#DealMonitor – Ardian investiert in Berlin Brands Group – AnyDesk bekommt 70 Millionen – Tesvolt sammelt 40 Millionen ein


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 17. November werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Berlin Brands Group
+++ Die Privat-Equity-Firma Ardian investiert 100 Millionen US-Dollar in die Berlin Brands Group (BBG) – siehe Handelsblatt. “Die Investmentgesellschaft erhält dafür eine Minderheitsbeteiligung. Mehrheitsgesellschafter bleibt Peter Chaljawski mit seinem Gründerteam. Zweitgrößter Gesellschafter ist Bain Capital”, teilt BBG zum Investment mit. Spannend dabei: Ardian ist gerade erst bei BBG ausgestiegen.  Das Privat-Equity-Unternehmen Bain Capital investierte im September 700 Millionen US-Dollar Eigen- und Fremdkapital in BBG und kaufte dabei auch den 40-Prozent-Anteil des vorherigen Investors Ardian auf. Im Zuge der Transaktion wurde der D2C-Pionier, zu dem Marken wie Klarstein, auna und gehören, mit mehr als 1 Milliarde US-Dollar bewertet und erreichte damit Unicorn-Status. BBG erwirtschaftete 2020 einen Umsatz in Höhe von 334 Millionen Euro. Über 900 Mitarbeiter:innen wirkten derzeit für das Unternehmen. Als Ardian 2015 zum ersten Mal bei BBG eingestiegen ist, lag der Umsatz gerade einmal bei 70 Millionen Euro. Mehr über die Berlin Brands Group

AnyDesk
+++ Jetzt offiziell: General Atlantic, Insight Partners, EQT Ventures und Possible Ventures investieren 70 Millionen US-Dollar in AnyDesk. Das junge Unternehmen aus Stuttgart möchte quasi TeamViewer als erste Adresse für den Fernzugriff auf Rechner ablösen. Insight Partners, EQT Ventures sowie Business Angels wie Chris Hitchen und Andreas Burike investierten in den vergangenen Jahren bereits in AnyDesk. Die Bewertung liegt bei rund 600 Millionen Dollar – siehe TechCrunch. Bereits Ende September hatten wir im Insider-Podcast über den geplanten Einstieg von General Atlantic bei AnyDesk berichtet. Mehr über Anydesk

Hakuna
+++ Der Berliner Geldgeber Visionaries Club und Discovery Ventures investieren nach unseren Informationen in Hakuna. Das Startup, das von den beiden abracar-Gründern Sebastian Jost und Orhan Köroglu gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um die Vermittlung von Versicherungen. Das Unternehmen hört auf den Namen Product Protection JKM. Die Hauptstädter sicherten sich aber bereits die Marken Hakuna und hellohakuna. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Patronus
+++ Cavalry Ventures, UVC Partners und DN Capital investieren nach unseren Informationen in Patronus. Das Berliner Startup, das 2020 von Ben Staudt und Tim Wagner gegründet wurde, setzt auf einen digitalen Hausnotruf in Form einer Uhr. In der Selbstbeschreibung heißt es: “Die Patronus-Uhr hat alles, was Sie von einem Hausnotruf erwarten. Immer zur Stelle, wenn Hilfe gebraucht wird”. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Tesvolt 
+++ Ein Investorenkonsortium unter Führung der Liechtenstein Gruppe – eine Unternehmensgruppe im Besitz der Fürstenfamilie Liechtenstein – investiert 40 Millionen Euro in Tesvolt. Das Unternehmen aus Wittenberg, das von Simon Schandert und Daniel Hannemann gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um Energiespeicherung im gewerblichen und industriellen Bereich. “Mit den finanziellen Mitteln wird Tesvolt seine internationalen Aktivitäten forcieren und seinen Fokus auf innovative Produkte konsequent weiterverfolgen”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

Daedalus
+++ Addition und Altinvestor Khosla Ventures investieren 11,5 Millionen US-Dollar in das deutsch-amerikanische KI-Startup Daedalus. Das Unternehmen mit Sitz in Karlsruhe und San Francisco, das von Jonas Schneider gegründet wurde, baut “autonome und sofort rekonfigurierbare Fabriken mit softwaregesteuerter Fertigung und KI-gestützten Robotern”. In der Presseaussendung zum Investment heißt es: “The investment will support the company on its mission to revolutionize manufacturing by making automation economically feasible for companies of all sizes and independent of manufacturing technologies”.

unea 
+++ Nach Philipp Westermeyer (OMR), Marcus Börner (OptioPay, reBuy), Daniel Khachab (choco), Benita Krahforst (Ex-Partner Burda Ventures), Moritz Kreppel (Urban Sports Club) und Torben Schreiter (Signavio) investiert nun auch Jérôme Cochet in unea. Das Berliner AdTech-Startup, das 2021 vom Roq.ad-Gründer Richy Ugwu gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Software, “die es jedem Business ermöglicht, die eigenen Werbeflächen selbstständig und skalierbar zu monetarisieren”.

ContentBay
+++ Ex-Sky-Vorstand Holger Enßlin investiert in ContentBay. Das Startup aus München, das von Oliver Skelton gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Marktplatz für Programminhalte. “Ziel ist es, den Handel von audiovisuellen Inhalten aller Art auf Basis einer umfassenden Datenbank mit intelligenten Such- und Analyse-Funktionen effizienter und zielgenauer zu gestalten”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.

Digitalstage.io
+++ Flori Ventures investiert eine sechsstellige Summe in Digitalstage.io. Das Startup aus Berlin, das 2020 von Richard Harless, dem ehemaligen Deutschland-Chef von Shazam, gegründet wurde, möchte digitale Fan-Erlebnisse schaffen. Die “Fan Experience” von Live-Konzerten, Meet-and-Greets, Schallplattenläden und Merchandise-Ständen soll dabei in einen gemeinsamen digitalen Raum übertragen werden.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Sanubi
+++ Das Unternehmen Schülke & Mayr, das im Segment Infektionsprävention und Hygienelösungen unterwegs ist, übernimmt Sanubi, ein junger Online-Anbieter für erstattungsfähige Produkte im Pflegesektor. “Eigentümer von Schülke ist EQT Partners, ein führender europäischer Private-Equity-Fonds. Der Erwerb der Sanubi-Anteile ist eine strategische Investition für Schülke/EQT”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Schülke + Mayr übernahm zuletzt auch proSenio. Zur Jungfirma gehören Pflegebox, ein Versand von Pflegehilfsmitteln sowie Marken wie hoerhelfer, aktivwelt und sehhelfer. Sanubi, 2014 von Carsten Lebtig und Fabian Lemke gegründet, wurde unter anderem von DvH Ventures finanziell unterstützt.

