Author: Anthony Ha

Meet the 14 startups in Techstars NYC’s winter class

The entrepreneurs in the TechStars NYC program are going to spend today meeting with investors, reporters and other folks from the tech industry — but luckily, I had a chance to do rapid-fire interviews with most of them on Tuesday. Though Techstars may be increasingly known for the industry-focused startup accelerators it creates with companies like Comcast and Target, it still runs broader “city programs” — including Techstars NYC, which this winter included startups working on everything from display technology to disappearing tattoos. Ten-minute interviews aren’t exactly enough time to make me an expert in any of these subject...

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The company behind Adblock Plus is acquiring micropayment service Flattr

Eyeo, the parent company behind AdBlock Plus, announced this morning that it has acquired Flattr. The two companies were already working together on a project initially called Flattr Plus, where users can allocate a monthly payment to online publishers. The money is then distributed based on users’ engagement with different sites and articles. This sounded pretty similar to what Flattr was already doing, except that users didn’t have to hit a button to “Flattr” a website. In fact, this is now being pitched as an overhauled, “zero-click” version of the main Flattr product, and you can sign up for...

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Time Inc. is launching its own influencer marketing network with help from Speakr

Time Inc. is getting into the influencer marketing business in a bigger way, with a new offering called Time Inc. Connect. This influencer network will be “powered by” startup Speakr — as explained to me by Time Inc’s senior vice president of digital business development and business operations Regina Buckley, this means Time Inc. Connect will combine Speakr’s technology with a unique pool of influencers. “Why we chose Speaker is because they’re really smart about the way they approach and use their analytics on behalf of marketers,” Buckley said. “They have an edge there in their space, and they give...

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I have a lot of feelings about the new ‘Ghost in the Shell’ movie

Will you enjoy the new version of Ghost in the Shell? Depends on what you want when you go to the movies. If, like me, you’re mostly hoping to see something new, well, you’re in for a treat: This is one of the best-looking science fiction films in years. Yes, many of the shots were clearly inspired by the Japanese film, but director Rupert Sanders and his team have translated those animated visuals into a lovingly detailed mix of live action and CGI. And while this new Ghost in the Shell certainly draws from its manga and anime predecessors, it seems even more inspired by...

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Nuzzel launches a ‘Newswire’ for sponsored content

For the first time, news aggregator Nuzzel will include advertising. That doesn’t mean you’re going to see banner ads popping up all over the startup’s app and website. Instead, the Nuzzel Newswire consists of sponsored links in Nuzzel’s email newsletter, pointing to a blog post, press release or news article of the advertiser’s choosing. So why call it a “newswire” when it’s really just sponsored content? Nuzzel founder and CEO Jonathan Abrams told me he’s pitching this as an alternative to paying for press release distribution through a service like PRNewswire, where he said “probably few people will really read” it....

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The Deck ad network is shutting down

The Deck, an ad network whose funding members included Daring Fireball, Kottke and Waxy, announced today that it’s shutting down. As a simple, clean ad network focused on independent websites, The Deck  may have seemed like a bit of a throwback — and indeed, in his blog post announcing the shutdown, founder Jim Coudal tied the network’s fate to broader changes in the online ad landscape: Things change. In 2014, display advertisers started concentrating on large, walled, social networks. The indie “blogosphere” was disappearing. Mobile impressions, which produce significantly fewer clicks and engagements, began to really dominate the market. Invasive...

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AdSemble launches a self-serve platform for buying digital billboard ads

AdSemble has launched a new way for businesses to buy ads on digital billboards. To use the company’s new Open Display product, advertisers just set their weekly budget, choose the region where they want their ad to be displayed and upload their creative assets. Then AdSemble will automatically serve the ad to different billboards across its network, optimized to deliver the most impressions for your budget. Open Display also includes a performance report showing where the ads are being displayed, with photographic evidence. If you come from the world of online advertising, this might just sound like the ad-buying should work, rather than something special. But that’s kind of the point: AdSemble has been trying to simplify the often complicated process of buying billboard ads. (It launched a self-serve product for the billboard owners last year.) In fact, when I first wrote about the company in 2013, founder and CEO Matthew Olivieri told me his goal was to build a “self-service, AdWords-style marketplace” — but the industry wasn’t ready yet. Perhaps it is now. Open Display is currently available to advertisers in San Francisco, with plans to add  Chicago, New York and Los Angeles by the end of the year. Also, the first 100 advertisers to sign up with the code “techcrunch” will get a $50 credit on their account. Featured Image: MK Feeney/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.0...

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This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will include a video game festival, too

New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival is getting a sister event — this year, it will see kickoff of the very first Tribeca Games Festival. The event is being launched in partnership with gaming publication Kill Screen and will take place on April 28 and 29 (during the film festival). There will be keynote interviews with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, BioShock director Ken Levine and Max Payne creator Sam Lake. The games festival will also include “X Post Conversations” pairing up creators from inside and outside the game world, “Retro Active” events discussing games from 2016 and even...

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