Marc had made Aliyah to Israel from his hometown in Dallas, where I was also raised.
We were comparing notes on the startup scene in Israel and a company he was in the process of launching. Fast forward one year later, where I met another startup entrepreneur, Gilad Zirkel in London at Jeff Pulver’s #140Conf event. Marc and Gilad joined forces to start a new company, Hashtagart, which later went on to become Hyperactivate.
Marc and Gilad developed a platform called AMP – (Activation Management Platform) that would let consumers engage with brands at live events and TV shows, simply by using sharing through social media. As the number of users engaged, a giant mosaic would fill a giant digital blackboard or screen with the branding or an image that the sponsor wanted to showcase.
With big dreams and a laptop computer, Marc and Gilad hopped on a plane to Austin, and ventured to SXSW hoping to connect and meet brands and agencies in person. SXSW is an Interactive / Music / Film festival – the largest of its kind in the world, which starts next Friday.
Mix in a bit of tenacity and fire in their bellies, they landed several major brands who came on board as customers. The likes of MTV, M&M’s, Verizon, Major League Baseball, McDonalds, Revlon, American Express, the Ellen Show and many other brands and TV shows signed on as clients.
Currently, Gilad resides in Tel Aviv managing the R&D team, while Marc offices at the Y&R Sparkplug Incubator in New York with the sales and business development team. Sparkplug is Y&R’s global incubator program for start-ups that can offer relevant ideas and products to help Y&R drive innovation in their work. In exchange for state-of-the-art office space and access to a large global agency, Sparkplug companies are invited to share new ways of thinking, introduce innovative technologies, and forge productive new partnerships.
At SXSW 2013, Hyperactivate joined forces with American Airlines as they were in the process of launching their new brand. As users tweeted out “#newAmerican,” their profile picture would become part of a giant mosaic based on the AMP platform. The airline could track engagement and the consumer could become a brand ambassador for the airline during SXSW.
Last year, I met with Marc for another meal; this time at Yonah Schimel’s Knish Bakery in New York. As we shared coffee and some great knishes, Marc and I looked back on the time we first met in Texas and where the company was then. Now going forward, I am looking forward to seeing Marc and Gilad again at SXSW 2014, and watching their dream evolve and mature as they continue to help brands engage.
Note: starting on March 8, I will be posting stories from SXSW in Austin, showcasing Israel’s start-up and innovation economy’s presence. Look for an update on Hyperactivate and other companies to come.
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