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A group of former Google executives and early investors have teamed up in a bid to revolutionize mobile advertising and — they hope — make it more enjoyable to attend baseball games.
Xperiel, a Sunnyvale, California-based start-up, introduced itself to the public on Thursday and announced $7 million in financing from some heavy hitters in technology and sports, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball. Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim and early Amazon.com executive Ram Shriram — two of the first investors in Google — joined the party.
The founders of Xperiel are brothers Alex and Philipp Hertel, who previously created software that became the basis for Google Wallet.
Xperiel's technology is designed to link all the data from the many sensors that surround us and combine that with a consumer's interests in order to create personal experiences on mobile phones. There are all sorts of web-connected devices everywhere we go, but they don't talk to each other, and certainly don't talk to ordinary people.
Why not take advantage of that data and use the information to present more relevant offers and incentives to smartphone users, replacing the annoying internet-like ads that we currently see on our devices?
The Hertel brothers gave a demo to a group of reporters in San Francisco earlier this week, using the Dodgers as an example of a customer. Dodger Stadium's ticket scanners, concession stands, iBeacons, scoreboards and Jumbotrons all have sensors. Surely those devices can connect in a way that makes sitting through a nine-inning game more tolerable.
"There's a huge amount of technology in a stadium, bit it's all siloed right now," said Alex Hertel, the CEO. "We take all the technology in a stadium and we unify it."
At Dodger Stadium, that could mean getting a digital puzzle piece after scanning a ticket and another for buying a drink. Get all four pieces and collect a bobblehead.
Hertel was quick to emphasize that sporting events are just one application. The company has created a platform for designers and marketers to easily create and customize experiences for their clients. Pepsi executives were also at the launch and talked about using Xperiel for events with big corporate clients.
Like with any early-stage start-up, Xperiel faces a laundry list of challenges. After all, the technology to date has only been tested by select companies.
But Xperiel has collected quite the roster of support. Additional investors include VMware co-founder Diane Greene (who now runs Google's cloud), Intuit co-founder Scott Cook and Stanford University President John Hennessy as well Golden State Warriors part owner Dave Scially and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp.