Third annual Daniels Undergraduate Case Competition awards $10,000 for hot ideas
The crowd gushes, laughs or cringes—and it’s hard to predict which way it’ll go. It’s that lull in the action when the camera spans the crowd and broadcasts two spectators on the jumbotron, urging them to kiss. Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s funny and sometimes, in the case of siblings, colleagues or countless other scenarios, it’s downright awkward.
Dana Veitch had the opposite problem. Disappointed that he and his date were not among those randomly selected couples (or non-couples) urged to publicly smooch at a Denver Nuggets game, Veitch had an idea. Enter the KissCam, LLC app, which allows event attendees to opt into sharing their public displays of affection. Participants can use the app to post photos and videos of their PDA to social media, competing to win most fun or creative KissCam moment. And yes, there are themed filters and frames.
It’s only fitting that the popular fan engagement event should evolve toward social interaction and explicit consent—it is 2019, after all. Developed, patented and in use at concerts, corporate events and sports venues worldwide since 2016, the free iOS and Android app is wildly popular—but not profitable. KissCam, LLC has yet to earn revenue. That needs to change by the end of the year for the app to remain financially viable beyond its investor-funded startup period. So, Veitch sought solutions from his target market—college students.
On Friday, May 3, 38 undergraduate students from the Daniels College of Business were tasked with defining the path to KissCam’s success at the third annual Undergraduate Case Competition in the Reiman Theater. The case was unveiled at 4 p.m. May 2, and, for the next 20 hours, nine teams of business majors dispersed to create strategic plans for the event sponsor’s financial growth.
In the morning, faculty members mentored each team. After lunch, the teams took turns presenting to the five-person judges’ panel, including Veitch, KissCam Business Development Director Alex Veitch, KissCam principal and Daniels Assistant Teaching Professor Tamara Hannaway, Wealth Director and Senior Vice President for PNC Cristina Crow and Senior Consultant at Hitachi Consulting Juliana Phelps (MBA 2018).
The teams proposed additional niche markets for broader use of the app (Airports! Ski resorts! Times Square on New Year’s Eve!). Most concluded that KissCam should grow its financial profitability to attract an acquisition like Instagram—not file for an IPO like Snapchat.
The teams gathered at 4:30 p.m. to hear the results. In the end, Uncle Custard’s Analytics Shack won first place and a giant check for $5,000. Seniors Cameron Vanbaal, Cory Vandenberg, Alex Arbisman and Miciah Lewis worked until 1 a.m. to perfect their PowerPoint.
“We were very excited and grateful to win the competition,” Lewis said. “I think our success was largely because we made a good team, but also, we worked really hard to come up with creative solutions.”
Those included suggesting that KissCam pivot its positioning from social media platform to experience broker, focusing on providing new experiences to consumers who are “hungrier for them more now than ever before”—then selling user data from those experiences to help event venues boost ticket sales, for both a business-to-consumer and business-to-business approach.
As for their team name?
“Alex suggested ‘Uncle Custard’s Analytics Shack’ because three of us are business information analytics majors,” Lewis explained. “When I asked [the team] to decide on a (hopefully more normal) name, they all voted for ‘Analytics Shack,’ so that’s what we went with. It was pretty funny to have that whole name on a check, though—Alex has it up in his room.”
The Peak Consultants team won second place and $3,000, and team Sesame took third place and $2,000.
“The event beat my expectations in every aspect,” said Veitch. “The students were professional, well-prepared, ready and full of great ideas. They should make Daniels proud. All groups provided valuable insights, creative ideas, uncovered new facts, challenged our thoughts, and forced us to think harder and broader on our current strategy and target market needs. I expect that several ideas from each group will be implemented.”
KissCam, LLC will return in the coming weeks to solicit additional student feedback through a paid marketing focus group.
“These students are savvy consumers of digital assets and have a good feel for user interface functionality,” Veitch said. “We look forward to hearing the students’ ideas and critiques for KissCam’s usability.”