Following the success of the dwell cell sport present HQ Trivia, a crew 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 purchasing 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 way of a aspect 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 crew behind Jellyfish.com, an older social purchasing community that was acquired by Microsoft again in 2007, to assist create Bing Buying. They’ve additionally paired up on different initiatives, 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 crew’s efforts suggest a transparent ardour for working with manufacturers, however getting customers to attach with manufacturers in new methods is way harder, as their monitor report exhibits.
That’s why they’re now attempting Gravy.
The hope is that the joy round seeing the product unveiled nightly – and figuring out you’ll get a giant low cost in the event you purchase – will turn out to be a completely new advert unit of kinds, whereas preserving 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 effectively to interruptive promoting,” explains Wiegand, of why the crew needed to construct this startup. “I don’t assume anybody’s actually mastered the right way to monetize dwell video. So we got here up with this chance to create this new advert unit the place manufacturers may inform their story, and – for seven or eight or 9 minutes – create a dwell purchasing occasion the place millennials can tune in and listen to that story however in a enjoyable, gamified form of method,” he says.
Right here’s how Gravy works. Each evening, at eight:30 PM ET within the Gravy iOS app, a dwell host will unveil the product customers should purchase. At the moment, 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 sometimes wherever from two to twenty.
Then the worth 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 proportion off will turn out to be. Nonetheless, you don’t know who else may 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 may guess whenever you count on it to promote out (which means, at which value.) These ten or so closest will obtain a small money prize – a cut up of possibly $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 firms. However in the end, that call that has extra to do with the truth that Gravy doesn’t purpose 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 price for the “promoting alternative” Gravy presents.
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 serious 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 outdated.
Thus far, 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 remainder 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 observe round three exhibits per week, he says.
Whereas the early numbers are promising if true, and it’s clear the crew likes to work within the normal 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 can be a number of enjoyable, however this isn’t it – it’s, on the finish of the day, an invite to observe an advert and store at a reduction. That’s not one thing customers could wish to do daily, long-term – even in the event you attempt to woo them with a small money prize received by way of a guessing sport.
And like Trivia HQ , which has dropped from a prime 20 app to the 140’s (by App Retailer total rank, the shine could 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 total 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 business and the purchasing business are a lot bigger than the trivia house,” Wiegand insists. “And the fun of seeing a product that you just like taking place into the sixties and seventies p.c off is unbelievably thrilling,” he enthuses. “We’re capable of function issues which have one of the 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 outdoors capital, led by New Capital. The under-20 individual crew relies in each Madison and Minneapolis.
Gravy is on the App Retailer right here.