VENTURE CAPITAL

SmartCityHouse
+++ In Osnabrück geht mit SmartCityHouse ein neuer Accelerator und Company Builder an den Start. “Ziel unseres Programmes ist es, euch Raum für ihre Geschäftsmodelle zu geben und euch auf dem Weg zu einem erfolgreichen Unternehmen zu begleiten. So möchten wir Innovationen voranbringen, die das Zusammenleben der Menschen in der Stadt von Morgen smarter und lebenswerter machen sowie die Lebensqualität und Nachhaltigkeit in der Stadt und Region Osnabrück fördern”, teilt der Startup-Förderer mit.

Newsletter: Über neue Startups berichten wir zuerst in unserem Startup-Radar-Newsletter. Der Newsletter erscheint einmal pro Woche und stellt junge Startups vor, die noch nicht jeder kennt. Den Newsletter gibt es aber nur im kostenpflichtigen Abo. Jetzt 30 Tage kostenlos testen.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#accelerator, #addition, #adtech, #aktuell, #anydesk, #ardian, #berlin-brands-group, #cavalry-ventures, #contentbay, #daedalus, #digitalstage-io, #discovery-ventures, #dn-capital, #eqt-ventures, #flori-ventures, #general-atlantic, #hakuna, #insight-partners, #khosla-ventures, #osnabruck, #patronus, #possible-ventures, #sanubi, #schulke-mayr, #smartcityhouse, #stuttgart, #tesvolt, #unea, #uvc-partners, #venture-capital, #visionaries-club, #wittenberg

#Brandneu – 6 neue Startups: P4 Markets, Vintus, Zenstrom, Nona, project bcause, JRNY


deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

P4 Markets
Hinter P4 Markets steckt insbesondere Kolibrishop-Gründer Sascha Coldewey. Das Startup “bringt Marken oder Produkte auf die besten Marktplätze der Welt”. P4 Markets kümmert sich dabei um das Erstellen von Inhalten und Bildern, die Logistik- und Versandabwicklung sowie das Produktmanagement.

Vintus
Vintus aus Düsseldorf möchte mehr Bewegung mit einem smarten Bürostuhl in die sitzende Arbeitswelt bringen. Der Bürostuhl soll automatisch für körperliche Aktivität während der Büroarbeit sorgen und damit sogar das ein oder andere Workout ersetzen. 

Zenstrom
Das Berliner Startup zenstrom verspricht seinen Nutzer:innen “sorgenfreien Ökostrom in höchster Qualität und größter Transparenz”. Hinter dem jungen Unternehmen, das auf den Spuren von Bulb wandelt, stecken die Seriengründer Florian Swoboda und Felix Swoboda.

Nona
Das Kölner Unternehmen Nona möchte eine Alternative zu Suchmaschinen mit personalisierter Werbung bieten. Nona spielt nur anonymisierte Werbung aus und arbeitet dabei ohne Tracking-Cookies. Neben der Basisvariante haben Nutzer:innen auch die Möglichkeit, ein werbefreies Bezahlmodell zu nutzen.

project bcause
Das Berliner Startup project bcause bringt sich als “die Plattform für Menschen, die Gutes finanzieren wollen und können” in Stellung. Dies soll alles “einfach, flexibel und gemeinsam” möglich sein. Das passende Schlagwort dazu lautet: “The Giving Fintech”. 

JRNY
Die Jungfirma JRNY, hinter der unter anderem 99chairs-Gründer Julian Riedelsheimer steckt, setzt auf den Coaching-Trend. “JRNY is a mindful productivity application using proven methods from executive coaching and positive psychology”, heißt es in der Selbstbeschreibung.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#adtech, #aktuell, #berlin, #brandneu, #d2c, #dusseldorf, #energie, #fintech, #jrny, #koln, #mainz, #nona, #p4-markets, #project-bcause, #vintus, #zenstrom

Extra Crunch roundup: Adtech investing, Intuit buys Mailchimp, ideal customer profiles

Major gains in online advertising have boosted valuations for adtech startups since the pandemic began, but one insider says investors are missing the party.

“Adtech is having a moment,” writes industry veteran Casey Saran.

“And while much of the oxygen has been soaked up by large legacy companies hitting the public market, there have been smaller deals that indicate a hunger for better creative adtech.”

Saran shares five reasons “why VCs should consider ratcheting up their investment into adtech startups building the next generation of creative tools.”


Full Extra Crunch articles are only available to members
Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription


On Wednesday, September 22 at 9:05 a.m PT, I’m moderating “The Path for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs,” a panel discussion at Disrupt 2021.

Our conversation will examine some of the unique challenges facing founders from historically marginalized groups, the strategies they used along the way, and the disruptive changes we need to consider if we want to see fundamental change.

I’ll be speaking with:

  • Hana Mohan, founder & CEO, MagicBell
  • Leslie Feinzaig, founder & CEO, Female Founders Alliance
  • Stephen Bailey, co-founder & CEO, ExecOnline

I hope you’ll attend; we’ll take audience questions after our discussion concludes. Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week, and have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist

5 things you need to win your first customer

Putting the final building block onto the top of a rising pile signifying success and achievement

Image Credits: AndrewLilley (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Congratulations on shipping your product, but how much do you know about your target customers?

Companies that haven’t created an ideal customer profile and performed a SWOT analysis are making big bets on guesswork and intuition. Sometimes that works out, but more frequently, it leads to tears.

In a guest post that walks readers through the fundamentals of creating customer personas that map to your company’s goals, Grammarly product marketing lead Bryan Dsouza shares five basic requirements for customer acquisition.

“Understanding and executing on these things can guarantee you that first customer win, provided you do them well and with sincerity,” he says.

“Your investors will also see the fruits of your labor and be comforted knowing their dollars are at good work.”

