Tag Archives: Into

Investors pour $2 million more into booze marketplace Drizly

DrizlyDelivery Boston-based Drizly used to be known as the on-demand delivery app for alcohol. More recently, the company evolved into a marketplace that helps brick-and-mortar liquor stores to connect with and sell to customers nearby through web and mobile commerce. The Drizly app shows shoppers different prices on the beer, wine and liquor that they’re looking for at local shops, along with… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Samsung is reportedly cramming Sony batteries into the Galaxy S8

Following the string of fire-catching disasters Samsung suffered last year, the South Korean heavyweight wants to avoid another Note 7 fiasco at all costs – which is why the company is outsourcing the battery production for its upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship to a variety of manufacturers.   via CNET

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The Next Web

This bezel-less smartphone is a glimpse into the future of mobile screens

At first glances, Apple’s iPhone 7 is virtually identical to the previous model. You could be forgiven for wondering what’s next for smartphone design. This might give you an idea. Sharp has recently shown off their latest display technology innovation, and it looks extremely cool. It’s called the Corner R, and this is what it looks like. The rounded edges on the top of the screen are made possible by Sharp’s Free-Form Display technology that enables it to create screens in more shapes than just rectangles. The result is a smartphone that feels like you’re holding only a screen in your hand — which…

This story continues at The Next Web

The Next Web

Enterprise elearning platform OpenSesame raises $9 million, says it will expand into VR training

Illustration: The Time Gate opened. The outsider stopped his car and walked towards it.

On-demand elearning startup OpenSesame has raised $ 9 million in a funding round led by Altos Ventures, with participation from existing investor Partech Ventures.

Founded in 2002, OpenSesame offers more than 20,000 courses aimed at enterprises, covering everything from accounting and customer service to I.T. certification and conflict resolution.

The company had raised around $ 10 million prior to this and says that its latest funding will be used to expedite its sales and marketing initiatives, while also allowing it to expand into new training technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

As OpenSesame plans to branch out into high-tech training mediums, fellow online learning startup Udacity only yesterday announced a new VR Developer nanodegree in partnership with Google, HTC, and others. So it’s clear that there is a growing push to not only harness the burgeoning VR technology but to also ensure that there is enough coding talent behind the scenes.

The corporate elearning market was said to be worth $ 12 billion in the U.S. alone in 2015 and could hit $ 31 billion globally by 2020. And this could explain why online education company Coursera revealed less than a month ago that it was branching out to target businesses, specifically.

“OpenSesame has experienced tremendous growth in the last two years, because leading organizations understand that simple and effective online training gives them a competitive advantage,” said OpenSesame CEO Don Spear.

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Deals – VentureBeat

Vertebrae exits stealth and secures $10 million to bring advertising technology into VR worlds


With everyone seemingly keeping a close pair of eyes on the potential size of the virtual reality marketplace, discussions on how marketing, advertising, and promotion will look in this new immersive space are somewhat overlooked.

To move that agenda forward, Vertebrae has emerged from stealth today with the launch of the first native virtual reality (VR) advertising platform. The company has also announced $ 10 million in Series A funding.

Vertebrae’s remit is a simple one, even if the technology and marketplace it is looking to augment is not — enable monetization for content publishers within virtual reality experiences on all platforms. Importantly, Vertebrae is headset-agnostic, with a strong focus on ad tech.

So why is now the right time to come out of stealth, raise these funds, and go after the VR advertising marketplace?

“Vertebrae was founded in 2015, and we spent the last twelve months driving technology development and understanding the evolving VR needs of publishers and brands,” Vincent Cacace, Vertebrae CEO and founder, told me. “We focused on collaborating with beta partners during this formative time so that our tech solution is relevant, additive, and scalable as adoption of the medium grows. We also have invested a lot of time with the IAB Tech Lab, as a founding member of the VR/AR ad standards board, to define the formats and measurement tools which will set the foundation for the industry.”

But Cacace also understands that while the mission is simple, the reality is not.

“What we realized is that one thing is constant in this much-hyped industry,” Cacace said. “Making VR content is expensive. Adoption of the medium will require great content, and our goal is to connect brands and publishers so that VR truly becomes accessible to all users.”

The platform itself has been in use, in private beta, for some time, attracting entertainment studios, games companies, creative agencies, and brands. The solution has been delivering everything from native ad insertions to fully interactive, immersive ad formats. In fact, in collaboration with Lion’s Gate, Vertebrae provided the technology that adds the world-first VR teaser trailer for the new Blair Witch movie to the existing Sisters app, developed by Otherworld Interactive.

The financing will support several business functions, including talent acquisition and product development. The Vertebrae team consists of media, gaming, ad tech, and brand marketing professionals, with backgrounds at companies such as Oculus, Google (YouTube), Activision, Facebook, and Twitter.

The future for Vertebrae includes adding its technology to both mixed and augmented reality solutions, and establishing a central repository for VR advertising. It is currently developing relationships with data management platforms (DMPs) and demand-side platforms (DSPs) to ensure VR audience data and ad targeting work in harmony.

