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Everything posted by NelsonG

  1. Catch sets by Stereolab, Amen Dunes, Snail Mail, and others at various locations around Chicago View the full article
  2. Why is there no app where you can follow party animals, concert snobs, or conference butterflies for their curated suggestions of events? That’s the next phase of social calendar app IRL that’s launching today on iOS to help you make and discuss plans with friends or discover nearby happenings to fill out your schedule. The calendar, a historically dorky utility, seems like a strange way to start the next big social network. Many people, especially teens, either don’t use apps like Google Calendar, keep them professional, or merely input plans made elsewhere. But by baking in an Explore tab of event recommendations and the option to follow curators, headliners, and venues, IRL could make calendars communal like Instagram did to cameras. “There’s Twitter for ‘follow my updates’, there’s Soundcloud for ‘follow my music’, but there’s no ‘follow my events'” IRL CEO Abe Shafi tells me of his plan to turbocharge his calendar app. “They’re arguably the best product that’s been built for organizing what you’re doing but no one has Superhuman’d or Slack’d the calendar. Let’s build a super f*cking dope calendar!” he says with unbridled excitement. He’ll need that passion to persevere as IRL tries to steal a major use case from SMS, messaging apps, and Facebook . Finding a new opportunity for a social network has attracted a new $8 million Series A funding round for IRL led by Goodwater Capital and joined by Founders Fund and Kleiner Perkins. That builds on its $3 million seed from Founders Fund and Floodgate, whose partner Mike Maples is joining IRL’s board. The startup has also pulled in some entertainment and event CEOs as strategic investors including Warner Bros president Greg Silverman, Lionsgate films president Joe Drake, and Classpass CEO Fritz Lanman to help it recruit calendar influencers users can follow. Filling Your Social Calendar In Shafi, investors found a consumate extrovert who can empathize with event-goers. He dropped out of Berkeley to build out his recruitment software startup getTalent before selling it to HR platform Dice where he became VP of product. He started to become disillusioned by tech’s impact on society and almost left the industry before some time at Burning Man rekinkled his fever for events. IRL CEO Abe Shafi Shafi teamed up with PayPal’s first board member Scott Banister and early social network founder Greg Tseng. Shafi’s first attempted Gather pissed off a ton of people with spammy invites in 2017. By 2018, he’d restarted as IRL with a focus on building a minimalist calendar where it was easy to create events and invite friends. Evite and Facebook Events were too heavy for making less formal get-togethers with close friends. He wisely chose to geofence his app and launch state by state to maximize density so people would have more pals to plan with. IRL is now in 14 states with a modest 1.3 million monthly active users and 175,000 dailies, plus 3 million people on the waitlist. “50% of all teens in Texas have downloaded IRL. I wanted to focus on the central states, not Silicon Valley” Shafi explains. Users log in with a phone number or Google, two-way sync their Google Calendar if they have one, and can then manage their existing schedule and create mini-events. The stickiest feature is the ability to group chat with everyone invited so you can hammer out plans. Even users without the app can chime in via text or email. And unlike Facebook where your mom or boss are liable to see your RSVPs, your calendar and what you’re doing on IRL is always private unless you explicitly share it. The problem is that most of this could be handled with SMS and a more popular calendar. That’s why IRL is doubling-down on event discovery through influencers, which you can’t do anywhere else at scale. With the new version of the app launching today, you’ll be recommended performers, locations, and curators to follow. You’ll see their suggestions in the Explore tab that also includes sub-tabs of Nearby and Trending happenings. There’s also a college-specific feed for users that auth in with their school email address. Curators and event companies like TechCrunch can get their own IRL.com/… URL people can follow more easily than some janky list of events of gallery of flyers on their website. Since pretty much every promoter wants more attendees, IRL’s had little resistance to it indexing all the events from Meetup.com and whatever it can find. IRL is concentrating on growth for now, but Shafi believes all the intent data about what people want to do could be valuable for directing people to certain restaurants, bars, theaters, or festivals, though he vows that “we’re never going to sell your data to advertisers.” For now