Category Archives: mobile

Yahoo Bought Aviate for $80M according to Techcrunch

Untitled-2As a follow up to my previous story, Techcrunch is reporting that Yahoo purchased the mobile startup Aviate for approximately $80M.

“My source didn’t know any of the details beyond the amount,” Techcrunch Anthony Ha reports, “…that’s an impressive price for a young startup that raised a $1.8 million Series A (from Highland Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and others) less than a year ago. (It was also incubated at StartX.)”

Yahoo is currently declining to comment, but regardless, this falls right in line with Mayer’s acquisition-happy behavior as the new CEO of the portal giant, so it should come to no surprise to anyone.

Mayer’s new hashtag: #swingforthefences.

Yahoo Makes Three Big Ad Moves during CES

In the past two days Yahoo has made three big moves in the advertising tech world: unveiling ‘Yahoo Advertising,’ picking up Aviate to improve their mobile experience, and creating their own new tech hub, ‘Yahoo Tech.’

Yahoo Advertising

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Yesterday at the Yahoo CES keynote, Marissa Mayer announced Yahoo’s new ‘all-in-one’ advertising solution: Yahoo Advertising. While the name isn’t glamorous, it strikes right at the heart of what Yahoo is trying to do: give advertisers “a comprehensive suite of web, mobile, and video ad products across native, audience, and premium display, which are accessible through a new buying platform.” While their ‘elevator’ is something you’d hear in any vendor meeting on the proverbial Madison Avenue, the new platform does bring some sense to Mayer’s recent run of acquisitions.

What is most notable is that the new platform finally gives Tumblr a clear role and purpose at the company, and a clear position for agencies to consider. Until recently, advertisers didn’t quite know how to utilize or even think about Tumblr. Marissa answered at least some of our answers with presenting Tumblr as the social arm of ‘Yahoo Advertising’ where companies will now be able to purchase sponsored posts as part of their overall buy with the purple giant.

See the first blog post for other new features rolling out.

Yahoo Picks Up Aviate:

Aviate PictureYesterday it was Mayer also announced that Yahoo has picked up the mobile company Aviate, which claims to be an “intelligent home screen service.”

While terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, Mayer suggested that Yahoo was looking to use Aviate’s technology to deliver content in ways that are “smarter and more personalized.” Yahoo has had some great success with their recent mobile apps. Yahoo Weather, for example, looks sleek on any smart device and is my personal go-to out of the three weather apps on my phone. Depending on the terms of the deal, this seems to be a smart buy for the company and continues to open up their mobile opportunity for advertisers.

Read more about the Aviate acquisition.

Yahoo Tech: a new Yahoo hub for Tech News

Yahoo Tech logo

Finally, this morning Yahoo launched their new hub for tech news: Yahoo Tech. While Yahoo is jumping into a space that is beyond cluttered, chief editor and “founder” of Yahoo Tech David Pogue claims YT will be a tech site of a different sort, taking the more “human side of tech.”

Pogue’s introduction serves more as a introduction of himself and his take on the current tech editorial space. He clearly states what he is not: he’s not a gearhead, “ If I were, I’d steer you to Engadget, AnandTech or Tom’s Hardware;” he is not a PR person, “I don’t speak that language. You’ll never catch me using terms like ‘price point’ when I mean ‘price,’ or ‘form factor’ when I mean ‘size.’ I’ll never say ‘content’ when I mean video, ‘solution’ when I mean product, ‘DRM’ when I mean copy protection, or ‘functionality’ when I mean ‘feature’;” and he is not a member of the tech clergy: “But honestly—you know what I wish? That the haters and fanboys of each tech religion could gather together in a big school gym and either (a) battle it out, (b) smoke peace pipes, or (c) finally acknowledge that this is a self-esteem issue, not a technological one.”

You can read the blog post yourself, but for me, it reminiscent of the time I sat in on a rural religious service and the minister made fun of people who could translate and interpret the original Latin text of the lesson we were reading. While I don’t think Pogue is going for an anti-intellectual vibe, it does come off as a little abrasive to people who do consider themselves in-line with all things tech. Nevertheless, it’s clear Yahoo is once again aiming for more premium content.

