Carnival’s Donald makes deal with St. Louis startup Candy Lab
By Brian Feldt St. Louis Business Journal October 16, 2014
Candy Lab, the startup that last year came to St. Louis from San Diego thanks to a $50,000 Arch Grant, has partnered with Carnival Corporation to put its augmented reality app in the hands of vacationers around the world.
Terms of the deal were not released. Further details such as the augmented reality app’s name or scope of the project are also under wraps until Carnival makes an official announcement at a later date, said Carnival Corp Senior Vice President Roger Frizzell.
Frizzell did say the app could be released to customers as early as this fall, and that Carnival will work with Candy Lab on a “project-by-project basis.”
Candy Lab co-founder Andrew Couch said the Carnival project is the biggest to date for the St. Louis startup, which has raised more than $250,000 from investors.
Couch said the project will be a multi-city campaign that will let Carnival customers use the app to win prizes from Carnival, the world’s largest cruise ship operator with 2013 revenue of more than $15.5 billion and 10 global cruise brands, including Carnival and Princess Cruises.
Carnival CEO Arnold Donald is a St. Louisan and maintains an office here. He was also a judge for this year’s Arch Grants competition.
That’s how Candy Lab co-founder Andrew Couch said the two companies started talking to each another.
“We pretty much crashed the Arch Grants finalist weekend (in April),” Couch said. “Tourism is one of our pillars and we had been talking to (Arch Grants President and Director Jerry Schlichter) about how we could get in front of Arnold. Jerry gave us a text for us to keep an eye out at finalist weekend.”
Couch said he invested about $80,000 in Candy Lab following the sale of his previous company — a digital license plate messaging system — to competitor Bump in 2010. Couch said Candy Lab made $334,000 in sales since joining Arch Grants a year ago, and projects $3.5 million in sales over the next six months.
Candy Lab is most recognizable for its work with STL250, the celebration of St. Louis’ 250th birthday; it built an app that provided information about the sites that had one of the city’s 250 birthday cakes. The app lets users interact with inanimate objects located around a city, building or park.