Startup Hot Zone Contestants Announced by DMA

When the Direct Marketing Association unveiled &THEN, the Digital Age re-do of its annual convention earlier this year, SVP of Communications Lindsay Hutter told us the group wanted to introduce a little Shark Tank vibe to the show.

And so it goes. The DMA today announced the names of the 15 contestants in its Hot Zone competition, which seeks to select the most promising—and most disruptive—little tech company in the mar-tec world. Each will have a booth at the show, which opens in Boston on October 4, where attendees can check them out and cast votes to determine five finalists. They will present their business plans Tank-style at the central “Hub” stage before a panel of judges, who will then present the winner with a check for $25,000.

The finalists run the gamut of solutions, including ad optimization, CRM, customer experience, and data aggregation. They are AdAgility; Booshaka; Cortex; Gravitater; Gracious Eloise; InsideVault; Jebbit; MentAd; Outleads; ReFUEL4; ROBUZZ; Sticky; TrackIf; Trendalytics; and Vistar Media.

“The finalists had to prove themselves to be disruptive in a segment where there is no declared winner, and they had to have revenues under $5 million,” says David Kohl, CEO of Morgan Digital Ventures and program curator of the Hot Zone. “They paid no entry fees. They deserve to be where they are.”

Judging the five finalists will be Environics Analytics president Jan Kestle; Facebook marketing executive Kunal Merchant; Return Path Chief Privacy and Security Officer Dennis Dayman; and Media Math Chief of Staff Harry Chiu.

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