LONDON — Back in January, media agency SMG announced NextTECHnow, a program to get closer to UK tech startups that can help bring innovations to brand campaigns.

Since then, the programme has been kept somewhat under the radar. But the man who runs it now opens up on the rationale and its early progress.

“In the past, we thought we could create everything ourselves,” SMG strategic development director Jim Kite tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “As technology is changing people’s lives, we can’t do it ourselves – we have to make new partnerships.”

NextTECHnow sees SMG representatives build relations with tech startups and groups around the UK, auditing their efforts for “business-ready” state.

“We have people on the ground in the tech hubs, constantly going to the accelerators like BBC Ventures, Collider or Seedcamp, feeding us new startups,” Kite says.

“We take (client) briefs out to TechCity and the other tech hubs (like) Newcastle, Bristol, Hull… connecting brands and technology solutions. We’re a kind of match-maker.”

So far, NextTECHnow has seen SMG bring brands tech from:

  • Formissimo, for improving sign-up form conversion rates.
  • Seenit, for helping brands use user-generated video in London Underground real-time out-of-home ad campaigns.
  • Sopost, which helps turn  brand assets in to socially-giftable items.
  • Visor, an augmented reality startup helping auto brands give customers try-before-you-buy experiences.

“We never have a problem with anyone turning up to our meetings, because everyone wants to see all this technology,” Kite adds.

We interviewed him as part of the series The Road to Cannes, our lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival presented by Coull.   Please visit this page for additional segments.  This interview took place in the London office of SMG.