IRL is earning money from affiliate fees when people buy tickets or make reservations. Event affiliate margins are infamously slim, but Shafi says IRL can bargain for higher fees as it gains sway over more people’s calendars. Unfortunately without reams of personal data and leading artificial intelligence that Facebook owns, IRL’s in-house suggestions via the Explore tab can feel pretty haphazard. I saw lots of mediocre happy hours, crafting nights, and community talks that weren’t quite the hip nightlife recommendations I was hoping for, and for now there’s no sorting by category. That’s where Shafi hopes influencers will fill in. And he’s confident that Facebook’s business model discourages it moving deeper into events. “Facebook’s revenue driver is time spent on the app. While meaningful to society, events as a feature is not a primary revenue driver so they don’t get the resources that other features on Facebook get.” Yet the biggest challenge will be rearranging how people organize their lives. A lot of us are too scatterbrained, lazy, or instinctive to make all our plans days or weeks ahead of time and put them on a calendar. The beauty of mobile is that we can communicate on the fly to meet up. “Solving for spontaneity isn’t our focus so far” Shafi admits. But that’s how so much of our social lives come together. My biggest problem isn’t finding events to fill my calendar, but knowing which friends are free now to hang out and attend one with me. There are plenty of calendar, event discovery, and offline hangout apps. IRL will have to prove they deserve to be united. At least Shafi says it’s problem worth trying to solve. “I know for a fact that the product of a calendar will outlive me.” He just wants to make it more social first. View the full article
  3. Jay Toole, a SAGE participant and Stonewall survivor, tells their firsthand story of the Stonewall uprising in 1969. (This video features archival footage throughout the decades, including highlights from “Gay & Proud,” a film by lesbian pioneer Lilli Vincenz, documenting the first-annual pride march. At the time “Gay & Proud” was made, no television networks would distribute it.) Read more... More about Mashable Video, Lgbtq, Stonewall, Pride Month 2019, and CultureView the full article
  4. "'Well, you wouldn't do a third-person shooter because it'd be kind of boring, and it wouldn't let you think like John Wick. You'd have to make something where it's about thinking. So, I guess it's like a strategy game?'" Leaving a movie theater with games producer and friend Ben Andac, indie developer Mike Bithell pitched an off-the-cuff premise for a combat game. It would be a tactical puzzler, possibly turn-based, dedicated to unpacking the marvelous mind of Bithell's favorite on-screen hero, the John Wick. The hypothetical game of "John Wick chess" (as the concept would come to be short-handed) would bottle the mesmerizing complexity of the hero's iconic fighting skills, while examining the in-the-moment thought processes of the man behind the pistol. Read more... More about Keanu Reeves, John Wick, Hex, Strategy Games, and E3 2019 View the full article
  5. TL;DR: The self-emptying Roomba i7+ is $150 off, making it just $949 — its lowest price ever on Amazon. Robot vacuums really spoil you. Once you get used to not having to clean for yourself, even emptying the bin is too hard. How dare it make you get off the couch, am I right? iRobot is clearly totally over that, because the company's next undertaking is creating vacuums with, wait for it, self-emptying dust bins. Retailing at $1,099, the Roomba i7+ is actually the cheapest in the line — but you can save $150 and get it for $949 at Amazon. The i7 was just released in fall 2018, so it's not a surprise that $949 is its lowest price yet on Amazon. Read more... More about Home, Roomba, Cleaning, Robot Vacuums, and Mashable ShoppingView the full article
  6. “And so this is our duty at every moment. To love without compromise and without equivocation.” View the full article
  7. TL;DR: The Nutri Ninja blender with FreshVac removes oxygen from produce to maximize nutrition, and it's on sale for $79.88 at Amazon, saving you $50. Hot weather calls for cold beverages. As summer rolls around, you might find yourself cracking open a cold beer, pouring up some cold brew, pressing fresh juice, or craving a smoothie. Whipping up a smoothie or milkshake always sounds great in theory until you have to lug out your bulky blender. A smaller, personal blender provides a more convenient way to make blended drinks for yourself. Ninja is a brand you can trust when it comes to kitchen appliances and currently, you can buy the Nutri Ninja blender with FreshVac technology on sale for $79.88 — that’s $50 cheaper than its list price and $20 cheaper than you’ll find it on Ninja’s official website. Read more... More about Health, Ninja, Food And Drink, Blender, and Mashable Shopping View the full article
  8. Monzo, the U.K. challenger bank with more than two million customers and a unicorn valuation to go with it, has formally announced its U.S. expansion. The tentative move — which TechCrunch exclusively reported was underway five months ago — will see a U.S. Monzo app and connected Mastercard debit card made available via in-person signups at events to be held soon. The roll-out will initially consists of a few thousand cards, supported by a waitlist in preparation for a wider launch. In a call, Monzo co-founder and CEO Tom Blomfield told me he thinks the key to cracking North America is to create a fully localised version of Monzo based on carefully listening to U.S. users in order to find market-fit. There are obvious and less obvious cultural and technical differences in the way Brits and Americans save, spend and manage their finances and this will require significant product divergence. In other words, Monzo isn’t presuming that specific features of the U.K. offering, which is currently seeing 200,000 people sign up each month, will automatically resonate with customers across the pond. To equally succeed in the U.S., it will be about the details and in a sense the company will need to act like a startup within what is now a scale-up if it is to repeat much of the Monzo playbook. In the U.K., Monzo currently has an NPS score of 80, which Blomfield says is unusually high for a bank. He also tells me 60% of U.K. signups remain long-term active, transacting at once per week. However, as a counterpoint, the percentage of Monzo users that pay their salary into the Monzo account sits at between about 27% and 30% of active users, suggesting that a significant number of Monzo customers aren’t yet using it as their main account. Monzo’s definition of salaried is anyone who deposits at least £1,000 per month by bank transfer. Returning back to America, Monzo says it will develop the U.S. version into a “fully-featured digital account” that can be accessed on your smartphone and will have the ability to extend into various “Monzo and third-party financial services”. Initially, the challenger bank is partnering with an established U.S. bank, but is also working on applying for its own U.S. bank license. As in the U.K., the plan is to build and own as much of its technology stack as possible, which Blomfield says will be needed to give Monzo the agility to serve U.S. customers successfully. To achieve this, Monzo will open an office in L.A., California, chosen “because it isn’t San Francisco,” says Blomfield. He says he was mindful of putting Monzo within the Silicon Valley bubble where rents are not only ridiculously high but product groupthink could be detrimental. Meanwhile, Monzo joins a growing list of London-based B2C fintechs hoping to conquer America. Earlier today, money management app Emma announced that it had launched in the U.S. via a partnership with Plaid. Another example is banking chatbot and app Cleo, which quietly entered the U.S. nine months ago. Added to this, Blomfield has always talked openly about his ambition to bring Monzo to the U.S. Over the years the challenger bank has attracted an array of U.S. investors. They include General Catalyst, Thrive Capital, Goodwater Capital, Stripe, Michael Moritz and Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom. Most recently, TechCrunch reported that Y Combinator is also set to join the company’s cap table. View the full article
  9. TL;DR: The reliable eero home WiFi system will keep your house fully connected at all times, and you can save $80 and get one for just $319 on Amazon. There aren’t many things that are more frustrating than having a weak WiFi signal in your home. While suddenly losing your connection in a Starbucks is one thing, you should never have to go through the torture of watching Netfilx buffer over and over again while you’re sitting in your own damn living room. Instead of putting yourself through that pain, you should invest in a better WiFi system so you can browse, stream, and scroll in peace. Read more... More about Smart Home, Eero, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Solo, and Home Wifi System View the full article
  10. Spell check can't fix all your mistakes. Just ask President Trump. On Twitter Thursday, Trump posted a tweet about meeting the Prince of Wales. Unfortunately and predictably for the president, he confused Wales (the country that's part of the United Kingdom) with whales (the lovable sea mammals). Image: screenshot/twitter Who among us hasn't made the same dumb mistake in front of 61 million followers? Though Trump quickly deleted the tweet, the internet responded even faster with a flurry of memes and *extremely good* jokes. SEE ALSO: Why Trump’s Huawei ban could cripple the company History won't remember Trump's recent visit to Wales, where he was met by hundreds of protesters in Cardiff, the capital. Read more... More about Twitter Reactions, Wales, Whales, President Trump, and CultureView the full article
