Author: Anthony Ha

Co-founder Brian Fenty becomes CEO at TodayTix

TECHCRUNCH There’s a new CEO at TodayTix, though he’s definitely not new to the company — Chairman Brian Fenty is becoming chief executive, while his co-founder (and the previous CEO) Merritt Baer is becoming the Head of Europe. TodayTix sells theater tickets in cities across the United States (including New York, Chicago and San Francisco), but its European presence is currently limited to London. Fenty said there’s “a huge opportunity to go to some of the arts capitals of Europe — Paris, Hamburg, Vienna.” “Who better to lead that charge than my partner in crime?” he added. “This is...

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HubSpot acquires chatbot builder Motion AI

TECHCRUNCH HubSpot announced this morning that it has acquired chatbot startup Motion AI. Motion AI launched in 2015 and offers an editor for building chatbots that work on websites, Facebook Messenger, SMS and Slack, no coding required. Even before the acquisition, the tool was already integrated into HubSpot Free CRM. The entire Motion AI team, including founder and CEO David Nelson, will be joining HubSpot. The companies also said they’ll be sharing more details about the integration plans at HubSpot’s Inbound conference next week. “It’s impossible to ignore the impact of chat and messaging, not just on the way B2B companies operate, but on society as a whole,” said HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan said in the acquisition announcement. “We’re in the midst of a massive shift as businesses embrace this new platform and consumers come to expect more immediate, always-on communication from brands.” HubSpot (which acquired sales AI startup Kemvi few months ago) isn’t sharing the financial terms of the deal. Motion AI has raised funding from Charge Ventures, Crush Ventures and others. Featured Image: Bryce...

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Former AOL exec Seth Demsey joins Revcontent as an advisor

TECHCRUNCH As content recommendation company Revcontent plans to unveil new tools for online publishers, it’s also working with former AOL Platforms CTO Seth Demsey to develop its broader strategy. Demsey left his role running adtech at AOL (which owns TechCrunch) over the summer, right before AOL-owner Verizon closed its acquisition of Yahoo. He told me that when he was introduced to Revcontent CEO John Lemp, he discovered they were “extremely ideologically aligned around what we think is the value of the Internet” — specifically, in giving publishers a distribution and business model beyond platforms like Facebook. While Demsey’s official...

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Meet the six finalists at the Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield

TECHCRUNCH We’ve just watched 22 startups take the stage as part of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF, where they showed off their technology and answered tough questions from expert judges. We’ve winnowed them down to the following six finalists, who will be presenting for a whole new panel of judges. At the end of the day, one of them will take home the Battlefield Cup and $50,000. Tune in tomorrow at 2pm Pacific to watch the finals. Augmedics Augmedics is an Israeli startup working on augmented reality headsets for surgeons performing spinal surgery. Instead of making you look...

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Agent AI aims to turbocharge its AI tools by offering free CRM

TECHCRUNCH Agent AI is looking to automate more of the customer service process. To do that, it’s built its own customer relationship management product, as well as AI tools that sit on top — and now it’s making the CRM part available for free. While giant software businesses have been built around CRM, CEO Fred Hsu said the market has changed, with the software becoming less differentiated and more commoditized. He’s not saying that Agent AI’s CRM software — which allows businesses to save customer data, manage different communication channels and visualize customer interactions — isn’t good. But in...

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Index is a clean, colorful app for organizing your ideas and digital content

TECHCRUNCH The makers of Index are hoping they’ve created the only app you’ll need to access all your files, notes and links. “We’re giving people a full control panel for the digital world,” founder Brian Cox told me. Cox said he actually developed Index for his own personal use five years ago. And while he would occasionally give friends a copy, he was too busy developing apps for other companies (through his Sierra Space Agency) to do anything more. Finally, a few months ago, Cox and the rest of the agency decided to turn Index into a real consumer...

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Video advertising took a big leap in Q2, according to Smaato

TECHCRUNCH Video was the fastest-growing ad format in recent months, according to a new report from mobile ad company Smaato. Smaato says it examined the more than 1.5 trillion ad impressions that it served in the second quarter of 2017 and found that video ad spending was up 142 percent from Q1. And that’s after Q1 represented a 14 percent increase from the final quarter of last year. (Q4 tends to be the biggest period for ad spending.) Native advertising, meanwhile, grew 50 percent quarter-over-quarter. The most popular ad format for video was full-screen interstitials, Smaato says. The report...

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale wins Hulu its first Emmy Awards, including Best Drama

TECHCRUNCH Hulu’s science fiction series The Handmaid’s Tale won big tonight at the Primetime Emmy Awards, where it took home the awards for drama series, actress in a drama series (Elisabeth Moss), writing in a drama series (Bruce Miller), directing in a drama series (Reed Morano) and supporting actress in a drama series (Ann Dowd). The show tells the story of Offred (played by Moss), a woman struggling to survive in a fundamentalist, misogynist future, a future that seems depressingly relevant. The Handmaid’s Tale was created by Miller, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, and seems to be the...

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