Digital advertising agency Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) has amassed £250,000 in revenue for London ad tech startups under its NextTECHnow (NTN) outreach programme.

SMG effectively plays the role of a Tech City matchmaker with NTN: it’s facilitated 11 partnerships between new companies and its own clients just this year – putting it on track to exceed 50 new campaigns within 2016.

This estimation is double that of its entry last year, where 120 meetings resulted in 22 partnerships with clients and ad tech-focused enterprises.

SMG also states that the average investment involving an NTN startup has increased 130% year on year, demonstrating a growing confidence in the programme.

New talent

One brand which shares SMG’s optimism in NTN is Heineken, whose UK arm has activated two startups by means of the project.

“NextTECHnow has been one of the driving forces behind Heineken’s innovation and test and learn agenda,” said media manager of Heineken UK, Elizabeth Hodson.

“To see such diverse, motivated and young talent has been eye opening and truly inspirational to our brand marketing teams.”

Last year NTN was to thank for the introduction of an influencer marketing programme between Twitter analytics tool SocialBro and herbs manufacturer and SMG client McCormick.

Commenting on the programme’s success to date, Iain Jacob, the agency’s president of EMEA said: “At SMG we have pioneered this new way of working with impressive results for our clients’ brands and the tech community.

“We are certainly seen as the experts in this area with a marked increase in the number of clients asking us to introduce, and build, startup partnerships into their plans.”

Extra value

SMG faces no shortage of competition from the performance marketing space in appealing to small ad tech businesses, with networks and agencies alike making use of vast pools of connections in order to add extra value to their service.

Affiliate network Tradedoubler runs its annual Zoo Project, which serves as a performance marketing incubator to successful applicants – providing mentoring and office space – while OMD offers a “technology agnostic” programmatic consultancy.

SMG is currently taking no commission on revenue generated through the scheme. Comments made to publication Digiday last year by overseer of NTN, Jim Kite, remain valid: 

“The most important thing is impartiality. As soon as we start looking at fees and things like that, we may favour one startup over others who may be better for the job. We’d lose everything if that came into play.”