  11. Lord Jones Royal Oil $100 View Product The Good Truly multi-purpose • can be used both orally and topically • Attractive packaging • High concentration of CBD compared to other products The Bad Expensive • A high-risk purchase if you're not sure about CBD The Bottom Line New to CBD? Skip this one. Already know and love it? Royal Oil could be worth a try. Mashable Score 3.0 Aesthetic 4.0 Easy to use 3.0 Delivers on promise 3.0 Bang for the Buck 2.0 I've been using Lord Jones' new multi-purpose CBD product, Royal Oil, for the past two weeks. Do I like it? Yes. Do I recommend it? God, I don't know. Read more... More about Cbd, Cbd Oil, Product Reviews, Culture, and Web CultureView the full article
  12. A vote for Beto O'Rourke is a vote for shared streaming accounts. When the Democratic presidential candidate visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday night, he revealed that like so many of us, he shares the password to his own Netflix account. After O'Rourke's confession, Colbert questioned if he thought password sharing was theft. O'Rourke replied, "My wife's sister Christina who has our Netflix password is here today so I just want to be candid and honest on this that we are already doing that right now. So, sorry Netflix." An honest man! (At least about streaming passwords.) Read more... More about Netflix, Stephen Colbert, Passwords, Beto O Rourke, and Culture View the full article
  13. On April 22, Samsung officially delayed the launch of its upcoming folding phone, the Galaxy Fold, due to a string of reports from reviewers whose units have malfunctioned. At that time, the company said it would announce a new release date "in the coming weeks." Seven and a half weeks later, the Galaxy Fold still doesn't have an official launch date. To make matters worse, Tom's Guide reports that AT&T has now started canceling pre-orders for the device. SEE ALSO: Samsung stalls on Galaxy Fold’s release date, reports claim The outlet placed a pre-order for the Fold through AT&T, and received a cancellation notice on June 12. "Unfortunately, Samsung delayed the release of the Fold, which means we can't ship your phone and have to cancel your pre-order," the notice said. Read more... More about Samsung, At T, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Tech, and SmartphonesView the full article
  14. Lætitia Tamko has also announced a tour with Angel Olsen behind her Infinite Worlds follow-up View the full article
  15. Emma, the U.K. money management app (now calling itself your “best financial friend”), has launched in the United States and Canada — and is now one of a plethora of London fintechs venturing states-side. Competing banking app Cleo entered the U.S. nine months ago, and challenger bank Monzo is thought to be gearing up to launch across the pond soon, to name just two. Emma says the U.S. launch comes after partnering with Plaid, the U.S.-based fintech that specialises in bank account aggregation. The London startup says that with its U.S. launch, 350 million people will now be able to have access to Emma’s money management features. Described as your “financial friend,” the Emma app connects to your bank accounts (and crypto wallets) to help you budget, track spending and save money. It aims to help you understand things like how much money you have left to spend until your next payday, track and find wasteful subscriptions, and preemptively avoid going into your bank’s overdraft. The PFM-styled app was launched in the U.K. in January 2018 and claims more than 100,000 downloads in just a year “without any marketing spend”. Furthermore, the company says users open the app five times a week, twice a day, and are using it as a “true alternative” to their traditional banking app. View the full article
  16. Check out “Red Door” and “Conversation Piece” View the full article
  17. The world of sex toys for men has more options than ever before. From sex toys for trans men to sex toys designed specifically to satisfy your geekier side, the wide range of options available means there’s truly something for everyone. While it may seem sometimes like male sex toys are getting left out of the current sextech revolution, that’s far from true. Real sex positivity applies to everyone, which is why we’re excited about sex educators and smart companies that are working to buck the stigmas associated with male masturbation and backdoor experimentation. SEE ALSO: The best sex toys for couples in the UK Read more... More about Culture, Sex, Sex Toys, Sex And Relationships, and Shopping Uk View the full article
