Pepsi plucks tech startups for PepsiCo10 incubator program

PepsiCo 10Ten lucky startups have won spots in Pepsi’s incubator program, Pepsi said today. As part of the first-ever PepsiCo10, these media, technology, and communications entrepreneurs will be launching pilot programs in digital media and social marketing using Pepsi brands.

“PepsiCo10 is about outside innovation, celebrating and helping to cultivate emerging start-ups, while at the same time, refreshing our brands and our communications strategy with new perspectives and inspiration,” said Seth Kaufman, Director of Media Strategy and Investment for PepsiCo North America Beverages.

PepsiCo10 will work with the following brands: Gatorade, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Quaker Chewy granola bars, and Pepsi beverages in restaurants.

The incubator program has four “innovation” segments: social media, mobile marketing, place-based and retail experiential marketing, and digital video or gaming. The winning startups include mobile couponing solutions, niche social networking platforms, and gaming platforms for consumers in restaurants, amusement parks and retail stores.  A full list of winners and video montage is available on Pepsi’s site.

There were two music-based companies amongst the winners. BreakoutBand, in the social media segment, allows users to form virtual bands with friends, create original songs, and compete to have the biggest hit. MyCypher, in the mobile marketing segment, is a dynamic mobile platform to allow artists to create new musing by using the mobile phone as a microphone. Seems like a natural progression for the Rock-Band-obsessed generation of kids.

Evil Genius Designs, in the digital video and gaming segment, would be a fun program for customers. The company provides mobile game play and entertainment to guests waiting in lines at amusement parks, arenas, conferences, and more.

Over 500 companies applied for the program when Pepsi issued the open call for submissions in June. The rigorous selection process included a second-round RFP and video submission. The final 20 appeared for a two-day oral presentation to Pepsi’s brand and marketing teams, agency partners, and venture capitalists.