Unilever Ventures has invested in an augmented reality treasure hunt game Snatch, a game dubbed “Pokémon Go for brands”.
Snatch is a new mobile-gaming experience that puts players into a virtual treasure hunt where they grab and steal parcels – to win real prizes.
The Unilever investment is a significant step for Unilever Ventures as they seldom give seed-funding to pre-series A companies.
Brands already on the app other than Unilever’s own Marmite, include TopShop, TopMan, All Bar One, Mitchells & Butler, Just Eat, Pizza Hut Delivery, Rock Pamper Scissors and Now TV.
Players also have a chance to win a year’s university fees as one of the top prizes. Following a period of BETA testing, 50,000 parcels have been snatched to date and it’s only in month two. Snatch also has the backing of Velocity Capital Advisors, a consumer technology fund which were original co-investors.
Jan Harley, Director, from Unilever Ventures, said: “Over the past year, augmented reality has gone from a novelty to a real part of our day-to-day lives. We believe that Snatch has the potential to transform the way brands are engaging with consumers. Immersing people in an interactive environment where they’re actively seeking out products and feeling the elation of winning something tangible, is a really exciting addition to the marketing toolkit. It’s an exciting period for the industry and something we’re keen to be part of.”
Phil Lloyd, Chief Marketing Officer at Snatch (formerly Paddy Power), commented: “Snatch is about our brands engaging with consumers in a place they’re accepted and welcomed, not interrupting them with advertising in places they’d rather they weren’t. Combining brand rewards, real-world gaming and AR is fairly virgin territory, so we’re delighted that an investor like Unilever Ventures is on board at an early stage ahead of some very exciting plans for 2017 and beyond. We can’t wait to get cracking.”
The game enables players to explore the area around them, hunting for virtual parcels. Once they have held on to the parcel for six hours and kept them from being snatched by others, the parcel can be opened – and the real prize within is revealed. The game is constantly being developed to give players the most rewarding experience – from in-app features to prizes.
To date, the start-up has already received funding from Velocity Technology Fund and was featured in The Drum as one of the best start-ups at the 2016 Web Summit. The Snatch team will also be attending SXSW in Austin, Texas.
The concept has already resonated with industry heavyweights, and is already on a fast trajectory:
• It already has 25 brands on board including: Unilever’s own Marmite, TopShop, TopMan, All Bar One, Just Eat, Pizza Hut Delivery and Now TV
• Snatch has secured £15 million worth of parcels ready to win, as more brands harness the opportunity there will be more prizes available
• The average user is engaging with the app 4x per day and spending more than 1hr of cumulative time in game
• Unilever Venture’s substantial investment in the startup is a vote of confidence for augmented reality and gamification in the advertising space
• Snatch will work together with Unilever Ventures to bring new prizes to the game, expand internationally, and continue to innovate, ensuring that existing and new players want to snatch up brands’ products