4 ways to leverage ROAS to triple lead generation

Someone pops the tab on a soda can, releasing a mist/spray

Image Credits: joshblake (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

In school, it’s highly unethical to copy someone else’s work and pass it off as your own. In business, however, it is expected.

Xiaoyun TU, global director of demand generation at Brightpearl, wrote a comprehensive guide for how to use the key metric of return on advertising spend (ROAS) to triple your company’s lead generation.

“A ‘good’ ROAS score is different for each company and campaign,” she says. “If your figure isn’t where you’d like it to be, you can leverage ROAS data to create targeted campaigns and personalized experiences.”

3 strategies to make adopting new HR tech easier for hiring managers

Steps with Check Mark on Chalkboard

Image Credits: porcorex (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Most of us prefer to trust our instincts instead of letting automated tools help us make decisions, particularly when it comes to hiring. But that’s not smart.

If your startup relies on an ad hoc hiring process, you’re probably not tracking candidates properly, there’s likely little consistency regarding how they’re treated, and bias can play a major role in who gets hired.

It’s fine to be skeptical of automated hiring tools — but not ignorant.

What could stop the startup boom?

In yesterday’s edition of The Exchange, Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm speculated about the conditions that could combine to cool off a hot startup market currently fueled by low interest rates and a sweeping digital transformation.

“From where we stand, the factors underpinning the startup fundraising boom appear solid and unlikely to unwind overnight. Still, no golden period shines forever, and even today’s luster will eventually tarnish.”

Intuit’s $12B Mailchimp acquisition is about expanding its small business focus

Signage for financial software company Intuit at the company's headquarters in the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View, California, August 24, 2016. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

Image Credits: Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

Before news broke this week that Intuit was acquiring Mailchimp for $12 billion, the ’80s-born fintech giant’s biggest buy was spending $7.1 billion last year for Credit Karma.

In the last few years, Mailchimp “has been expanding upon its core email marketing functionality” with offerings like web design and CRM, writes enterprise reporter Ron Miller.

The industry watchers he interviewed said the move signals Intuit’s interest in acquiring and serving more SMB customers with a variety of tools:

  • Laurie McCabe, co-founder and partner, SMB Group
  • Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst, CRM Essentials
  • Holger Mueller, analyst, Constellation Research

Forge’s SPAC deal is a bet on unicorn illiquidity

“One of my favorite long-term issues with the late-stage startup market is that it is far better at creating value than it is at finding an exit point for that accreted value,” Alex Wilhelm writes for The Exchange. “More simply, the startup market is excellent at creating unicorns but somewhat poor at taking them public.”

That’s good news for Forge Global, a technology startup that operates a market for secondary transactions in private companies, with Alex dubbing its plans to go public via a SPAC combination “perfectly reasonable.”

Dear Sophie: Should I apply for citizenship if I have a conviction?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

At Burning Man a few years ago, I was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana in public (in my car) and driving under the influence.

I currently have a green card and want to apply for U.S. citizenship next year.

Can I? If so, how should I handle my criminal record?

— Remorseful About the Reefer

Atlanta’s sundry startups join in global VC funding boom

Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim continued their tour of U.S. cities after hitting up Chicago and Boston in recent weeks.

This time, they dug into Atlanta’s booming startup scene, which is seeing record capital inflows.

“The picture that forms is one of a city enjoying a rising tide of venture activity, boosted by some local dynamics that may have helped some of its earlier-stage companies scale for cheaper than they might have in other markets,” they write.

#adtech, #advertising-tech, #business, #ec-roundup, #entrepreneurship, #extra-crunch-roundup, #finance, #growth-marketing, #intuit, #lawyers, #mailchimp, #private-equity, #sophie-alcorn, #startups, #venture-capital, #verified-experts

#Interview – “Wir sind ein German Hero auf dem Weg zum European Hero”


Das Berliner Unternehmen ShowHeroes, 2016 von Ilhan Zengin, Mario Tiedemann und Dennis Kirschner gegründet, kümmert sich um die Produktion und Vermarktung von Videoinhalten. “Heißt konkret: Wenn Leser:innen im Internet surfen und Nachrichten oder andere Inhalte konsumieren, zeigen wir ihnen Content- und Werbevideos, die zu ihren jeweiligen Interessen passen”, sagt Gründer Zengin.

Zuletzt machte das ShowHeroes-Team mit einigen Übernahmen – etwas von Viralize aus Italien – Schlagzeilen. “Parallel hat sich auch unser Portfolio an Diensten und Marken in den vergangenen Jahren deutlich vergrößert”, führt Zengin aus. Rund 200 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für die ShowHeroes Gruppe. Der Umsatz des Unternehmens, das “bislang gerade mal eine kleine Series-A Finanzierung erhalten” hat, stieg in den vergangenen drei Jahren von 6 Millionen auf etwa 100 Millionen Euro.

Im Interview mit deutsche-startups.de spricht ShowHeroes-Macher Zengin außerdem über Brand Safety, Kurzarbeit und die Gründer-Hürden.

Wie würdest Du Deiner Großmutter ShowHeroes erklären?
Meiner Großmutter muss ich nichts erklären. Die weiß: Wir sind einerseits Europas führender Anbieter von Videowerbung im Internet, andererseits ein erfolgreicher Produzent maßgeschneiderter Videoinhalte für Publisher. Die Verbindung von beidem, die Produktion der Videoinhalte und gleichzeitig ihre Vermarktung, macht die ShowHeroes Gruppe so wertvoll. Für Medienhäuser sind wir der Partner, der hochwertigeren Content liefert. Das hält die Nutzer länger auf der Seite und bietet einen Zusatznutzen. Für Marken und Werbungtreibende sorgen wir dafür, dass deren Botschaften Reichweite und gezielte Aufmerksamkeit bekommen, egal ob die Kunden via Programmatic Advertising oder direkt einkaufen. Und, ganz wichtig: Wir stellen sicher, dass die Videos in einem Umfeld erscheinen, dass der Marke absolute Sicherheit bietet. Stichwort: Brand Safety. Aber spätestens jetzt würde meine Oma aussteigen. Den Leser:innen von Deutsche Startups kann ich aber noch zwei Sätze zumuten: Als ShowHeroes Group produzieren und vermarkten wir seit 2016 erfolgreich digitale Videowerbung mit kontextueller Relevanz. Heißt konkret: Wenn Leser:innen im Internet surfen und Nachrichten oder andere Inhalte konsumieren, zeigen wir ihnen Content- und Werbevideos, die zu ihren jeweiligen Interessen passen.

