When Alan Boehme and his small Coca-Cola team looked at the success of the first Innovation Showcase of entrepreneurs, they thought they might have been lucky.

So they did it again. Round two showed that luck had nothing to do with it. The size of the event doubled.

The Bridge program recently hosted its third Innovation Showcase at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. And it has doubled again. This year, the event introduced the 12 technology companies in the seven-month program – plus one alum and two from a new outreach to Latin America. The companies explained their technologies and introduced their products to an audience of more than 600 from Coca-Cola and Turner Broadcasting – which joined Bridge in 2015 – plus more than 100 customers, partners and potential investors.

There is a straight line, Boehme explained, between The Bridge III and a simple question: “How can we do a better, faster job of bringing new technologies into Coca-Cola?”

The fast-evolving answer was to create a bridge between tech entrepreneurs and global markets. The target is software solutions on the verge of commercialization. The focus is on broad themes particularly important to Coca-Cola and many other companies: consumer engagement, consumer retail, supply chain, marketing innovation and health and wellness

In three years, The Bridge has identified more than 600 companies and reviewed 150. Of those, 30 have been invited to be part of the program. Out of the three classes have come 68 pilot programs,15 license agreements and four global license agreements. Among them: Cimagine, an augmented reality solution and Bringg, on-demand delivery management software.

The Bridge program has headquarters in Tel Aviv, and until this year, all companies have come from Israel. “Seventy-five percent of all venture capital is concentrated in a handful of cities,” said Boehme. “Places like Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and others. Tel Aviv is one of them. Where you have concentrations of capital, you tend to have hubs of innovation. We have a long presence in Israel, and solid R&D. But we had never really engaged in startups. So it was a promising place to start.”

Turner joined The Bridge in Tel-Aviv as part of an effort to help link the entrepreneurial community to global markets. “When we were discussing bringing in another partner,” said Boehme, “We saw we had a lot in common with Turner like the importance of  a strong connection into the technology community.”

For Turner, The Bridge offers potential solutions in the massive transformation from traditional broadcasting to IP-based technologies.

“There are few areas where you’ll see more change than in media,” said Turner’s Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Legg. “Working with The Bridge helps connect with companies that can accelerate that transition. It gives us new ways to think about business and new technologies to revolutionize our industry.”

This year’s class, including two from Mexico in an expansion to Latin America, crosses a wide range of breakthrough technologies and their business applications. Included in Bridge III:

Byond: A Virtual Reality CMS platform of web-based tools that greatly reduces the complexities in offering audiences the experience of virtual reality

Curiyo: Identifies key terms on a site or app and allows users to find relevant content without leaving where they are – bringing content to the user, not the other way around.

Docauthority: Automatically scans and creates a map of documents and content across the organization, allowing organizations to identify sensitive documents and their classification.

Endor: Uses MIT developed technology – Social Physics – to allow businesses to ask any predictive questions involving human behavior and trends  (Which consumer will be the most likely to buy from me next?) and get an answer in minutes rather than months.

Lofic: Connects musicians around the world, allowing them to play and record music together using a mobile app studio and creating a musical stage for amateurs and professionals.

NeoMatix: Uses computer vision and learning algorithms to monitor tires in places like depots and parking lot gates to spot damage to tires or wheel problems before they result in breakdowns.

Newsfusion: An automated editing and selection platform that offers a range of apps that are built on the passions of super-fans who can’t get enough information; whether its sports, technology, entertainment or national news.

Pixellot: Offers an automated and affordable sportscasting system that uses a multiple unmanned camera system to capture, produce and distribute TV-grade sports content.

Platica: Allows people to access services and content through natural language processing technology. It allows companies to create two-way conversations with customers 24/7 within the chat apps and IMs where they already spend much of their on-line time.

vBrand: Using Visual machine learning, vBrand is able to automatically identify logos, brand placements and activities in videos and allows brands to see the reach, impact and value of brand placements and sponsorships across TV channels and social media before, during and after an event.

Visualead: Has created the replacement for QR codes technology for mobile scanning  by replacing the familiar QR codes with an embedded image, logo or visual suggestion for action – making the familiar code more appealing and more secure.

Wannabiz: Allows global brands to provide small and medium sized business with marketing solutions especially designed for them; creating location-based marketing for both the business and its brands.

And from the new Latin American expansion, two Mexico-based companies:

Shopology: Using retail engineering technologies, the system observes activity in retail stores, analyzes strengths and problems, shares business results within  the retailer’s organization and makes recommendations on strategic and operating decisions.

Synapbox: Turns consumer interactions into metrics with a scalable system combining  test surveys, interactive analysis of the data, filtered audience results easy access to reports.

The Bridge alumnus, Cimagine, also returned this year.

The Bridge offers these companies something markedly different from traditional investment programs. “Venture capitalists want to invest in companies in exchange for equity and financial growth of the startups,” explained Gabby Czertok, general manager, The Bridge. “What we want is to get true partnerships with innovative technologies that we can bring into the business to help us innovate and make our business faster and better. Once these companies are accepted into the Bridge class, we get a seven-month head start in figuring out together what is the best fit for working together.”

In return, The Bridge gives startups and young, growing companies the ability to compete above their weight class. That includes training, connections within Coca-Cola, Turner and their respective customers, mentoring and – the Showcase plays a big part here – visibility. Importantly, The Bridge gives them a potential launch customer, which aligns business development with customer needs. It also offers a built-in set of contacts – within the company, with bottlers, with customers and with partners all over the world.

'We need to open up and listen to everybody we can. We need to spot the best ideas quickly, understand them, and figure out how to bring them into the business. The Bridge is showing that it can do that for us.'

“One of the areas where we have found we can be a big help said Czertok, “is communications and storytelling. That is where a lot of start-ups fail. All their attention tends to go to developing their best-of-breed technology. They need to tell their story to investors, to employees, to potential customers. Coca-Cola has a strong history in storytelling. We have adapted Coca-Cola’s leading market training tools to startups. The difference in these companies before and after training is amazing.”

What’s next for The Bridge? According to Boehme: accelerated growth. 

“This is an amazing time in history for entrepreneurs,” he said. “There are so many important ideas in development is so many places. We need to tap into that creativity and disruption, and we need to do it early. I saw list of rules for success in Silicon Valley. And one that stuck with me is ‘open doors and listen.’ We need to open up and listen to everybody we can. We need to spot the best ideas quickly, understand them, and figure out how to bring them into the business. The Bridge is showing that it can do that for us.”