch, the video games are seeing 600+ gamers nightly, Wiegand claims, and is rising its viewers 15 p.c week-over-week. Round half of those that signed as much as play are returning to look at round three exhibits per week, he says.
Whereas the early numbers are promising if true, and it’s clear the group likes to work within the basic house of connecting manufacturers with customers, Gravy nonetheless feels – like a lot of what the founders have created earlier than – designed primarily with the wants of manufacturers in thoughts, earlier than that of customers.
A “Worth is Proper”-style app could be a whole lot of enjoyable, however this isn’t it – it’s, on the finish of the day, an invite to look at an advert and store at a reduction. That’s not one thing customers might wish to do day by day, long-term – even in the event you attempt to woo them with a small money prize received by means of a guessing sport.
And like Trivia HQ , which has dropped from a high 20 app to the 140’s (by App Retailer general rank, the shine might finally put on off for Gravy, too. Particularly as a result of it’s not primarily a sport – and millennials, as fickle and quick attention-spanned as they could be (actually? the technology that binges complete TV seasons in just a few days?), will realize it.
Wiegand isn’t involved, although.
He says he will get uninterested in trivia apps in just a few weeks, however Gravy is completely different.
“I all the time store and I all the time like a deal. The deal trade and the procuring trade are a lot bigger than the trivia house,” Wiegand insists. “And the joys of seeing a product that you simply like taking place into the sixties and seventies p.c off is unbelievably thrilling,” he enthuses. “We’re in a position to function issues which have the very best value on the planet of first-run merchandise…it creates this heart-pounding, exhilarating and expertise like, ‘Ought to I purchase? Oh my God, have a look at this value. I can’t flip it down,’” he says.
The corporate raised $2.1 million in seed funding from a spread of traders, together with the founders on the flip of the 12 months. Round eighty p.c was exterior capital, led by New Capital. The under-20 particular person group relies in each Madison and Minneapolis.
Gravy is on the App Retailer here.