Hat sich das Konzept, das Geschäftsmodell, in den vergangenen Jahren irgendwie verändert?
Selbstverständlich. Ich glaube, jeder der im Digitalen tätig ist, muss sein Modell und seine Leistungen permanent an den Markt anpassen. Dieser entwickelt sich stetig weiter, die Rahmenbedingungen ändern sich. Darauf müssen wir natürlich reagieren, nur so können wir den Anforderungen unserer Kunden und Partner weiterhin gerecht werden. Wir haben zum Beispiel unsere Connected TV-Sparte in den vergangenen Monaten stark ausgebaut und tun das auch weiterhin. Denn das Thema spielt in den europäischen Märkten eine immer größere Rolle.

Wie genau funktioniert euer Geschäftsmodell?
Wir sehen uns grundsätzlich als Anbieter von Videolösungen im Internet. Dabei richten wir uns vor allem an zwei Gruppen: Werbetreibende und Publisher. Die Werbetreibenden möchten Botschaften an ihr Zielpublikum senden. Ihnen stellen wir die entsprechenden Flächen auf Premium-Webseiten zur Verfügung. Die Publisher hingegen müssen ihre Inhalte besser monetarisieren, um ihren Leser:innen auch im digitalen Zeitalter hochwertige redaktionelle Qualität anbieten zu können. Unsere redaktionellen Videos, gepaart mit der ShowHeroes Technologie, unterstützen sie dabei, indem sie für höhere Reichweiten und Nutzer-Verweildauern sorgen. Mit unserer SemanticHero-Technologie werden der Kontext und der Inhalt dieser Seiten analysiert. Dadurch können wir Nutzer:innen mit entsprechendem Video Content und Werbemaßnahmen gemäß ihren Interessen ansprechen.

Die Corona-Krise traf die Startup-Szene zuletzt teilweise hart. Wie habt ihr die Auswirkungen gespürt?
Auch uns hat Corona anfangs getroffen. In der ersten Welle, ab März 2020, als Themen wie Inzidenzwerte und Lockdowns für alle noch neu waren, haben wir Kurzarbeit in Anspruch genommen. Zum Glück ging es aber sehr bald wieder bergauf: Schon im Sommer 2020 hatten wir die Umsatzeinbußen vom Frühling ausgeglichen und das angestrebte Ergebnis sogar übertroffen. In Summe war 2020 – trotz Corona-Krise – ein Rekordjahr für die ShowHeroes Group.

Wie ist überhaupt die Idee zu ShowHeroes entstanden?
In meinem früheren Job. Zusammen mit meinem Mitgründer Dennis Kirschner wuchs schon während unserer Zeit beim Native Advertising-Anbieter plista der Wunsch, ein eigenes Unternehmen zu gründen. Wir waren beide on fire. Und wir wollten mit einer eigenen Firma unsere gesammelten Erfahrungen, unsere Fähigkeiten, aber auch unser Netzwerk auf den Prüfstand stellen. Ziemlich schnell konnten wir auch Mario Tiedemann, unseren jetzigen CFO und COO, begeistern. So nahm die Kernidee zu ShowHeroes rasch Gestalt an. Von unseren ersten Gesprächen bis zum offiziellen Start vergingen nur wenige Wochen. Das war ein Kraftakt. Den ersten Anruf von Mario erhielt ich übrigens als ich gerade in Texas auf dem South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival war. Die SXSW hat mir frische Eindrücke, inspirierenden Input und jede Menge Motivation geliefert. Gleich nach meiner Rückkehr haben wir uns gemeinsam an die Arbeit gemacht.

Wie hat sich ShowHeroes seit der Gründung entwickelt?
Die ShowHeroes Group ist eine der wachstumsstärksten deutschen Digital Marketing-Companies. Wir sind ein German Hero auf dem Weg zum European Hero. In der jüngsten Vergangenheit haben wir mehrere Firmen zugekauft. Parallel hat sich auch unser Portfolio an Diensten und Marken in den vergangenen Jahren deutlich vergrößert. Mit unserer Marke Viralize bieten wir beispielsweise auch kleineren Website-Betreibern effektive Lösungen, ihre Inhalte zu vermarkten. ShowHeroes hingegen richtet sich an Premium Publisher, also sehr große und teils sehr individuelle Projekte. Zudem produzieren wir unter der Marke ShowHeroes Studios Online Video Content und -Ads, TV-Werbung und Animationen. Und unsere Erfolgsgeschichte beginnt gerade erst richtig mit Connected TV (CTV).

Nun aber einmal Butter bei die Fische: Wie groß ist ShowHeroes inzwischen?
Wir haben unseren Umsatz in drei Jahren mehr als verzehnfacht: von 6 Millionen in 2019 auf etwa 100 Millionen in diesem Jahr. Aktuell beschäftigen wir rund 200 Mitarbeiter:innen europaweit in acht Märkten an 15 Standorten. Und bis Jahresende sollen es mehr als 300 Mitarbeiter werden. Vor fünf Jahren, zu Beginn, waren Dennis, Mario und ich noch auf uns allein gestellt. Das Beste daran: Unsere Entwicklung ist nachhaltig, denn die ShowHeroes Group kann aus eigener finanzieller Kraft wachsen. Wir haben bislang gerade mal eine kleine Series-A Finanzierung erhalten.

Blicke bitte einmal zurück: Was ist in den vergangenen Jahren so richtig schief gegangen?
Wir hatten Glück, denn Dank unserer Erfahrungen beim Start-up plista konnten wir viele der üblichen “Gründer-Hürden” schneller überwinden. Auch wurden wir bei vielen Fragen von unserem Netzwerk unterstützt. Ob beim Thema Investment oder der Skalierung unseres Geschäftsmodells. Das bereits erwähnte Pandemie-geprägte Frühjahr 2020 war die bislang schwierigste Zeit für uns. Die konnten wir aber glücklicherweise schnell überbrücken.

