They didn’t know it, but fans who attended the seventeen Cardinal baseball games played at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium this past August were taking part in a test – the results of which were being watched very closely by St. Louis startup company Lumate.
Lumate deals in location-based, context-driven mobile advertising. What’s that you ask? The Busch Stadium example helps with the answer. In the August test, Lumate partnered with the founders of Urban Chestnut, the emerging St. Louis craft beer which is sold, on tap, at two Busch Stadium concession stands during Cardinal games. Due to the exclusive nature of the agreement between the team, the stadium and primary stadium beer vendor Anheuser-Busch, Urban Chestnut isn’t allowed to deploy traditional advertising for its product inside the stadium. In short, fans only find out Urban Chestnut is available at Busch Stadium via word of mouth, or, by happening upon one of the stadium venues that sells it.
Enter Lumate, which collaborates with thousands of app publishers around the nation and uses a variety of technologies – including GPS data — to bring more relevant ads to the users of those apps. In August, Cardinal fans who were seated inside Busch Stadium and who clicked, for example, on the WeatherBug app to check the game forecast, received a banner advertisement customized to show where Urban Chestnut was sold in Busch Stadium. Lumate and Urban Chestnut are still analyzing data from the test, but have verified that thousands of people viewed the advertisement.
In addition to GPS data, Lumate uses information such as census data and time of day to bring more relevance to mobile app advertising. A hungry traveler arriving at an airport with 45 minutes before his connecting flight can click on an app and be exposed to advertising that tells him which airport restaurant is currently featuring the best prices, or experiencing the shortest wait times.
The areas surrounding convention centers, heavy-traffic business districts, or entertainment districts are among the other geographic locations which could be a good fit for the technology. Founded in 2008 by a group of former students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Lumate is based at the downtown St. Louis T-REx tech incubator building.
Lumate, with 12 employees working in St. Louis, plans to open a second office in Rolla, hiring ten part-time college students from the university. With this new expansion, Lumate hopes that they will be able to form a pipeline of talent between Rolla and St. Louis. Lumate, which recently changed its name from IDC Projects, is an Arch Grants recipient, a Capital Innovators graduate, and a beneficiary of an investment from the Missouri Technology Corporation.