DEERFIELD, Ill. --Candy manufacturer Modelez International is moving forward with its Mobile Futures initiative, having developed concepts by pairing internal teams with a venture-development firm and coming up with potential start-up companies.
Mondelez, a maker of chocolate, biscuits, gum and candy, announced it has teamed up with Prehype, a venture development firm based in New York, to launch two beta platforms: Prankstr, which allows users to prank their friends and share the experience through social networks, and Betabox, which distributes product samples through e-commerce companies.
Born out of Mondelez’s Mobile Futures initiative, which paired several of its product brands with startup entrepreneurs to drive mobile innovation, the concepts for Prankstr and Betabox were created by company employees.
“As part of the Mobile Futures program, we’re empowering our employees to be more entrepreneurial and providing them with a truly unique opportunity to execute on our mobile-first strategy,” said Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez. “Encouraging our marketers to come up with concepts like Prankstr and Betabox shows how bringing a startup mentality to our company can deliver innovative technologies to market and truly spark entrepreneurship.”
The ideas for Prankstr and Betabox were generated during the second phase of Mobile Futures, which aimed at creating and incubating completely new mobile ventures in just 90 days. After identifying the ideas, Mondelez employees partnered with venture developers at Prehype, who built and launched the products. Ultimately, both products are meant to be operated as standalone startups.
“It’s incredible to see a company as large as Mondelez International nurture an entrepreneurial culture, and we’re pleased to be a driving force behind this effort,” said Henrik Werdelin, managing partner at Prehype. “Beyond just encouraging employees to create ideas for totally new ventures, the company is providing initial funding, domain expertise and applying key learnings from its Mobile Futuresprogram to transform a concept into something real.”
Here are descriptions of the two concepts:
Prankstr: Applying content-creation tools to humor
With 50 million prank videos on YouTube, Mondelez identified an emerging opportunity to provide consumers with a tool to help them craft funny content. Users can customize a selected prank and post it on their social channels. Once the task is complete, Prankstr aggregates the reactions into a fun video to share.
“With Prankstr, we’re merging two of the fastest growing trends on the Internet: prank-based videos and content creation tools. Pranking is just the first genre we’re going to reinvent. Ultimately, we’d like to enable users to be more effective and engaging storytellers across all types of stories they tell on social,” said Lauren Fleischer, senior associate brand manager for Mondelez. “Mobile Futures provided us with an opportunity to rethink the way consumers tell stories and allowed me to step outside my daily role and turn my entrepreneurial idea into something tangible.”
In this pilot phase, Prankstr is being offered to users in beta form. After launching Prankstr with initial company seed funding, the team is seeking investors for additional funding with the goal of launching a suite of storytelling tools that consumers can leverage on social media.
Betabox: Changing the face of product sampling
Betaboxenables brands to target their product samples at specific consumers by distributing them through reputable ecommerce partners. Betabox also engages sample recipients with a mobile platform that brands can customize to promote content, special offers and social sharing incentives.
The platform allows brands to insert samples into the outgoing boxes of compatible ecommerce companies with marketing material that encourages recipients to use their phone to engage further with the sampling brand.
“Mondelez International knows the importance of product sampling and the associated challenges well. Through Betabox, brands can sample their products with more accurate targeting, cost-effective distribution and better program analytics than traditional methods,” said Hadley Schafer, senior associate brand manager for Mondelez. “Betabox is a new and unique way for consumers to easily interact with brands via mobile.”
After completion of the beta testing, the team will be looking for seed funding to finance product development and sales.
Prehype is a venture-development firm with offices in London, Copenhagen and New York.
Mondelez International, Deerfield, Ill., is a global snacking manufacturer, with 2013 revenue of $35 billion. Creating snacks in 165 countries, Mondelez is a provider of chocolate, biscuits, gum, candy, coffee and powdered beverages, with brands such as Cadbury, Cadbury dairy milk and milk chocolate, Jacobs coffee, Oreo, LU and Nabisco biscuits, Tang powdered beverages and Trident gum.