In sum, with a new network, more acquisitions, and more content, Yahoo is moving fast and furiously to make a big comeback and bring in a new era of advertising for the portal. It will be exciting to see how it plays out.

Adstrix raises $550K, wants to throw SMBs a lifeline

“…small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our nation’s promise.” Barack Obama via The Hill.

AdStrix SMB Life Line

Earlier this month, Adstrix raised $550K in seed funding. Adstrix is a cloud based advertising marketplace platform that aims to help media companies leverage their advertising offering for small and mid-sized businesses.

The recent spike in advertising solutions and revenue possibilities has led most 3rd party vendors to go for the bigger brands and larger payday. Consequently, small businesses with tight marketing budgets have been turned off by the larger commitments, but Avi Schneider at Geektime points out that the sum of these SMB parts should not be overlooked. “According to the US Census Bureau,” Schneider notes, “companies with less than 20 employees make up close to 90% of all US employee based businesses. Companies with under 500 workers make up close to 99%. Furthermore, small to midsized firms are responsible for close to 50% of all US non-farm GDP.”

So the SMB advertising market is still untapped; but why? One reason might be that smaller businesses depend on finite local markets, but local advertising is still an elusive and enigmatic science. Up until now, online local advertising companies have functioned much like the yellow pages: put up some sort of value proposition with little context to an uninformed audience, a.k.a. Spray and Pray. Only, it’s far more expensive, and SMBs have caught on. Companies like Supermedia and Dex One who specialize in online local advertising are down nearly 100% since they opened.

Adstrix want’s to change this. According to the company’s interview with Geeknet, Co-Founder Guy Amos not only wants to make the entire media buying process easier and more affordable, he hopes “to create a marketplace for both SMB’s and larger companies that will offer, among the usual online media buying options; recommendations, measurement tools and even offline media purchasing and recommendation possibilities.” Despite the recent digital craze, Adstrix believes offline tactics are still vital to the advertising process, especially for SMBs, but need to be aligned with the goals and measurements of a brand’s digital efforts. Their solution is a holistic, cross-platform engagement package that aligns the objectives and learnings of print, web, and mobile campaigns.

Making an easy, all-in-one platform for small businesses isn’t just a good idea, it’s an inevitable next step. The challenge will be the decentralized and constrained nature of SMBs. If Adstrix can pull all the pieces together, they could have one robust business model going to market.

iBeacon based Roximity receives $1.52M in Partial Close funding

logo-roximity-final-cs3Roximity recently received $1.52M in partial close funding, bringing them to $2.14M in total funding to date. See the SEC filing. Roximity is a Denver startup best known for their mobile app that presents real-time deals. While there has already been a lot of buzz around their app in cars, Roximity is starting to roll out a new iBeacon product that enables merchants to send targeted messages to potential customers via mobile as the customers pass by their stores.

If you don’t know what iBeacon is, it’s worth taking moment to go over this potentially ground breaking step forward in location-based technology created by — you guessed it — Apple. As a new protocol in iOS 7, iBeacon allows a developer to harness the latest Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and enable micro-trigger events in their apps. Essentially, it enables any device with the latest bluetooth technology to transmit or receive messages based on proximity. There have been a few articles that explore iBeacon at greater length (Apple InsiderForbes, Wired), but it’s apparent that the new technology opens up a lot of location-based advertising opportunities.

While iBeacon is technically a new piece of available code, Roximity is one of the handful of companies that is starting to create low-cost gadgets that specifically execute the iBeacon technology and continually beam out a Bluetooth signal, sort of like WiFi. The company claims that these small, wireless devices can be placed anywhere to deliver personalized messages to target customers through an app, SMS, MMS or feature-phone messaging. The device is able to customize the message to particular users based on the mobile data received.

While it’s unclear if the new Roximity messages push only to people that have the Roximity deals app, the hyper-targeting possibilities will be enticing to many merchants and brands looking to increase local foot traffic and sales. Furthermore, with recent growth projections in mobile usage, Roximity presents a new opportunity to advertisers looking to expand their mobile spend.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of the new Roximity beacon: