may be the Triangle’s king of marketing stunts
, but he’s also a master of persistence.
Beard was turned down twice for The Startup Factory
before his startup SnapYeti
was accepted for its sixth class this Fall. At times during his two-year journey, he had no idea where his next dollar would come from (even attempting a world record to raise money). But he and co-founder Adrienne Matyi
stayed focused on the mission to build a photo contest platform brands around the world could use to engage their fans.
Today, 53,000 people have entered a SnapYeti contest—20 percent more than one. 170 brands and companies have sponsored contests, ranging from Dogs In Action promoting Chuckit! pet toys to Board Me promoting Droparoo snow, surf and skateboards to A Christmas Story promoting ShaveMOB razors.
And the newest SnapYeti offering is a photo contest widget that brands or companies can embed on their websites or social media pages, to keep engagement on their online properties.
SnapYeti claims to be the easiest way for companies to run and promote contests. It's a free tool, providing the contest rules, contest management and hosting and promotions to its large and growing user base.
At the accelerator's Nov. 12 Fall Showcase, TSF partner Dave Neal admitted he didn't get SnapYeti at first but the engaged audience so far has proven it “a powerful and unique brand promotion tool." Client Petmate, for example, earned 82,000 click thrus, 1,428 new Facebook likes and 2,160 email subscribers after a recent contest, providing $33,000 in value (based on national statistics), Beard told the crowd. The cost to Petmate was the $100 prize.
But SnapYeti's revenue plans are contingent on growing a much larger user base. It hopes to begin to understand more about the users in order to charge brands for access to those most likely to engage and buy. According to The Startup Factory's Chris Heivly, the accelerator helped “unlock some bigger companies, bigger deals that have a little bigger impact,” all with a goal of getting Beard's customer list from 170 to 1,000. Some of those will be publishers and media organizations—SnapYeti launched its first contest with the local ABC11, one of 200 ABC-owned or operated affiliates, this month. Other
organizations plan to host contests in partnership with advertisers.
Mentors also helped develop a strategy for SnapYeti to seek partnerships with Constant Contact, iContact and other email marketing firms—they've expressed interest in promoting SnapYeti's contests to their customers.
So what's next for SnapYeti? More hustling, and hopefully some funding post-TSF.
Here's his Startup Factory pitch:
More Startup Factory profiles here.