Архив метки: West Coast

Mobile Ad Startup StrikeAd Raises Another $500K From SoftTech And Others

strikead logo

StrikeAd, a startup that helps advertisers and agencies manage their mobile campaigns, has raised another $500,000 in funding.

The round is an addition to the $3 million Series A led by DFJ Esprit that the startup announced in January. More impressive than the amount of funding is who it’s coming from — Jeff Clavier’s firm SoftTech VC, Siemer Ventures, and Applied Semantics co-founder Gil Elbaz (he’s now CEO of Factual).

By bringing on three West Coast investors, StrikeAd is also signaling its US ambitions. The company has moved its headquarters from London to New York City (specifically to Fifth Avenue in the FlatIron district). Founder and CEO Alex Rahaman has made the move, too.

Founded in 2010, StrikeAd bills itself as the first demand-side platform (an important technology in the desktop advertising world for managing multiple campaigns and multiple ad exchanges) for mobile.

“Mobile advertising is still in its infancy, and it is critical that brands and agencies leverage elite services likeStrikeAd’s to optimize their ad placement and targeting by reaching consumers with the most relevant content possible,” Clavier said in the announcement.

StrikeAd also raised an $800,000 seed round from Thomas Falk (eValue Group).

Mobile Ad Startup StrikeAd Raises Another $500K From SoftTech And Others

The Phone Stacking Game: Let’s Make This A Thing


So it’s Saturday night and you’re out with friend. Are they the inconsiderate jerk who can’t stop checking their smartphone? Or is that you?

Either way, here’s one way to make dinner a little more interesting.

I’ve seen/heard this described as both “The Phone Stacking Game” and “Don’t Be a Dick During Meals”. It’s been mentioned on a couple of blogs, but a quick  straw poll of my friends suggests that it hasn’t become widespread yet, at least on the West Coast. Which is a shame, because it’s perfect for folks in tech.

Here’s how it works: At the beginning of the meal, everyone puts their phone face down at the center of the table. As time goes on, you’ll hear various calls, texts, and emails, but you can’t pick up your phone. If you’re the first one to give in to temptation, you’re buying dinner for everyone else. If no one picks up, then everyone pays for themselves.

You can explain the game in a few different ways. Most obviously, it could be a protest against the incessant, unthinking use of cell phones during social gatherings. Or maybe it’s a game that acknowledges the new reality and tests your willpower accordingly. Personally, I like to think of it as a free market exercise. After all, people love to say, “Sorry, but I have to take this.” Do you have to answer it? Really? Is it that important to you? Great, then you can pay.

No matter what the explanation, it could make for a tense meal. And I look forward to defeating MG Siegler.

[image via Kempt]

The Phone Stacking Game: Let’s Make This A Thing

Smule Acquires Khush To Further Boost Their Music Cred


Smule, makers of such fine musically-tuned iOS apps as Ocarina, Magic Piano, and I Am T-Pain, have just announced their intentions to acquire Khush, the equally music-minded company behind LaDiDa (you sing, it generates a beat) and Songify (you sing/talk/cough/howl, it bends the tune into a song). Wonder-Twin powers, activate!

The amount of the purchase wasn’t disclosed, though I hear that this combined cash-and-stock deal was mostly the latter. Everyone involved seems to see the deal as more of a melding of minds and mission statements than an exit for anyone at Khush, so the terms were built to keep everyone around for a while.

Smule and Khush are more similar than even their musically-matched mindsets would immediately indicate. Take their co-founders, for example: Smule’s Ge Wang is an assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Khush’s Parag Chordia, meanwhile, is a professor of music at Georgia Tech and the director of their Music Intelligence lab. Left hand, meet right hand.

While Smule has thus far been an entirely West Coast company (with offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco), the Khush folks will continue to operate out of Atlanta, Georgia and act as an independent studio. Songify and LaDiDa will both be getting support for Smule’s “Sonic Network”, which allows users to create, share, and collaborate on their musical creations.

To celebrate this mind-merge, a video (made with Songify) about one lady’s love for cats:

Update – The companies have just released this video, in which all of the co-founders “discuss” (in a way only they could) the acquisition:

Smule Acquires Khush To Further Boost Their Music Cred