  18. Spotify is officially rolling out its redesigned experience which puts a greater emphasis on podcasts. The company today announced a new version of its “Your Library” section is being rolled out now to paying subscribers on its Premium plan. Its goal is to make it easier to move between Music and Podcasts and find the podcast shows and episodes you want to hear. The company in May previewed this news with select press while the redesign was in testing. With the update, users will be able to swipe or tap to switch between music and podcasts, while the latter also features three sections for podcast management: Episodes, Downloads, and Shows. The Episodes tab lets you seek out new episodes or resume the podcasts you’re already listening to, picking up where you left off. As you scroll down, you’ll find other newly released episodes from the shows you follow. In other words, the experience prioritizes your in-progress episodes over a strict chronological order. The Downloads tab is where you can manage the episodes you’ve saved for offline listening and the Shows tab is where you can manage the podcasts you follow and check out their prior episodes. The shows are ranked in this section by whichever ones have the newest episodes. Meanwhile, the Music tab has been updated to make it easier to get to the content you want to access. Where before users were presented with a list (Playlists, Stations, Songs, Albums, etc.) to dive into, you’ll now be dropped directly into the Playlist section. To get to the Artists or Albums, you swipe or tap to reach their section. To add an Artist, you still “follow” them as before, and albums you favorite (by tapping the heart) are saved to the Albums section. You can also save all an album’s songs to your “Liked Songs” playlist by tapping the three-dot more menu (…) then choosing “Like all songs.” The redesign places far less emphasis on video content, an earlier focus for the streaming music provider. This year, Spotify has instead doubled down on podcasts, believing in its ability to shift radio advertising over to its app by offering better targeting. It’s been selling its own ads on its original podcasts since mid-2018. However, paid subscriptions still account for the bulk of Spotify’s revenue today — €1,385 million versus just €126 million from advertising in Q1, and subscriptions are growing faster than advertising at 34% vs. 24%, respectively. The company has been ramping up on podcasts across the board, with acquisitions in the market like Gimlet, Parcast, and Anchor as well as investments in original programming and exclusives. Just yesterday, Spotify announced a new personalized playlist that combines music and podcasts, as well. Beyond its podcast focus, Spotify’s redesigned app is much easier to navigate — addressing a concern that some have had with the overall experience. Spotify’s busy interface is often cited by those who opt for Apple Music as one of the reasons they prefer the competitor’s app. To some extent, this is personal preference. But arguably, Spotify has been overdue for an update given its shifting attention. Spotify says the updated design is live today for Premium users. View the full article
  19. Check out the music video for his single “Shockwave” View the full article
  20. Airbnb has debuted a new extension of its growing business in providing travel experiences in addition to temporary housing – it’s called Airbnb Adventures, and it’s effectively a collection of tours and trips lasting between three days and a week that go beyond the usual city walking tour. One such trip, for example, is a wildlife excursion in Kenya that spans three days and centers around a walking trip with a promise to “encounter lions” as well as a campfire learning session, and “bush tea.” The cost is $500 per person, which includes five meals, drinks and two nights’ stay in a tent. To source these ‘Adventures,’ Airbnb is working with local experts and tour companies, and doing so directly rather than working with larger tour providers that can be a one-to-many connection for sourcing like it does with some of its more vanilla Experiences. The direct route is probably necessary for these types of experiences, which have more implications in terms of liability and insurance. The company is also working with a third-party for verifying the certifications that are often required to provide these kinds of activities safely. Airbnb is increasingly investing in ares that complement its core product of short-term peer-to-peer vacation housing rentals, and it debuted Experiences, of which Adventures is a part, in 2016. It’s also recently been reported that the company is exploring streaming media. It’s also expected to go public sometime this year, and recently claimed profitability in its operations. View the full article
  21. Target Circle and TapHeaven have announced that they’re merging into a single company under the Target Circle brand. TapHeaven co-founder and CEO Chris Hoyt, who is becoming chief growth officer at the combined organization, said the two companies have been “trying to solve the same problem” — namely, eliminating many of the inefficiencies in the mobile advertising business. Hoyt said that for Target Circle, that meant trying to “unify this fragmented ecosystem into a single dashboard for contracts, invoices and offers.” And for TapHeaven, that meant a focus on automation, resulting in the launch of what the company calls a “command center” for user acquisition, where advertisers can optimize their ad campaigns “at the source level, by country” while getting high-quality traffic without fraud. The companies are also complement each other geographically — Target Circle is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, while TapHeaven is headquartered in San Francisco. According to Hoyt, they first came across each other because they were talking to the same mobile studio about supporting the launch of a new game, and it became clear they “both had the same vision for our businesses, the same future with a unified dashboard wrapped in automation and machine learning to simplify and help the ecosystem perform for these advertisers.” Target Circle founder and CEO Heiko Hildebrandt will continue to serve as chief executive for the combined companies — in the announcement, he said TapHeaven allows the company to “strengthen and expand its technology in the automation of advertising and fraud prevention and resolution.” Meanwhile, TapHeaven executives Brian Krebs and Jeremy Jones will become CIO and chief of user experience, respectively. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Moving forward, Hoyt said Target Circle will continue to support its existing products while focusing on the new UA Command Center as “the future of our business.” He also suggested that the platform could help advertisers move away from Facebook and Google, allowing them to get the performance they need from other ad networks. “What impact this is going to have on the market is really lifting up the rest of the ecosystem,” he said. “I feel like Facebook and Google have had their day, a little bit … With the serious things that are going on with these companies, advertisers are desperate for the answers to where [else] can they spend their money and diversify their portfolio.” View the full article
  22. AT&T has cancelled early orders for the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Tom’s Guide first reported the cancellation, noting that AT&T said the Galaxy Fold would be available again to order as soon as Samsung announces a new launch date. AT&T is also offer $100 in credit to those whose orders it has cancelled. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was originally scheduled to launch on April 26. However, early reviews indicated that there were issues with the phone, which Samsung initially said was the fault of reviewers. The company eventually decided to postpone the launch and get back to the drawing board. Earlier this week, a Samsung rep told Cnet that it would announce timing on the nearly $2,000 phone “in the coming weeks.” However, AT&T’s move here suggests that it may be a while before the Galaxy Fold resurfaces, if at all. Samsung itself asked customers who pre-ordered to confirm that they still want the device following the review period. On May 24, Best Buy cancelled all pre-orders of the phone. View the full article
  23. Flying taxis are undoubtedly an exciting concept — one that Uber has put a lot of work into making a reality. In order to these electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles to become a reality, they need to have proper batteries, approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, buy-in from cities, public acceptance and, of course, vehicle partners. Uber is aiming to start testing these aircrafts next year, and wants to commercially deploy Uber Air in Los Angeles, Calif., Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco, Texas and Melbourne, Australia in 2023. Right now, the model of Uber Air we may see in the skies will have a pilot on board. The model Uber unveiled at Elevate seats four people and one pilot. [gallery ids="1841841,1841842,1841843,1841851"] But there are a lot of moving parts, and the more moving parts there are means more room for error. Designing the right battery Let’s start with the batteries. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has repeatedly said that these vehicles need to be all-electric. But the batteries are nowhere close to where they need to be, Uber Director of Engineering for Energy Storage Systems Celina Mikolajczak told TechCrunch at Uber’s third annual Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C. this week. Within the battery department alone, there are a lot of pieces to it, Mikolajczak said. “The first thing you want is you want a cell that is capable of achieving the mission, and we’ve been working to try and identify cells that can do this job,” she said. To be clear, the job is to travel up to at least 60 miles on a single charge, with a cruise speed of 150 mph. Mikolajczak is confident that current battery technology can achieve the mission, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. There are challenges around weight, thermal management and safety. View the full article
