Y&R Commences 2017 Sparkplug Incubator

Mar 24, 2017

When we first envisioned the SparkPlug program, we wanted to create a better way to collaborate and innovate with start-up companies developing exciting new technology and solutions that would advance and enhance the work we do for clients. 

Over the years we have helped some wonderful start-ups like Eko (formerly Interlude) and Hyperactivate by offering workspace, resources and access to global relationships. In return, we got access to new thinking and products. Today, Y&R launched its 2017 SparkPlug Incubator program, joined by five early-stage startups in the marketing technology space. We also announced the SparkPlug Community, a proprietary tool that we are developing for sharing partner and technology resources for agency clients. The SparkPlug programs are collaborative initiatives that connect Y&R’s global network with companies and services who share a commitment to elevating brand storytelling and experiences.

We're excited to kick off this new phase of the SparkPlug Incubator program and welcome five early-stage startups who have joined us in our New York headquarters. The SparkPlug Incubator companies were selected from more than 100 applicants in six categories: content, mobile, social, nonprofit, new platforms and product development. The SparkPlug Incubator participating companies are:

Instapanel – A mashup of focus groups and online surveys that collects video responses to discover consumer insights in as little as 24 hours.
Raiserve– A digital solution that empowers volunteers to make twice the social impact by raising money for every hour of their volunteer work.
TINT – Aggregates user-generated content from 15+ content sources to moderate, and display for marketing efforts across any digital channel: websites, mobile apps, signage, ad networks, and more.
Uru– Algorithm-driven software that creates native ad units for video, 360-video, augmented reality, and virtual reality content.
Vyrill - An artificial intelligence powered video analytics dashboard that allows marketers to activate against user and brand generated video content across web.

The immersive six-month program offers each company space in Y&R’s New York headquarters, where they will continue developing their products and services while exploring new business opportunities with account teams within Y&R. During the program, companies will participate in a demo day attended by angel investors, press, Y&R executives and industry leaders.

The SparkPlug Incubator program will work with The Associated Press for content services and mentorship and has partnered with a premiere marketing communications law firm to offer legal services. The program also has a robust list of mentors including investors, start-up advisors and members of non-profit institutions. Y&R will offer companies access to capabilities including branding, design, strategic marketing, data and more.

“SparkPlug is rooted in the understanding that the best technology, like the best marketing, is about people first,” said David Sable, Global CEO. “The SparkPlug experience is a living lab that helps advance the technologies, while offering new and powerful ways for our clients to reach their consumers. The proximity exponentially drives progress on both sides.”

The SparkPlug Community, launching later this year, will offer Y&R’s global network a new internal resource to facilitate information sharing within the global network and enhance collaborative work with new companies as well as previous partners. With startups spanning 10 industry verticals, the Community will provide a touchpoint where Y&R teams around the world can share prior collaborations and referrals to companies in emerging technology and services that can help drive business storytelling for clients.

The SparkPlug program is managed by Global Director of Innovation, Mansi Jayakumar who was included this year in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

"We were deeply impressed with the applicant group this year and it was difficult narrowing it down. The group of companies we ultimately selected are all building solutions that are addressing relevant issues and needs in our industry that will also be highly valuable to our clients,” said Jayakumar.

In addition to the Incubator and the Community, Y&R also organizes annual Game Changer Tours, which are 2-day long intimate, curated tours open to clients, introducing them to game changing companies and technologies in 5 key innovation hubs – New York, London, Tel Aviv, Singapore and Berlin.

Learn more and apply here.


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