Dropit is an interactive app that hosts live 60-second auctions on a stadium’s scoreboard, that users bid on from their mobile device. You just need to download the app from app stores be it Google or iTunes for your smarphones and use for any Dropit auction, regardless of what arena you’re currently in.
Once the auction starts the price begins to drop, and the first player to “swipe up” in real time wins that item for the price shown. The longer everyone waits the more the price drops, but the odds of someone else in the stadium stealing it from you increases exponentially.
From example, during one live test at a baseball game the startup held an auction for a Ducati motorcycle, which sold for $3,904 and is worth over $15,000.
These items are typically given away by a sponsor, who take a loss on the item but essentially consider it an advertising expense just like buying an old-fashioned billboard ad in the stadium. Sponsors also typically pay an advertising fee to the home team for each auction run, as well as Dropit for powering the tech behind the live auction.
Essentially, the goal for sponsors is to get everyone in the stadium to concentrate on one thing at once, i.e the item being auctioned off. By turning an advertisement into a fun interactive game, there’s a much better chance fans will actually pay attention and remember a sponsor’s brand and product. Sponsor can also offer every attendee an in-app post-auction offer like a coupon, so everyone walks away with something even if they lost the auction.
Dropit has taken the model of a traditional auction and gamified it as an immersive, adrenaline-pumping competition in which the price drops over the course of 60 seconds. The first player to swipe up wins the purchase offer.
Founded in 2014, Dropit Inc. launched into the U.S. market as a leader in creating an innovative fan immersion experience. Initially tested in the New Zealand market over 388 activations, Dropit yielded 92.5% returning users and a 55% engagement with millennials.
The startup recently raised a $3.6M USD Series A at a pre-money valuation of $21M, with most of the funding coming from New Zealand investors. They also sold an equity stake to Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini.
Dropit was idea of Mt Maunganui brothers that turned their app into a $30m tech business, disrupting the lucrative United States sports sponsorship market. Brendan Howell, 40, and Peter Howell, 37, founded Dropit in the Mount in 2015, building on technology from a previous enterprise.
The startup recently raised a $3.6M USD Series A at a pre-money valuation of $21M, with most of the funding coming from New Zealand investors. They also sold an equity stake to Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini. Audiences loved the adrenalin-pumping, bargain-hunting action and sponsors loved seeing people actively engage with their brand instead of checking social media or grabbing a hot dog.
A distribution deal with major electronic scoreboard manufacturer Daktronics followed in 2017 and went live at a couple of new stadiums. They were also eyeing up potential shopping mall applications, long term.
In a way the ambitious brothers have come full circle, having started their careers building billboards. In 2017 they moved the company to Miami and started expanding. They are trying to raise $5 million in new investment capital – mostly from Kiwi investors – and build up their staff to 50 people, including new hires in New Zealand.
Each brother owned about 20 per cent of the company, and their goal was to make it a unicorn, planning to spend the next three to five years “working our you-know-what’s off” to get there.