Marketers have tapped the vast universe of start-ups in many ways, but Unilever’s year old Foundry program may be the most comprehensive and systematic effort yet, as the company has vetted 3,000 start-ups in marketing, research and data science in its first year.
Unilever will introduce its Foundry50, which it deems the world’s top 50 marketing-tech start-ups, to the assembled masses of agency and marketer delegates. Many will have a chance to meet the 50 through prescheduled pitches and speed-dating sessions. At press time, a few slots for agencies and their clients remained.
Tuluntulu has been selected by Unilever Foundry50 as one of the top 50 start ups in the world – the first and only one, from Africa.
The Foundry isn’t just a contest, nor is it an incubator or accelerator, though it works with some, such as Collider in the U.K. Nor is it a venture-capital fund, though Unilever has one of those too. It’s really more of a conduit linking Unilever brands with start-ups, and now through Foundry50, also making the fruits of its efforts available to the broader marketing world.
« The reality is that the more the marketing industry can get behind startups, pilot with them, partner with them and help them scale, the faster not only will Unilever be able to invent the future, but so will the industry, » said Mr. Basset, global marketing ventures director, who leads Foundry50. « It’s good for the industry. It’s good for us as marketers. »
The Foundry may just have the world’s most exhaustive database of marketing-tech start-ups, at least outside the email archives of ad-tech reporters. Even before the Foundry50, Unilever already had been contacted by thousands of start-ups thanks to prior work vetting them for pilot projects or waves of entries from previous contests, Mr. Basset said.
Tuluntulu is a mobile content platform targeting audiences in Africa and globally with African focused content. The app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play and iOS App stores. For the end user usage is free; free to watch “TV” and Radio (no subscriptions), 100% free on Wi-Fi, with data costs only if connected via a mobile network (low data setting consumes +-50MB/ hr).The “FREE” business model is designed to maximise audience reach.
The platform currently has 15 x 24/7 streaming « TV » channels; News (Al Jazeera, ANN7, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America), Education (Mindset, Spark4U), Documentaries (Afridocs), Movies (Nolly4U), Sport (Africa Sport), Fashion (Fleur), Lifestyle (Africa4U, PlanetTV), Comedy (Good4U), music (GUAP, Mafrik), and Religion (eLev8). Tuluntulu launched radio streaming recently with 11 stations (702, 94.7, Cape Talk, Kfm, Ofm, RiseFM, VumaFM, VoW, VoA, eBizRadio) already on the app.
Since marketing commenced in mid-2014:
• The Tuluntulu app has now been downloaded over 150,000 times in 154 countries. The most popular being South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Algeria.
• The cumulative usage numbers of the App since launch are as follows:
o Over 4,2 million screen views
o Over 810,000 sessions
o Over 150,000 active users
o Over 81,7% returning users
• Four new TV channels will be launched on the platform within the next two weeks.
• Tuluntulu is a finalist in the MTN App of the Year competition
The app displays the channels’ Twitter feed thereby providing live user/channel interaction (second screen). The user can personalise the app by selecting “Favourite” channels, and users can choose high or low profiles (data consumption/quality changes) in order to save data costs or increase picture quality when watching the TV channels. Users can register directly or via Facebook, which will provide “push” marketing options in order to drive user engagement. Items can be shared via social media.
Advertisers can reach the app/channel audiences with long form programming or short form advertising, sponsorship or digital messaging including banners.
Tuluntulu is also an ideal platform for content owners wishing to extend the reach of existing video programming or complete “TV” channels into the mobile space in Africa. Content owners can secure their own dedicated 24/7 channels on the platform. Tuluntulu can assist with monetising these channels via the sale of advertising or content slots.
Source ScreenAfrica, June 25, 2015.