Category Archives: Advertising Tech

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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Octi raises $7.5M to create augmented reality that understands human movement

The team at Octi says it’s building a crucial piece of the augmented reality puzzle — the ability to understand the human body and its movement. Co-founder and CEO Justin Fuisz told me that most existing AR technologies (including Apple’s ARKit) tend to be “plane-based” — in other words, while they can make something cool appear against a real-world background, it’s usually on a flat surface, like a table or the floor. Octi, on the other hand, recognizes where people are in-camera, and it can use that […]

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All charges against ex-Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer, including lewd act on a child, dismissed by judge

All charges against former Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer, including a sexual abuse of a child, have been dropped. According to a statement from Jaffer’s representatives, San Mateo County Judge Stephanie Garratt dismissed the charges today. Jaffer was arrested last October and charged with several serious offenses, including a lewd act on one of his children, child abuse and battery on a police officer. The dismissal is confirmed by San Mateo County Superior Court’s online records. The case (number 17NF012415A) had been scheduled to go to jury trial […]

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TrendKite expands its PR analytics platform by acquiring Insightpool and Union Metrics

TrendKite is making its first two acquisitions — according to CEO Erik Huddleston, they give the company “the last two components” needed for a complete PR analytics platform. Until now, TrendKite’s main selling point was the ability to look at the articles written about a company and measure things like the audience reached and the impact on brand awareness. But while that kind of journalistic coverage remains important, Huddleston said, “The world now is more complicated in terms of who has influence on the public.” That’s where Insightpool […]

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Cordial raises $15M for smarter emails and messaging

Cordial, a San Diego startup building what CEO Jeremy Swift described as a “truly next-generation platform” for email marketing, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Swift and his co-founders come from email marketing company BlueHornet/Mapp Digital, which he said gave them the background to see “the market was really screaming: There needs to be a better way.” We’ve written about plenty of other email marketing products. For example, last week I covered Stensul, which focuses on the email creation process. But Swift argued that most […]

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Urban Airship raises another $25M

Urban Airship has raised $25 million in Series F funding. The company started out as a platform supporting push notifications, but has since expanded to include other marketing channels like email, SMS, mobile wallets and voice assistants. The goal is to be the platform managing messaging and unifying customer data across all these channels. Altogether, Urban Airship said it’s now delivered more than two trillion messages, doubling the number from a year ago. Recent product additions include voice notifications on Amazon Alexa (which is still in beta […]

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Stensul raises $7M to make email creation easier for marketers

Email marketing startup Stensul is announcing that it has raised $7 million. Stensul spun out of founder and CEO Noah Dinkin’s previous company FanBridge. Dinkin explained via email that the startup isn’t competing with the big email service providers — in fact, it integrates with ESPs including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Adobe Marketing Cloud and Marketo. Dinkin said that while ESPs include email creation tools, most companies ignore them. Instead, the marketer has to work with specialists like designers, developer and agencies: “That process often […]

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