Advertising company Sharethrough announced today that it’s moving into Europe with the acquisition of a London-based company called VAN.
The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Sharethrough’s head of communications Thomas Channick told me via email that the VAN team will form “the core” of European operations, although the company plans to double the… Read More
Square is on a mission to diversify, and it’s turning to the red-hot food delivery industry to do so.
The payments company run by CEO Jack Dorsey plans to announce this week that it has acquired San Francisco-based Caviar, according to a person familiar with the deal. Caviar runs a service that lets consumers order meals to be delivered to their homes or offices from restaurants that don’t normally offer delivery.
Caviar will receive only Square stock in the transaction, this person said. The New York Times reported on Friday that the deal, which was first reported by TechCrunch, will be valued at $90 million.
A Square spokesman and Caviar CEO Jason Wang declined to comment.
A move into delivery by most payments processing companies would be a head-scratcher. But it could make sense for a company in Square’s position. It has been furiously expanding the menu of services it offers over the last few months as it attempts to add new revenue streams that would help justify its $5 billion valuation.
Among the new products are a merchant cash advance program called Square Capital, a customer survey product called Square Feedback and a food pickup app called Square Order, which replaced the failed Square Wallet. The question remains whether Square is betting on the right new products and services or grasping at straws. In the world of food delivery, Caviar faces fierce competition from companies such as DoorDash with similar propositions as well as traditional delivery companies such as GrubHub.
With Caviar on board, Square could in theory offer the delivery service to restaurants and cafes that already run on its payments system, in a package deal or a la carte. It’s not clear what percentage of its customer base are restaurants and cafes. The company could also give restaurants and cafes that already work with Caviar a discount to start processing payments through Square.
On the consumer side, Caviar could eventually be integrated into Square Order, so customers could browse pickup and delivery options in their area from the same app. (Caviar hasn’t yet released its own app, which it has been able to get away with since about 50 percent of orders come from businesses for office meals.)
In the interim, Caviar gives Square an immediate delivery presence in around 10 U.S. cities. Its restaurant customers include big-city staples such as Momofuku in Manhattan and Nick’s Crispy Tacos in San Francisco.
The company charges customers $9.99 per delivery, though it recently told Re/code it would soon be dropping the fee to $4.99. Caviar takes anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of the bill as its cut from the restaurant. It has 70 employees, not including the independent contractors it pays $15 per order to pick up and deliver the food. Wang recently told Re/code that the company turned a profit three months after launch, but has since slipped into the red as it spends cash to accelerate growth.
It has raised $15 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global. Perhaps its best-known competitor, DoorDash, recently announced a $17 million investment led by Sequoia Capital.
Additional reporting by Liz Gannes.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — It is not uncommon for a veteran player to ease his way into the Spring Training routine. Nick Swisher took that approach in the early days of camp this year, but the Indians first baseman was back on the field Sunday afternoon.
For his Cactus League debut, Swisher was slotted into the second spot of the lineup for the Indians, providing an early look into how he might be used this season. Swisher said he was thrilled to be back in the order as Cleveland begins its quest to build on last summer’s run to the postseason.
“It was nice to get out there, man,” Swisher said, “just to be out there with the guys and playing. We’re super early in Spring Training now, but just to be able to get out there, get a few hacks, it felt good.”
Swisher went 0-for-3 in his three plate appearances for the Tribe, but he did strike the first blow within a three-run outburst in the fifth inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Swisher chopped into a fielder’s choice, but Yan Gomes scored from third base to put Cleveland on the board.
Cleveland played its first three games of the spring without Swisher, who asked manager Terry Francona to keep him off the field for a handful of contests to start the preseason. Swisher took that approach due to feeling that he pushed things too hard too early in the schedule last year, when he joined the Indians after signing a four-year, $56-million contract.
Swisher felt that too much was made this past week over the fact that he took the first few games off.
“In February? It’s not a big deal,” Swisher said. “I just said, ‘Hey, man, let’s give myself a week to get into Spring Training and then start playing some games.’ I don’t know, man. I think you guys are looking way too into it. Go to some other clubs and see how they do it.”
In 146 games for Cleveland last season, the 33-year-old Swisher hit .246 with 22 home runs, 27 doubles and 63 RBIs. At various points throughout the year, Swisher dealt with a left shoulder issue, which had its roots in Spring Training.