Und wo habt Ihr bisher alles richtig gemacht?
Wir haben immer an unsere Idee geglaubt. Auch wenn das nicht immer einfach war. 2014 boomte die AdTech-Branche zwar, doch kurz darauf war der Hype auch schon wieder vorbei. Und für viele Marktteilnehmer:innen – allen voran Investor:innen – hatte die Szene an Attraktivität verloren. Trotzdem haben wir daran geglaubt, dass wir Online-Werbung mit passendem Video Content revolutionieren können. Zum Glück. Denn wir haben ein echtes Premium-Netzwerk aufgebaut. Und bieten Nutzern einen echten Mehrwert. Wir entwickeln uns stetig weiter und orientieren uns an den Bedürfnissen im Markt, wie jetzt mit unserer CTV-Sparte. Das ist unsere größte Stärke als Unternehmen.

Wo steht ShowHeroes in einem Jahr?
In einem Jahr sind wir noch größer und breiter aufgestellt. Unser generelles Ziel lautet: Die Showheroes wollen nicht nur europaweit der wichtigste Player in der Vermarktung von Multiscreen Video Content werden. Das ist ein ambitioniertes Ziel, aber wir befinden uns auf einem sehr guten Weg.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#adtech, #aktuell, #berlin, #connected-tv, #interview, #showheroes, #showheroes-gruppe, #viralize

Instagram will require users to provide their birthday

Instagram will begin prodding users to share their birthday with the service, if they haven’t already done so. The company today announced it will now start popping up a notification that asks you to add your birthday to “personalize your experience.” But the prompt can only be dismissed a handful of times before becoming a requirement. The move is a part of Instagram’s larger goal to create new safety features aimed at younger users, the company explains. This includes the teen privacy protections introduced earlier this year, as well as Instagram’s longer-term plan to launch a version of its service aimed at users under the age of 13.

This March, Instagram rolled out new features that made it more difficult for adults to contact teens through its app. Then in July, the company announced a larger series of changes to the default settings for new users under the age of 16. It will now default these users’ accounts to “private” and limit their accounts from being suggested elsewhere in the app. It also now restricts adults whose accounts are flagged as “potentially suspicious” from being able to reach out to other minors or interact with their posts.

Starting this week, Instagram says users who have not yet shared their birthday will begin to see pop-up notifications when they open the Instagram app.

These notifications will appear a handful of times, but at some point, users will no longer be able to dismiss the message by tapping “Not Now.” Instead, everyone will ultimately be required to share their birthday to continue to use Instagram.

The company will also now request you to share your birthday information when you come across a post with a warning screen. These screens, which hide content that’s flagged as sensitive or graphic, are not new. But Instagram has never before asked for a user’s birthday before displaying the hidden content.

Image Credits: Instagram

The birthday entry form itself is not complex. You simply scroll to choose the month, day and year of your birthday.

Of course, kids are commonly known to lie on these entry forms in order to bypass restrictions when signing up for apps. On this front, Instagram has developed A.I. technology to help it identify accounts were kids may have lied. For instance, it may be able to infer someone’s birthday based on comments left on “Happy Birthday” posts, where the user’s age may be referenced. The company also hints at further plans in this area, noting how it will later require users to verify their age when Facebook’s technology determines a mismatch between the age the user submitted and what appears to be their real age, based on other signals.

That technology is still in the “early stages,” says Instagram, but will involve a menu of options that will allow someone to verify their age.

The need to have users’ birthdays on hand isn’t only meant to power the recently launched teen protection features. Instagram is also working to bring its app to younger users — a decision that’s been met with a hostile response from legislators and consumer advocacy groups alike. In addition, age remains an important data point for ad targeting. Even as Instagram pulled back on the ability for marketers to target teens using interest data or their activity on other apps, it will continue to allow ad targeting based on age, gender and location across age groups.

The company is now one of several to have rolled out added protections for younger teen users, ahead of regulations that would force them to do so. Over the course of this year, TikTok, YouTube, and Google have also announced changes to how younger teens can use their services and how they can be targeted by ads, in anticipation of a regulatory crackdown. While each has crafted its own set of teen safety features independently, the changes have largely addressed making the default settings for new teenage users more restrictive.

Instagram says the new birthday pop-up notifications will begin to appear this week on the mobile app and will continue to roll out over the weeks ahead to reach more users.

#adtech, #apps, #children, #computing, #data-collection, #facebook, #instagram, #mobile, #mobile-applications, #mobile-apps, #privacy, #regulations, #social, #social-media, #social-networking, #social-networks, #software, #teenagers, #teens

#DealMonitor – Glanbia zahlt über 31 Millionen für LevlUp – tucan sammmelt Kapital – DoubleVerify kauft Meetrics


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 30. August werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

LevlUp
+++ Die Glanbia-Gruppe, zum Ernährungsunternehmen gehören Marken wie Amazing Grass, Body&Fit und SlimFast, übernimmt die Mehrheit (60 %) am D2C-Unternehmen LevlUp, einem Anbieter für Energy-Drinks für Gamer. Glanbia lässt sich die Übernahme 31,4 Millionen Euro kosten. “Das Geschäft ergänzt das DTC-Geschäft von Glanbia Performance Nutrition (GPN) in hohem Maße und die Investition verschafft GPN eine Präsenz in der schnell wachsenden Sparte der Gaming-Nahrung und erweitert seine Reichweite somit auf neue Verbraucher”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. LevlUp, 2018 von Martin Ratajski und Nils Schlieper in Göttingen gegründet, erwirtschaftete 2020 einen Umsatz in Höhe von 19 Millionen Euro. “Glanbia has an option to acquire and the owners have an option to sell the remaining 40% stake subject to certain performance conditions by 2025”, teilt Glanbia zur Mehrheitsübernahme mit. Mehr über LevlUp

Meetrics
+++ Das amerikanische Unternehmen DoubleVerify übernimmt Meetrics. Das Berliner Startup, das 2008 von Philipp von Hilgers, Max von Hilgers und Hendrik Schumacher gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um die die Messung der Sichtbarkeit von Online-Werbebannern. “Die Sales-, Produkt- und Entwickler-Teams von Meetrics werden weiterhin von den Büros in EMEA aus operieren und die Aktivitäten von DV in der Region stärken und erweitern”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Investoren wie IBB Ventures, NW Digital, yabeo Capital, eValue und Muzungu Capital investierten in den vergangenen Jahren rund 4 Millionen Euro in Meetrics. 2020 erwirtschaftete das Unternehmen einen Jahresüberschuss in Höhe von rund 278.719 Euro. 46 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiteten im vergangenen Jahr für das AdTech.

