Category Archives: Advertising Tech

Knotch launches Blueprint to help marketers find the best publishers of sponsored content

When I last wrote about Knotch, the company had just patented its color-based feedback system that helps advertisers measure the effectiveness of their sponsored content. Since then, it’s added a competitive intelligence product and now Blueprint, a tool for marketers who want to find the best topics, formats and partners to reach their desired audience. Lara Vandenberg, Knotch’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, told me that agencies had been asking the company to recommend which publishers to work with, so Blueprint is meant to meet […]

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Google-incubated AdLingo uses chatbot integration to create conversational ads

“Conversational marketing” is a phrase that I hear a lot, but when the team at AdLingo uses it, they mean something specific — namely, bringing chatbots and other conversational assistants into online advertising. The startup is part of Google’s Area 120 incubator, and co-founder and general manager Vic Fatnani said he’s worked on advertising at Google for more than a decade. “One of the things we saw happening was this paradigm shift with users and consumers going towards more of a conversational medium,” he said. “Everything is becoming […]

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Cluep, a Canadian startup that raised just $500K, acquired for $40M

Everyone loves a tale of a bootstrapped startup founder’s journey to an eight-figure exit. The team at Toronto-based Cluep have a good one. The founders of the adtech startup raised less than $500,000 from angel investors before selling their company to Impact Group for $40 million ($53 million CAD) this week. Founded in 2012, Karan Walia, Sobi Walia and Anton Mamonov were just 21, 17 and 16 years old, respectively, when they started the digital advertising platform, which uses artificial intelligence to help brands connect and engage with people based on what they […]

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Deep-linking startup Branch is raising more than $100M at a unicorn valuation

Branch, the deep-linking startup backed by Andy Rubin’s Playground Ventures, will enter the unicorn club with an upcoming funding round. The four-year-old company, which helps brands create links between websites and mobile apps, has authorized the sale of $129 million in Series D shares, according to sources and confirmed by PitchBook, which tracks venture capital deals. The infusion of capital values the company at roughly $1 billion. In an e-mail this morning, Branch CEO Alex Austin declined to comment. The Redwood City-based startup closed a $60 million […]

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Location data platform Factual raises $42M

Factual announced this morning that it has raised $42 million in new funding. The company launched in 2009 and now provides location data to customers like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft. And it’s still adding new capabilities, like the ability for advertisers to measure whether their campaigns drove in-store visits. Founder and CEO Gil Elbaz said that there’s now a big opportunity and a big threat around location data. “The opportunity is, the world is reinventing around AI and data science,” he said. “The threat is […]

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YC-backed Mutiny helps B2B business personalize their website for each visitor

Mutiny, which is part of the current batch of startups at accelerator Y Combinator, helps business-to-business, software-as-a-service companies present a message that’s customized to each visitor on their website. Co-founder and CEO Jaleh Rezaei said this concept is alive and well in the analog world: When she was at VMware, sales reps were given materials to help them tailor their pitch for each prospective customer. Then, when she was one of the early employees at HR services startup Gusto, she tried to do something similar online, only […]

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Openbook is the latest dream of a digital life beyond Facebook

As tech’s social giants wrestle with antisocial demons that appear to be both an emergent property of their platform power, and a consequence of specific leadership and values failures (evident as they publicly fail to enforce even the standards they claim to have), there are still people dreaming of a better way. Of social networking beyond outrage-fuelled adtech giants like Facebook and Twitter. There have been many such attempts to build a ‘better’ social network of course. Most have ended in the deadpool. A few are still around with […]

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Founder Zain Jaffer may be looking to take back control of Vungle

Zain Jaffer may be gearing up for a fight to take back control of Vungle, the mobile ad company he founded. Jaffer was removed from his role as CEO last fall following his arrest on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and performing a lewd act on a child. However, a San Mateo County judge subsequently dismissed the charges. The district attorney’s office released a statement offering more context for the dismissal, saying that they did not believe there was any sexual conduct on the evening in […]

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Blippar is using AR to help customers find their way indoors

Remember the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruz walks through the mall and thousands of holographic ads pop up around him? That reality may not be as far off as we thought. Blippar, the augmented reality startup that launched back in 2011, is today announcing the launch of a new product that would let retailers, airports, commercial real estate owners, etc. place augmented reality content across their space. The product is called the Blippar Visual Positioning System, and it uses computer vision and augmented reality to […]

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Spark Neuro raises $13.5M to measure your emotional response to ads and movies

I’m not immune to compliments, and Spencer Gerrol, founder and CEO of Spark Neuro, offered a real winner as he demonstrated his technology. “I love your brain,” he told me. This was after the startup’s vice president of research Ryan McGarry had strapped sensors to my fingers and head, then showed me an intense movie clip, with my attention level and emotional response displayed on a screen for all to see. That, in miniature, is what Spark Neuro does: It helps companies study the audience response to […]

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