Gravy’s new mobile game show is ‘Price is Right’ mixed with QVC – TechCrunch

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Following the success of the reside cell recreation present HQ Trivia, a workforce of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if one other recreation present idea can work, too. Their new recreation show-inspired app, Gravy, is supposed to be a riff on the “Value is Proper” mixed with a QVC-style buying expertise. That’s, the “contestants” compete for reductions of 30 to 70 % off the merchandise marketed, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. As well as, via a facet recreation, 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 workforce behind, an older social buying community that was acquired by Microsoft again in 2007, to assist create Bing Procuring. They’ve additionally paired up on different tasks, together with NameProtect (earlier than Jellyfish), printable coupons useful resource Hopster, social community Nextt, and e-commerce subscription retail web site,, amongst different issues. These have both exited or shut down or each.

The workforce’s efforts indicate a transparent ardour for working with manufacturers, however getting customers to attach with manufacturers in new methods is much tougher, as their observe report reveals.

That’s why they’re now attempting Gravy.

The hope is that the joy round seeing the product unveiled nightly – and understanding you’ll get a giant low cost should you purchase – will develop into a completely new advert unit of types, whereas holding 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 workforce wished to construct this startup. “I don’t suppose anybody’s actually mastered the best way to monetize reside video. So we got here up with this chance to create this new advert unit the place manufacturers might inform their story, and – for seven or eight or 9 minutes – create a reside buying occasion the place millennials can tune in and listen to that story however in a enjoyable, gamified type of method,” he says.

Right here’s how Gravy works. Each night time, at eight:30 PM ET within the Gravy iOS app, a reside host will unveil the product customers should purchase. At present, there’s a rotating choice of hosts who work on a per-show contract foundation, normally native comedians – not model reps.

Gamers should not advised what number of gadgets can be found, nevertheless it’s normally anyplace from two to twenty.

Then the value begins to drop. In the event 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 develop into. Nevertheless, you don’t know who else might snatch it up first and when. In the event you wait too lengthy, the product will promote out.

In the meantime, should you’re not within the product itself, you may guess if you anticipate it to promote out (that means, at which value.) These ten or so closest will obtain a small money prize – a cut up of perhaps $200 or $300, with first place receiving the most important chunk.

A minimum of 20 % of gross sales are given away to charity – a nod, I suppose, to millennials’ curiosity in do-gooder model corporations. However finally, 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 payment for the “promoting alternative” Gravy affords.

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 eager 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.

Nevertheless, none of that is confirmed out but – Gravy is simply a few weeks outdated.

To date, round 50 % of the merchandise it has featured have really been donated by manufacturers, together with 23andMe, 3D Doodler, Tapplock, and others. The remaining have been backed 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 % week-over-week. Round half of those that signed as much as play are returning to look at round three reveals per week, he says.

Whereas the early numbers are promising if true, and it’s clear the workforce 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 “Value is Proper”-style app could be a variety of enjoyable, however this isn’t it – it’s, on the finish of the day, an invite to look at an advert and store at a reduction. That’s not one thing customers might need to do day by day, long-term – even should you attempt to woo them with a small money prize received via a guessing recreation.

And like Trivia HQ , which has dropped from a prime 20 app to the 140’s (by App Retailer total rank, the shine might finally put on off for Gravy, too. Particularly as a result of it’s not primarily a recreation – and millennials, as fickle and quick attention-spanned as they might be (actually? the technology that binges total TV seasons in a number of days?), will comprehend it.

Wiegand isn’t involved, although.

He says he will get uninterested in trivia apps in a number of weeks, however Gravy is completely different.

“I at all times store and I at all times like a deal. The deal trade and the buying trade are a lot bigger than the trivia house,” Wiegand insists. “And the joys of seeing a product that you just like happening into the sixties and seventies % off is unbelievably thrilling,” he enthuses. “We’re in a position to characteristic issues which have the perfect 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 variety of traders, together with the founders on the flip of the yr. Round eighty % was outdoors capital, led by New Capital. The under-20 particular person workforce relies in each Madison and Minneapolis.

Gravy is on the App Retailer right here.

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