INVESTMENTS

tucan
+++ Der Berliner Kapitalgeber IBB Ventures, die HT Venture Group, Wayra Deutschland und Altgesellschafter APX (Porsche und Springer) investieren nach unseren Informationen in tucan. Hinter dem Berliner Startup, das 2020 von Michael Schramm, Florian Polak und Lukas Rintelen gegründet wurde, verbirgt sich ein “Tool für produktivere Meetings”. Die Berliner schreiben zum Konzept: “Unsere Software liest automatisch wesentliche Informationen aus deinen Gesprächen heraus, verknüpft diese und analysiert sie. Konzentriere dich auf deine Gespräche, Tucan.ai übernimmt den Rest”. #EXKLUSIV

Sastrify
+++ Jetzt offiziell: HV Capital investiert – wie bereits im Insider-Podcast berichtet – in Sastrify. Der bekannte Geldgeber investiert gemeinsam mit “den Gründern von FlixMobility, Personio und SumUp” 7 Millionen US-Dollar in das junge Unternehmen. Die Bewertung liegt nach unseren Informationen bei rund 25 Millionen Euro (Pre-Money). Die Kölner Jungfirma, die 2020 von Maximilian Messing und Sven Lackinger, beide früher evopark, gegründet wurde, unterstützt Unternehmen beim Kauf und der Verwaltung von Softwarelösungen. TS Ventures, also Tim Schumacher, Discovery Ventures und Christian Gaiser investierten zuvor bereits 1,3 Millionen in das Unternehmen. 30 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiiten derzeit für Sastrify. Mehr über Sastrify

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#adtech, #aktuell, #apx, #berlin, #d2c, #doubleverify, #glanbia, #glanbia-performance-nutrition, #gottingen, #ht-venture-group, #hv-capital, #ibb-ventures, #koln, #levlup, #meetrics, #sastrify, #tucan, #venture-capital, #wayra-deutschland

MOLOCO raises $150M Series C led by Tiger Global at a $1.5B valuation

MOLOCO, an adtech startup that uses machine learning to build mobile campaigns, announced today it has raised $150 million in new Series C funding led by Tiger Global Management, taking its valuation to $1.5 billion. This is separate from the $20 million Series C round MOLOCO announced three months ago, which brought it to unicorn status. Co-founder and chief executive officer Ikkjin Ahn told TechCrunch that MOLOCO raised again so soon because “as we gear up for a potential IPO, we wanted more funding to help us grow faster.”

Founded in 2013 and based in Redwood City, California, MOLOCO has now raised $200 million in total. The company claims it has “consistently grown in excess of 100% annually,” and has an annual net revenue run rate of more than $100 million.

Its clients range in size from mobile developers who have less than 100,000 users to more than a billion, Ahn said in an email, with some spending more than $1 million a month through MOLOCO Cloud, its demand side platform (DSP). MOLOCO’s customers include King Digital, Playrix and Netmarble.

MOLOCO already serves mobile app developers in a wide range of industries, like gaming, social networking, e-commerce, ride-sharing, food delivery and fintech, helping them turn their first-party user data into marketing, monetization and user acquisition campaigns. The new funding will be used to expand MOLOCO’s machine learning engine to more use cases by focusing on research and development, product and engineering. Part of the raise is earmarked for hiring, adding to MOLOCO’s 200 employees, who are spread across the world in eight offices: San Francisco, Seattle, London, Beijing, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.

MOLOCO is getting ready to launch its Retail Media Platform, currently in beta, which helps e-commerce companies create revenue streams like sponsored ads.

Before launching MOLOCO, Ahn was a machine learning engineer at YouTube from 2008 to 2010, then Android from 2010 to 2013. Back then, MOLOCO’s founding team “noticed that a lot of mobile businesses struggled to generate sustainable growth and monetization,” Ahn said. “A big reason for that was that they offered very unique services and therefore generated very unique data—data that traditional tools were incapable of helping make use of.” MOLOCO’s machine learning engine was created to help companies turn their first-party data into growth campaigns and monetization strategies.

Eight years later, mobile developers now view machine learning “as an essential part of their tech stack in order to advertise and monetize their apps effectively,” Ahn said.

Some try to build their own machine learning algorithms, but this can be a drain on their resources. Others outsource the work, but that means losing transparency and control of their data. Ahn said MOLOCO’s goal is to help app developers maintain control of data while giving them access to the same quality of algorithms as tech giants like Facebook and Google, which he describes as the startup’s main competitors.

Beyond walled gardens

“Let’s face it, most ad spend today is going to Facebook and Google, because they have excellent machine learning and they make it easy for advertisers to scale their campaigns,” Ahn said.

But a major drawback for businesses is that first-party data generated on Facebook or Google Ads for targeting and optimization can’t be used on other platforms, creating walled gardens. On the other hand, MOLOCO allows businesses to retain full access to their data. “We believe they should own it and do with it what they want,” Ahn said.

This also helps businesses adapt to new consumer privacy laws. Stricter regulations make it important for companies to gather as much of their own data as possible, since they will get less of it from other sources, and make sure that they keep that data secure. Ahn said MOLOCO’s platform and cloud service “are built with security and privacy in mind, so our partners can simply plug in their data and trust that we handle all compliance matters.”

Part of MOLOCO’s new funding will be used to expand MOLOCO Cloud, which programmatically bids on ad exchanges like Google AdX and Twitter Mopub, into new verticals and geographic markets.

To make the most efficient use of ad budgets, MOLOCO Cloud analyzes signals like in-app purchases or in-app activities that allow businesses to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign.

“For mobile games, those activities often include level completions or friend invites; for ride sharing apps, it’s likely to be a ride order; for e-commerce apps, it’s likely to be a purchase,” Ahn said, adding “the strength of our machine learning is that it is flexible enough to automatically adjust to an advertiser’s unique KPIs and embrace different, diverse data sets.”

