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

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Following the success of the reside cellular sport present HQ Trivia, a workforce of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if one other sport present idea can work, too. Their new sport 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 p.c off the merchandise marketed, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. As well as, via a facet sport, 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 Purchasing. 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 way harder, as their observe file reveals.

That’s why they’re now attempting Gravy.

The hope is that the joy round seeing the product unveiled nightly – and figuring out you’ll get an enormous low cost in the event you purchase – will change into a wholly new advert unit of types, whereas retaining gamers engaged in a game-show like expertise.

“One of many challenges with millennials is their quick consideration spans, they usually don’t reply effectively to interruptive promoting,” explains Wiegand, of why the workforce needed to construct this startup. “I don’t assume anybody’s actually mastered how one can 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 sort 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 buy. At the moment, there’s a rotating choice of hosts who work on a per-show contract foundation, normally native comedians – not model reps.

Gamers aren’t informed what number of gadgets can be found, nevertheless it’s normally wherever from two to twenty.

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

In the meantime, in the event you’re not within the product itself, you possibly can guess while you count on it to promote out (that means, at which value.) These ten or so closest will obtain a small money prize – a break up of possibly $200 or $300, with first place receiving the most important chunk.

At the very least 20 p.c of gross sales are given away to charity – a nod, I suppose, to millennials’ curiosity in do-gooder fashion corporations. However in the end, that call that has extra to do with the truth that Gravy doesn’t intention 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 charge for the “promoting alternative” Gravy gives.

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 fascinated about that product. The recall, memorability, and the entire 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 previous.

To date, round 50 p.c of the merchandise it has featured have truly been donated by manufacturers, together with 23andMe, 3D Doodler, Tapplock, and others. The remainder have been sponsored 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 p.c 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 can be a whole lot 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 could wish to do day by day, long-term – even in the event you attempt to woo them with a small money prize gained via a guessing sport.

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

Wiegand isn’t involved, although.

He says he will get uninterested in trivia apps in a number of weeks, however Gravy is totally 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 fun of seeing a product that you just like happening into the sixties and seventies p.c off is unbelievably thrilling,” he enthuses. “We’re in a position to characteristic issues which have the most effective value on the planet of first-run merchandise…it creates this heart-pounding, exhilarating and expertise like, ‘Ought to I purchase? Oh my God, take 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 12 months. Round eighty p.c was outdoors capital, led by New Capital. The under-20 particular person workforce is predicated in each Madison and Minneapolis.

Gravy is on the App Retailer right here.

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