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SXSW: Adly contest for start-ups gives winner a celebrity tweet

March 11, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • Adly is hosting a contest on Twitter for start-ups that want a celebrity endorsement.
Adly is hosting a contest on Twitter for start-ups that want a celebrity… (Adly )

AUSTIN, Texas -- Want a major celebrity to endorse your start-up company on Twitter?

Westwood-based Adly, a marketing platform that connects brands with celebrities on social media, is holding a contest during South by Southwest for start-ups that want a little boost from a big name.

Entrants just need to submit a pitch of 140 characters or fewer to Adly's Twitter handle with the format: "Hey @Adly ____________________ #SXSW #pitchadly."

At a "Sunday Funday" event featuring L.A. tech companies, Adly Chief Executive Walter Delph said that as SXSW's Interactive festival grows each year, start-ups can struggle to get noticed.

"Now you have multi-billion companies like Samsung who are here, so it's harder for smaller companies to bubble to the top," Delph said from Austin's Frank restaurant, where a capacity crowd snacked on currywurst and downed cocktails adorned with bacon strips. "We want to help in an authentic way."

The winning start-up will be paired with an appropriate celebrity so that the endorsement makes sense, he said. Adly has worked with such celebrities as the Kardashians, Mariah Carey and Jessica Alba.

"We're trying to be a trusted partner to these guys," he said. "Because of that, I've been able to get some premium celebrities on board."

The winner will be announced March 25 and will be chosen based on originality of the product, commercial viability and Adly's ability to match the start-up with the right celebrity. So far, a few dozen have applied, Delph said. 

Adly also announced it had received $2 million in funding from GRP Partners, Greycroft Partners and Siemer. The investment will be used to hire more salespeople and engineers, and to mine celebrity data, Delph said.

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