MOLOCO’s Retail Media Platform was created to help e-commerce companies make more money off their sites through features like Recommended Products and Sponsored Ads. “For example, our machine learning can tell them, in real time, which products a visitor is most likely to purchase next, so that they can make intelligent recommendations that drive incremental revenue,” Ahn said. The massive growth of Amazon’s ad platform also demonstrates how sponsored ads can be a significant source of revenue for e-commerce businesses, he added.

In a statement about Tiger Global’s investment in MOLOCO, partner John Curtius said, “The volume of digital data produced is growing exponentially yet the tools available for taking action on that data remain relatively limited. We invested in MOLOCO because its machine learning algorithms have proven to be among the best available and the level of transparency and sophistication the company brings to data-driven businesses is paramount in today’s world.”

#adtech, #advertising, #machine-learning, #mobile-advertising, #moloco, #programmatic-advertising, #tc

Outbrain raises $200 million ahead of its IPO

Outbrain, an adtech company that provides clickbait ads below news articles, has raised $200 million in funding — Outbrain didn’t disclose the valuation of the company for this deal. The Baupost Group is investing in the company — it’s a Boston-based hedge fund. Outbrain filed for an initial public offering just last week. Today’s funding round should be the last traditional private investment round before going public.

If you’re not familiar with Outbrain, you may have seen its content recommendation widgets on popular news websites, such as CNN, Le Monde and The Washington Post. They mostly feature sponsored links that lead to third-party websites.

“We are excited to announce this investment from The Baupost Group, who share our vision and commitment for our business, our team and our future prospects” co-CEO David Kostman said in a statement.

Outbrain is often compared with its rival Taboola. While both startups planned to merge at some point, they had to cancel their merger. Taboola already went public after merging with a SPAC — a special purpose acquisition company. Taboola shares started trading last week.

In its IPO filing, Outbrain reported $767 million in revenue for 2020 and $228 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2021 alone. In 2020, Outbrain managed to generate $4.4 million in net income. During Q1 2021, the company reported $10.7 million in net income.

“We proudly lead the recommendation space we created. We have bold plans for the future to continue delivering critical innovation to our premium media partners worldwide and expanding our powerful open web global advertising platform” Outbrain co-CEO Yaron Galai said in a statement.

The advertising market has recovered from the global health pandemic and there has been plenty of initial public offerings during the first half of 2021. Everything seems to be lining up for Taboola and Outbrain, which means it’s time to reach the next level and become public companies.

#ad, #adtech, #advertising, #advertising-tech, #clickbait, #fundings-exits, #outbrain, #startups

Update: Google is delaying its deprecation of tracking cookies

Update: Google has now confirmed the delay, writing in a blog post that its engagement with UK regulators over the so-called “Privacy Sandbox” means support for tracking cookies won’t start being phased out in Chrome until the second half of 2023.

Our original report follows below… 

Adtech giant Google appears to be leaning toward postponing a long planned deprecation of third party tracking cookies.

The plan dates back to 2019 when it announced the long-term initiative that will make it harder for online marketers and advertisers to track web users, including by deprecating third party cookies in Chrome.

Then in January 2020 it said it would make the switch within two years. Which would mean by 2022.

Google confirmed to TechCrunch that it has a Privacy Sandbox announcement incoming today — set for 4pm BST/5pm CET — after we contacted it to ask for confirmation of information we’d heard, via our own sources.

We’ve been told Google’s new official timeline for implementation will be 2023.

However a spokesman for the tech giant danced around providing a direct confirmation — saying that “an update” is incoming shortly.

“We do have an announcement today that will shed some light on Privacy Sandbox updates,” the spokesman also told us.

He had responded to our initial email — which had asked Google to confirm that it will postpone the implementation of Privacy Sandbox to 2023; and for any statement on the delay — with an affirmation (“yep”) so, well, a delay looks likely. But we’ll see how exactly Google will spin that in a few minutes when it publishes the incoming Privacy Sandbox announcement.

Google has previously said it would deprecate support for third party cookies by 2022 — which naturally implies that the wider Privacy Sandbox stack of related adtech would also need to be in place by then.

Earlier this year it slightly hedged the 2022 timeline, saying in January that any changes would not be made before 2022.

The issue for Google is that regulatory scrutiny of its plan has stepped up — following antitrust complaints from the adtech industry which faces huge changes to how it can track and target Internet users.

In Europe, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has been working with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office to understand the competition and privacy implications of Google’s planned move. And, earlier this month, the CMA issued a notification of intention to accept proposed commitments from Google that would enable the regulator to block any deprecation of cookies if it’s not happy it can be done in a way that’s good for competition and privacy.

At the time we asked Google how the CMA’s involvement might impact the Privacy Sandbox timeline but the company declined to comment.

Increased regulatory oversight of Big Tech will have plenty of ramifications — most obviously it means the end of any chance for giants like Google to ‘move fast and break things’.

#adtech, #competition-and-markets-authority, #computing, #europe, #google, #information-commissioners-office, #privacy, #privacy-sandbox, #sandbox, #software, #united-kingdom, #web-browsers

AdTech startup Tomi raises Seed funding to make real estate ads perform as well as ecommerce

Industries like real estate, automotive, and financial services have long and offline sales cycles and digital advertising tends not to perform well in these areas. The conversion rates are low and because the real-world assets are offline the temptation of advertisers is to buy leads and clicks, which can inflate customer acquisition costs. People are browsing but they end up buying offline, basically.

A new startup, Tomi plans to address this issue by processing a user’s behavior on a company’s website (using a tracking pixel, combined with ad APIs and CRMs) to help companies reach customers more in the way an ecommerce business would.

It’s now raised a $1M seed round from investors including Begin Capital and Phystech Leadership Fund.

Founded by Konstantin Bayandin — a former senior director of digital marketing and technology at Compass and chief marketing officer at Ozon, ‘Russia’s Amazon’ — Tomi competes against similar AdTech companies such as Anytrack, Sociaro, Meetotis, Alytics and Postclick.

However, the difference, Bayandin says, is that Tomi “focuses on offline conversions and works with multiple ad channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Google.”

Bayandin says: “Real-estate companies would love to leverage online ads in order to sell their inventory but it turns out to be too expensive and difficult. People like to browse but rarely convert and most of these transactions happen offline. So real-estate clients don’t know how to optimize for their real buyers. Tomi uses machine learning to analyze the way real buyers browse the website and optimize ad campaigns towards conversions.”