London-based Spider.io has been acquired by Google, the company’s DoubleClick advertising blog announced today (via Re/Code). Spider.io is a startup that specialized in weeding out fraudulent clicks around online ads. The three-year old company has tech that will help Google identify bad behavior around their content in video and display ads on the web, to help them get a more accurate picture of what is and isn’t succeeding.
From Google’s official blogpost on the deal:
Advertising helps fund the digital world we love today — inspiring videos, informative websites, entertaining apps and services that connect us with friends around the world. But this vibrant ecosystem only flourishes if marketers can buy media online with the confidence that their ads are reaching real people, that results they see are based on actual interest. To grow the pie for everyone, we need to take head on the issue of online fraud.
Google isn’t revealing the terms of the deal, but the small London company is only seven strong, and this is a fairly specialized niche product so it’s unlikely to have been a huge exit. Still, the Spider.io team brings some impressive talent to Google’s ranks, including three PhDs and a an ex-Yahoo natural language processing and artificial intelligence expert.
Spider.io’s tech is designed specifically to detect attacks originating from PCs infected by malware. Often these hijacked computers are programmed by their attackers to place a high volume of ad requests, thus skewing the numbers and defrauding online advertisers out of millions of dollars. An FT article from last year revealed that one botnet last year managed to falsify billions of web-based ad clicks, sometimes accounting for as much as two-thirds of the sum total of visits to some websites.
KARACHI: The Karachi police chief has submitted a report of his department’s performance to the Supreme Court, showing a decline in street crime rate in the metropolis and a surge in extortion. The report was submitted to a Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice Of Pakistan hearing Karachi law and order case on Wednesday. According to the report, a copy of which is available with Geo News, 601 wanted criminals including 213 proclaimed offenders were arrested since September last year. The report further said that 5746 policemen were performing duties with VIPs. Besides giving details about number of criminals held by the police, the report said a recent increase in the terror activities was a reaction to police action against militants.
KARACHI: The Karachi police chief has submitted a report of his department’s performance to the Supreme Court, showing a decline in street crime rate in the metropolis and a surge in extortion.
The report was submitted to a Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice Of Pakistan hearing Karachi law and order case on Wednesday.
According to the report, a copy of which is available with Geo News, 601 wanted criminals including 213 proclaimed offenders were arrested since September last year.
The report further said that 5746 policemen were performing duties with VIPs. Besides giving details about number of criminals held by the police, the report said a recent increase in the terror activities was a reaction to police action against militants.
Germany’s Deutsche Telekom says it is acquiring all remaining shares of T-Mobile Czech Republic in an €800 million euro ($1.1 billion) deal.
Telekom said Monday that it was purchasing the 39.23 percent stake in the company from a consortium of investors led by funds managed or advised by private equity group Mid Europa Partners.
Telekom says the acquisition of the remaining shares is a “natural step” to full ownership of what was already a fully consolidated and controlled subsidiary.
It says it will enable a simplification of T-Mobile Czech Republic’s capital and governance structure, while also providing financial benefits such as saving dividend payments to minority shareholders.
Mid Europa says the transaction is expected to close by the end of February.
Another acquisition today from Yahoo to beef up its advertising and media business. It is buying Luminate, a startup founded by LiveOps, Netscape and Yahoo alums that has created a platform for interactive, tagged images — or, as we have called it in the past, an AdSense for images.
Terms of …read more
RNTS Media has acquired Berlin-based Fyber for $190 million in a bid to create a global mobile advertising technology company. The transaction is unusual in that Fyber is the bigger company and its management team will help run the combined company as it negotiates its way in the $18 billion mobile ad revenue market.
Fyber will become a division of RNTS, but the deal is structured in a way to allow the Berlin company to continue its existing operations. Since RNTS is publicly traded on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, the deal gives Fyber access to the public markets and a pathway for geographic expansion. RNTS’ has its headquarters in Berlin, and it has a large office in South Korea.
“This is what it takes to continue to grow the business,” said Andreas Bodczek, the chief executive of Fyber, who will become managing director and CEO of the RNTS Media Management Board.
Janis Zech, the cofounder and chief revenue officer of Fyber, will also join the management board. Fyber will operate under its existing management team.
“There’s a strong vote of confidence in the Fyber management team,” Bodczek said.