  24. If you think about it, the basic concept of a toothbrush hasn’t evolved since… forever. Sure, many people have switched to an electric toothbrush, but it remains a stick with a brush at the end. Willo thinks that’s not good enough. The company has developed an oral care device to improve brushing with a focus on plaque. The company says that basic brushing only cleans 42 percent of dental plaque, while electric brushes clean 46 percent of dental plaque. The startup has worked with actual dentists to design its product. It still sounds a bit mysterious as the company isn’t sharing much about the product. The photo is the only image of the product right now. But what we know is that the startup has raised a $7.5 million funding round led by Kleiner Perkins, with Bpifrance and Nest co-founder Matt Rogers also participating. The company has been founded by Hugo de Gentile, Ilan Abehassera and Jean-Marie de Gentile, and it attended The Refiners accelerator program. Now let’s see how it actually works, how much it costs and if people are willing to change everything about the way they brush their teeth. View the full article
  25. Video advertising company VidMob is announcing that it has raised $25 million in Series B funding. When I wrote about VidMob’s seed funding back in 2015, it was focused on building a marketplace that connected marketers and professional video editors. That’s still a component of the VidMob business, said founder and CEO Alex Collmer, but the company has also built a broader platform for video advertising, which it calls the Agile Creative Studio. So Collmer said that with VidMob, not only can marketers find professionals (editors, animators, graphic designers and more) to create their ads, they can also “with a single click, send hundreds and in some cases thousands of custom ads” to VidMob partners like Facebook, Google/YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. The platform analyzes how the different creative elements are affecting the way audiences are responding to an ad and uses this data to make campaigns more effective. The result, Collmer said, is that “the decay curve actually inverts and the ad actually improves over time through this iterative process of creating and learning, creating and learning.” Brands using VidMob include Bayer, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Ikea and Neutrogena, as well as startups like Acorns. In a statement, Joshua Palau, the vice president of media platforms and strategy for Bayer U.S., said the platform has “allowed us to meaningfully improve the ROI on our social video campaigns.” VidMob has now raised more than $45 million in total funding. The round was led by Austin-based BuildGroup, with participation from Acadia Woods, Herington, Interlock Partners, Macanta Investments, the limited partners at Manifest and “brandtech” firm You & Mr Jones. “VidMob solves a really important pain point for brands — how to deliver the volume of content that brands now need for all the different platforms, at the speed and price they need it at,” said You & Mr Jones founder David Jones in a statement. “In the near future all content will be intelligent and driven by data and VidMob has a product that delivers that now.” And, BuildGroup co-founder and CEO Lanham Napier offered a statement praising VidMob for “not only offering up meaningful insights, but also providing the tools and talent to quickly and cost-effectively activate on that intelligence.” “But it’s their vision for the future that gets us most excited,” Napier added. “As the world moves towards more complex forms of communication, the idea of an API for creativity is so powerful that you can see it becoming another foundational service layer of the web.” Collmer expanded on this idea in our interview, suggesting that VidMob could eventually do much more than facilitate video ads on social media platforms. “As the web is moving from text and images to more complex media types — today that’s video, tomorrow it’s augmented reality, who knows what it will be after that — I’m fairly certain the needle is always going to point towards greater complexity,” he said. “That creative friciton becomes a tax on the entire internet. We’re trying to build what I think of as an API for creativity … Today, that friction point is frequently with our platform partners, with the Facebooks and Snaps, but we see it expanding to other areas where you see imagery as the central point of communication.” View the full article
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