“The big picture here is very bright,” Cacace said. “Creators, developers, and publishers need an effective way to monetize VR content outside of, or in addition to, a transactional model. Simultaneously, VR is an incredible new medium for advertisers, due to its immersive nature and the feeling of presence. Vertebrae serves as the conduit that connects the two, at scale. We see a model of intensely creative and compelling ads supporting great VR content as a mechanism to drive the ecosystem forward.”

Of course, VR comes in all shapes and sizes, from Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR headsets that use smartphones to deliver the experience through to the “premium” experiences offered by the likes of Sony’s PS VR, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and HTC’s Vive.

“Though our technology is headset agnostic, we are more focused on the mobile VR market at the moment,” Cacace said. “Platforms such as Sony, Oculus, and Vive are reminiscent of the traditional game console market where a consumer pays a lot of money for a console and each individual title. Therefore, they generally do not expect to see advertising. Conversely, we see the mobile VR market as a larger opportunity, due to the more casual nature of the content and the wider demographic of users.”

Of course, just as most marketers will rejoice at the launch of a VR advertising technology platform, consumers may have the opposite reaction. Publicity and marketing in VR, MR, and AR is inevitable, but how will we deliver great, immersive, brand-sponsored experiences without turning the VR user off?

“The VR industry has a responsibility to respect the consumer because we hold their undivided attention,” Cacace said. “With the Vertebrae platform, publishers decide where and when ads get seen — whether that’s natively within the content, or as a companion before or after. The ads should be contextual to the content and the audience. Advertisers need to have compelling and engaging ads, and if they do, the prize for winning is high brand affinity and engagement. We see VR as a medium where the advertising can be as compelling as the content.”

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Deals – VentureBeat

LinkedIn shifts into video, starts by letting influencers post 30-second clips


LinkedIn has decided to shift into the video space with the release of a standalone iOS app called Record that lets you use 30-second video clips to respond to curated topics established by LinkedIn’s editorial team or start your own. This offering is being made available to LinkedIn’s 500 influencers, to start, but it could gradually expand to more users.

“In addition to LinkedIn being a place to look for your next job, it’s a place to find information,” said senior product manager Jasper Sherman-Presser. He shared that the company has been investing pretty heavily in this idea, harnessing professional knowledge and helping users build a reputation around sharing things they’re interested in. The introduction of videos is another step in that direction, allowing people to share something “lightweight and easy so you’re not sitting down to type out a 1,000-word post.”

Using LinkedIn Record, influencers can cycle through topics that may be of interest, such as education policies, technology needs, artificial intelligence, or even tips for how to avoid pitfalls when pitching to venture capitalists. Then, with the app, they’ll record their thoughts on the topic, just like on Snapchat, but without the ephemerality or filters. Once a clip is done, it can be shared with LinkedIn followers.

LinkedIn Record mobile app

Videos can be shared with others, but can’t be embedded at this time, although that’s something that’s on the roadmap. Threaded replies are not supported either, meaning that influencer clips can’t be associated with one another.

If you aren’t a designated “influencer,” you will still be able to view videos from influencers that you follow right on your LinkedIn feed on the web and on mobile. What’s more, after watching the clip, you’ll be shown other related influencer-created clips about that topic. “It’s like diving into a multiple-minute panel,” as Sherman-Presser described it.

Developing a native video offering is new for LinkedIn — it has displayed video but only through Lynda.com tutorials that it picked up through an acquisition. LinkedIn explained that after a few years focused on growing its publishing platform through its acquisition of Pulse and launching an influencer program, it was time to add video into the mix.

“We’ve been kind of testing this very quietly with our influencer base, and have seen a ton of repeat usage,” Sherman-Presser shared. “For members, being able to every day come to LinkedIn and hear from people they respect at the top of their game and sharing a glimpse of their world is a success for LinkedIn.”

With all the other services that have already adopted video capabilities, to say LinkedIn is behind the curve is an understatement. Facebook and Twitter, for example, have both invested heavily in the space. Does LinkedIn plan on diving into livestreaming, just like Periscope and Facebook Live? It is in the back of the team’s mind, admits Sherman-Presser, but right now “our focus is about helping members be productive and successful…Whatever we do has to fit into how members use the product.”

LinkedIn Record is currently only available on iOS. Influencers have to use the app to post video clips — you won’t be able to use any ordinary webcam.

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Social – VentureBeat

Understanding these emojis will turn you into a Snapchat pro


One of Snapchat’s many quirks is the list of emojis it seems to randomly place next to your friends’ names.

You know, these:



It turns out that these emojis, which range from baby face to grimace, aren’t random at all. They can actually tell you a lot about your relationships on Snapchat.

Here’s what they mean:

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.

AI. Messaging. Bots. Arm yourself for the next paradigm shift at MobileBeat 2016. July 12-13 at The Village in San Francisco. Reserve your place here.

Social – VentureBeat