Fyber is a mobile supply-side platform that simplifies advertising for mobile game and app developers. It provides a single dashboard that enables game and app companies to manage all of their ad networks with a single software development kit. With Fyber, developers can manage all of their ad networks at once. They can cut direct deals with ad networks and optimize their ad spending. The company will also help the mobile monetization industry consolidate so developers can have a one-stop shop for monetizing ads.
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Bodczek said about 45 percent of Fyber’s business is in Europe, 45 percent is in the U.S., and 10 percent is the rest of the world. Bodczek said there is very little overlap in business between Fyber and RNTS. Fyber serves about 150 million unique users each month through its customers, who are mostly game makers.
Terms of the cash-and-stock transaction were not disclosed. Bodczek said the deal is good for the company, which has raised 10 million euros to date.
“This is a great opportunity to validate the work the team has done,” he said. “It’s a great outcome that lets us start on the next phase of the journey.”
Bodczek said the transaction will allow the company to further innovate and accelerate the development of its mobile supply-side platform and support the plans to hire 60 more employees globally this year.
Fyber started its life as SponsorPay in 2009, focused on creating advertising solutions for browser-based web games. In 2011, it shifted into mobile, and today, its business is almost exclusively focused on the $18 billion mobile ad revenue market. Today, Fyber’s thousands of customers include Gree, Glu Mobile, Kongregate, and Pixelberry. It offers those companies a single, unified, mobile supply-side platform that allows customers to integrate, manage, and optimize their mobile ad revenue.
“The confluence of RNTS’ cross-platform digital media expertise and the agility and ferocity of a transatlantic startup company is powerful,” said Ryan Kavanaugh, RNTS Media Supervisory Board member. “Over the years, Fyber has steadily established a solid position in the digital advertising space and the company has an impressive leadership team. Fyber is an attractive partner to leverage for our networks around the world, and will become a tech gateway for RNTS to the mobile app ecosystem.”
Fyber said that its revenue has grown at an average annual rate of 76 percent from 2010 to 2013. Fyber has 215 employees, while RNTS has more than 100, most of them in South Korea. The headquarters for the combined company will be in Berlin, with large offices in Seoul and San Francisco.
SponsorPay rebranded itself in July as Fyber, creating a brand that it felt could better describe its mission of unifying the fragmented mobile ad ecosystem with a single ad-management platform.
Fyber (formerly SponsorPay) fuels the app economy by creating solutions for smarter ad monetization. Our comprehensive Ad Monetization Platform includes mediation, an ad marketplace and ad serving capabilities to empower app developers… read more »
This week Workday Workday announced the acquisition of Identified, a private company which was focused on using Big Data techniques to help recruiters find great candidates.
While Workday positioned this as a Big Data play, it has the potential to be much more.
First Let’s Look at Recruiting
Thanks to the huge success of LinkedIn LinkedIn, startups of all shapes and sizes are building tools to collect social data about people, consolidate it, and make it available to corporate recruiters. (We call this “social sourcing” and some of the successful startups include Gild, Entelo, TalentBin, Identified, and others.) This is a multi-billion dollar business which we call building the “Google Google of People.”
What these tools do (and Identified prided itself on collecting data from Facebook in particular) is collect and aggregate lots of data about people, match it up (matching is among the hardest part) and develop tools to help index and search for people in an accurate way.
The key here is not to just find people who “graduated from Stanford in 1982 with a BS in Computer Science” but to go much further. Companies like Gild and Entelo actually “score” computer programmers to help find great skilled people who may not even have college degrees. Using these tools a recruiter can find a candidate who may in fact be one of the most prolific engineers in their field, but may not seem that interesting based on their resume.
Today companies spend over $150 billion on all different areas of corporate recruiting (advertising, search agencies, interviewing, assessment, employment branding, etc.) so this is a huge market. And it goes far beyond recruitment of technical professionals – anyone who has a social “presence” (think about designers, engineers, graphic artists, and other creative professionals who share their materials online) could become part of this market.
One of Identified’s big claims to fame was their ability to reach well beyond the world of LinkedIn (which still does not have many hourly workers and non-degreed professionals) to find nurses, designers, and other professionals who may use Facebook or Yahoo but don’t necessarily spend a lot of time on LinkedIn.
While Workday has not disclosed any of their plans for this acquisition, I see this as potentially disruptive in several ways.
As Workday gets its plans together, Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors, CornerstoneOnDemand, IBM, and the other players in the corporate recruiting software market may find that the game has changed.
