Author: Anthony Ha

Mobile advertising startup Databerries raises $16M

Databerries is announcing that it has raised $16 million in Series A funding — money that will help the Paris-headquartered company launch in the United States. The startup describes its approach as “real life targeting.” It works with brick-and-mortar retailers to direct their ads at consumers who have been to their store or a competitor’s store, then allows those retailers to measure when their ads actually result in store visits. The platform was first launched in December 2015, and the company says it works with more than 100 businesses, including Toys R Us and McDonalds. The new funding was led by Index Ventures, with participation from ISAI, Mosaic Ventures,...

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The League adds read receipts, so paid members can confirm when someone is really ghosting them

The League, a dating app that users have to apply to join, has a new feature that could help with one of the most agonizing parts of the online dating process — wondering if someone’s deliberately ignoring you or if they just haven’t opened the app in a while. Specifically, The League is importing an idea from other messaging services — read receipts, which tell you if someone has read your messages. I’m not a big fan of read receipts in most contexts, but I can see the appeal here. They won’t tell you why someone suddenly decided that they don’t want to talk to you anymore, but at least you’ll know when that’s what actually happened. (Free advice: When this happens, do not send an indignant message asking for an explanation.) In fact, The League says this was the single most requested feature among members of its pilot paid membership program. And yes, this is a feature that you’ll have to pay for — nonpaying users (like me) will see a “check read status” button in their conversations, but tapping on it just takes you to a page where you can sign up for a paid membership. A League membership costs $179.99 for a year and includes features like profile feedback and access to more potential matches. “Our goal is to build out a valuable membership program that works for the super busy,...

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Arthena uses data science to find the best investments in art

We all have our opinions about art (even if that opinion is just I don’t get it) — but what about art as an investment? Arthena, which is part of the current batch of startups at Y Combinator, says it can help investors make money reliably from art. Founder and CEO Madelaine D’Angelo said Arthena first launched as an equity crowdfunding platform for purchasing art. More recently, it’s added financial tools to create “accommodate that quantitative strategy for the art market.” Specifically, Arthena looks at factors like a work’s artist, their career and the year of creation, then combines that with analysis of art auction results to predict a piece’s likely risk and return on investment. This analysis allows investors to put money into different Arthena funds based on their risk tolerance. D’Angelo said Arthena built these tools out of necessity, because wealth managers and other big investors were interested in participating — but first, Arthena needed to provide “the same level of analysis as hedge funds.” D’Angelo acknowledged that the art world might be skeptical of Arthena’s numbers-based approach, but she said the company will always have “a human in the loop to help finalize these decisions.” She also said that her goal isn’t to cheapen the work of art buyers or artists, but rather to “add volume to the market.” “Collecting and investing are two completely separate activities,” she said. “It’s very hard...

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Mobile ad company Appodeal acquires game platform Corona Labs

Appodeal is announcing that it has acquired Corona Labs, creators of the Corona SDK for building cross-platform games and apps. The companies say the framework has been used to build more than 10,000 games including The Lost City by Fire Maple Games and HoPiKo by Laser Dog. Appodeal, meanwhile, is a mobile ad mediation company — in other words, it helps app developers manage multiple ad networks. As a result of the deal, Appodeal says the enterprise version of the Corona framework will be made available for free (other versions were already free), and that the framework will also become open source. At the same time, developers building on Corona won’t be limited to Appodeal — they’ll still be able to use any monetization platform that was previously supported, with the Corona team working to build even more ad partnerships. “We decided to make even more of the Corona platform free because we believe that there should be more opportunities to develop mobile games of high quality on the market,” said Appodeal founder and CEO Pavel Golubev in the acquisition release. “Additionally, Corona will gradually be transformed into an open-source framework with the first components released as open-source soon after the acquisition formalities are complete.” Corona Labs has had a rather complicated history. Founded as Ansca Mobile in 2008, it was first acquired by Fuse Powered, then by Perk.com, whose co-founder Roj Niyogi bought Corona when he...

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Campaign Monitor acquires Tagga to boost email marketing with customer data

Email marketing company Campaign Monitor is announcing that it has acquired Tagga. Founded in 2008, Tagga is a customer data platform, which means businesses can use it to combine user data from different source and create different segments to target with marketing campaigns. Campaign Monitor CEO Alex Bard said that as personalization becomes a key part of email marketing, platforms like Tagga will play a bigger role. In particular, he sees a big opportunity to plug customer data platforms into the systems that actually manage email marketing campaigns — like Campaign Monitor. “The opportunity that we saw in this market … was to take system of intelligence and marry it with a system of engagement,” Bard said. “We want to bring those two together in a really seamless experience, actually have a next-gen CRM system capturing data, creating dynamic profiles informing hyper-segmentation, using that to deliver something hyper-personalized to the right user at the right time and ultimately giving you feedback on what the result of that was.” In fact, Bard said Campaign Monitor and Tagga were already collaborating before the acquisition, although they will continue working to deepen the integration between the two products. At the same time, he said Campaign Monitor customers will still be able to work with other data platforms: “For us, whatever data our customers want to use, and wherever that data lives, we...

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Campaign Monitor acquires Tagga to boost email marketing with customer data

Email marketing company Campaign Monitor is announcing that it has acquired Tagga. Founded in 2008, Tagga is a customer data platform, which means businesses can use it to combine user data from different source and create different segments to target with marketing campaigns. Campaign Monitor CEO Alex Bard said that as personalization becomes a key part of email marketing, platforms like Tagga will play a bigger role. In particular, he sees a big opportunity to plug customer data platforms into the systems that actually manage email marketing campaigns — like Campaign Monitor. “The opportunity that we saw in this market … was to take system of intelligence and marry it with a system of engagement,” Bard said. “We want to bring those two together in a really seamless experience, actually have a next-gen CRM system capturing data, creating dynamic profiles informing hyper-segmentation, using that to deliver something hyper-personalized to the right user at the right time and ultimately giving you feedback on what the result of that was.” In fact, Bard said Campaign Monitor and Tagga were already collaborating before the acquisition, although they will continue working to deepen the integration between the two products. At the same time, he said Campaign Monitor customers will still be able to work with other data platforms: “For us, whatever data our customers want to use, and wherever that data lives, we...

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LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman joins Microsoft’s board

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman announced today that he’s joined the board of directors at Microsoft. This follows Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn last year. When the deal closed, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said the company’s day-to-day operations would “essentially remain unchanged,” but he also noted a number of areas (like integrating LinkedIn into Microsoft Outlook and Office products) where the two organizations would work together. In a LinkedIn post, Hoffman said his primary job is still as a partner at Greylock, but he’s “maintained an office next to Jeff Weiner’s at LinkedIn for the last nine years” — so he’s remained very involved. (Officially, he was chairman of the LinkedIn board.) As a Microsoft board member, Hoffman said his focus will remain on LinkedIn itself, while also working to help Microsoft build more connections in Silicon Valley. “And following the combination with Microsoft, LinkedIn now has new resources and technology assets to deploy as it moves forward,” he wrote. “Imagine a Cortana-like intelligent assistant helping you determine which third-degree connections make the most sense for you to pursue. Or LinkedIn Learning courseware that incorporates Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality technology for more immersive learning experiences.” Microsoft also named LinkedIn’s Kevin Scott as its chief technology officer earlier this...

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