Analytics is the next big play in corporate applications in general. IBM has Watson (recently announce a competition to build apps on Watson), SAP has Hana, Oracle recently announced its predictive analytics for talent, and just about every other software vendor is getting religion. The Identified acquisition accelerates Workday’s overall move in this area.
Making Workday a Predictive Platform
Moving beyond recruiting, Workday plans to use Identified’s technology make Workday a more predictive platform in general. One of Workday’s strategies is to create a “machine learning” engine for ERP, enabling any user of the software to receive “recommendations” on what to do. Think about all the applications within Workday that require “recommendations” or “smart search” – purchasing, payroll, and of course talent management.
We know, for example, that companies with hourly employees often have “payroll leakage” – employees who log too many overtime hours because of scheduling or resource management problems. Workday’s internal “machine learning” platform could find things like this automatically and change the hourly schedule. This makes Workday much more than cloud-based ERP – now the system is truly a “business optimization” platform.
Years ago (2008 in fact) we wrote an article about talent management systems becoming a “predictive platform.”
Well that day seems to have arrived. Workday’s implementation of Identified’s technology could help build companies build predictive career paths, identify potential leaders, score managers on their leadership capabilities, predict flight risks, optimize the bonus pool, predict skills shortages, and dozens of other applications. These are all part of Workday’s vision for their Big Data Analytics product, and Identified’s technology and expertise will help accelerate the delivery of these solutions.
Stay tuned. Predictive analytics is likely to revolutionize ERP and HR software. We will all be watching Workday carefully as this acquisition plays out over the coming months.
I am an industry analyst and researcher focused on corporate talent and learning, HR, leadership, HR technology, and the intersection between work and life.
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GetFeedback, a startup that is trying to reinvent the online survey, today announced a first financing round of $2.3 million from Salesforce Ventures.
“Whoa, is this the best software on the market?” co-founder Kraig Swensrud recalls thinking when he looked at survey software during his previous job as chief marketing officer at Salesforce. (Co-founder Sean Whiteley is a former Salesforce senior vice president and general manager.)
Online surveys, Swensrud told VentureBeat, have been “a space that’s incredibly outdated — the user interface [of competitors] is outdated,” they aren’t targeted at mobile or social, and they’re not deeply integrated into the analytical, sales, and customer systems that companies employ.
All of which meant customer surveys needed, you know, some disruption. Started at the beginning of 2013 and launched at the end of it, GetFeedback is attempting to differentiate itself from SurveyMonkey, Zoho, and others in its user interface, mobile-first approach, enterprise-focus, and integration with the Salesforce platform.
GetFeedback is also focused exclusively on enterprises, Swensrud said. “No soccer moms or birthday party” surveys, he promised.
Designed specifically for a mobile experience, GetFeedback surveys also eschew such question formats as a traditional “grid.” For instance, no question looking for opinions on multiple qualities, like a hotel asking in one question for separate ratings of the quality of rooms, service, and food.
“That blows up on a phone,” he said. GetFeedback instead offers more picture-oriented questions, shorter surveys, and redesigned answers to work better with the common tapping gesture on small devices.
“It should be short and sweet and not a death march of fifty questions,” he said.
The new Series AA funding — the first for the bootstrapped company — will be used for “product development, sales and marketing, and global development,” Swensrud said. Including its free level, he reports that “over 20,000 companies are using our services,” and “thousands are paying.” Clients include Audi, ESPN, Facebook, Nike, and Red Bull.
The tool is built on the Salesforce 1 mobile-oriented platform, and the funding is from Salesforce Ventures, that company’s investment arm that supports ventures utilizing its platform and sharing its aims for mobile enterprise.
Amid Apple acquisition rumors, Path chief executive Dave Morin revealed today that the struggling social network now has 5 million daily active users globally.
That 5 million figure looks small when compared to Path’s total user-base, which reportedly hit 23 million registered users back in January.
“Indonesia is one of our biggest countries,” said Morin on stage at the Disrupt tech conference. Morin went on to describe Path’s mobile strategy, which appears to involve Path launching additional standalone apps in the future. “We think apps are features,” said Morin.
When asked on stage about today’s Apple acquisition rumors, Morin predictably dodged the question, saying “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”
Path is the smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love. Launched in November of 2010, Path has grown to include over two million people sharing life with close friends and family all over the world. The company … read more »