The background to all this is that with Apple closing down IDFA, Google planning to remove third-party cookies from its Chrome browser, and the latest iOS 14.5 update allowing users opt out of “personalized ads”, the entire ad business is in flux, so new tools are going to be required. Bayandin says Tomi is part of this new wave of AdTech.

#adtech, #amazon, #digital-advertising, #digital-marketing, #ecommerce, #europe, #facebook, #financial-services, #google, #machine-learning, #marketing, #online-advertising, #ozon, #real-estate, #russia, #tc, #tomi, #web-analytics

International coalition joins the call to ban ‘surveillance advertising’

An international coalition of consumer protection, digital and civil rights organizations and data protection experts has added its voice to growing calls for a ban on what’s been billed as “surveillance-based advertising”.

The objection is to a form of digital advertising that relies upon a massive apparatus of background data processing which sucks in information about individuals, as they browse and use services, to create profiles which are used to determine which ads to serve (via multi-participant processes like the high speed auctions known as real-time bidding).

The EU’s lead data protection supervisor previously called for a ban on targeted advertising which relies upon pervasive tracking — warning over a multitude of associated rights risks.

Last fall the EU parliament also urged tighter rules on behavioral ads.

Back in March, a US coalition of privacy, consumer, competition and civil rights groups also took collective aim at microtargeting. So pressure is growing on lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic to tackle exploitative adtech as consensus builds over the damage associated with mass surveillance-based manipulation.

At the same time, momentum is clearly building for pro-privacy consumer tech and services — showing the rising store being placed by users and innovators on business models that respect people’s data.

The growing uptake of such services underlines how alternative, rights-respecting digital business models are not only possible (and accessible, with many freemium offerings) but increasingly popular.

In an open letter addressing EU and US policymakers, the international coalition — which is comprised of 55 organizations and more than 20 experts including groups like Privacy International, the Open Rights Group, the Center for Digital Democracy, the New Economics Foundation, Beuc, Edri and Fairplay — urges legislative action, calling for a ban on ads that rely on “systematic commercial surveillance” of Internet users in order to serve what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg likes, euphemistically, to refer to as ‘relevant ads’.

The problem with Zuckerberg’s (self-serving) framing is that, as the coalition points out, the vast majority of consumers don’t actually want to be spied upon to be served with these creepy ads.

Any claimed ‘relevance’ is irrelevant to consumers who experience ad-stalking as creepy and unpleasant. (And just imagine how the average Internet user would feel if they could peek behind the adtech curtain — and see the vast databases where people are profiled at scale so their attention can be sliced and diced for commercial interests and sold to the highest bidder).

The coalition points to a report examining consumer attitudes to surveillance-based advertising, prepared by one of the letter’s signatories (the Norwegian Consumer Council; NCC), which found that only one in ten people are positive about commercial actors collecting information about them online — and only one in five think ads based on personal information are okay.

A full third of respondents to the survey were “very negative” about microtargeted ads — while almost half think advertisers should not be able to target ads based on any form of personal information.

The report also highlights a sense of impotence among consumers when they go online, with six out of ten respondents feeling that they have no choice but to give up information about themselves.

That finding should be particularly concerning for EU policymakers as the bloc’s data protection framework is supposed to provide citizens with a suite of rights related to their personal data that should protect them against being strong-armed to hand over info — including stipulating that if a data controller intends to rely on user consent to process data then consent must be informed, specific and freely given; it can’t be stolen, strong-armed or sneaked through using dark patterns. (Although that remains all too often the case.)

Forced consent is not legal under EU law — yet, per the NCC’s European survey, a majority of respondents feel they have no choice but to be creeped on when they use the Internet.

That in turn points to an ongoing EU enforcement failure over major adtech-related complaints, scores of which have been filed in recent years under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — some of which are now over three years old (yet still haven’t resulted in any action against rule-breakers).

Over the past couple of years EU lawmakers have acknowledged problems with patchy GDPR enforcement — and it’s interesting to note that the Commission suggested some alternative enforcement structures in its recent digital regulation proposals, such as for oversight of very large online platforms in the Digital Services Act (DSA).

In the letter, the coalition suggests the DSA as the ideal legislative vehicle to contain a ban on surveillance-based ads.

Negotiations to shape a final proposal which EU institutions will need to vote on remain ongoing — but it’s possible the EU parliament could pick up the baton to push for a ban on surveillance ads. It has the power to amend the Commission’s legislative proposals and its approval is needed for draft laws to be adopted. So there’s plenty still to play for.

“In the US, we urge legislators to enact comprehensive privacy legislation,” the coalition adds.

The coalition is backing up its call for a ban on surveillance-based advertising with another report (also by the NCC) which lays out the case against microtargeting — summarizing the raft of concerns that have come to be attached to manipulative ads as awareness of the adtech industry’s vast, background people-profiling and data trading has grown.

Listed concerns not only focus on how privacy-stripping practices are horrible for individual consumers (enabling the manipulation, discrimination and exploitation of individuals and vulnerable groups) but also flag the damage to digital competition as a result of adtech platforms and data brokers intermediating and cannibalizing publishers’ revenues — eroding, for example, the ability of professional journalism to sustain itself and creating the conditions where ad fraud has been able to flourish.

Another contention is that the overall health of democratic societies is put at risk by surveillance-based advertising — as the apparatus and incentives fuel the amplification of misinformation and create security risks, and even national security risks. (Strong and independent journalism is also, of course, a core plank of a healthy democracy.)

“This harms consumers and businesses, and can undermine the cornerstones of democracy,” the coalition warns.

“Although we recognize that advertising is an important source of revenue for content creators and publishers online, this does not justify the massive commercial surveillance systems set up in attempts to ‘show the right ad to the right people’,” the letter goes on. “Other forms of advertising technologies exist, which do not depend on spying on consumers, and cases have shown that such alternative models can be implemented without significantly affecting revenue.

“There is no fair trade-off in the current surveillance-based advertising system. We encourage you to take a stand and consider a ban of surveillance-based advertising as part of the Digital Services Act in the EU, and the for U.S. to enact a long overdue federal privacy law.”

The letter is just the latest salvo against ‘toxic adtech’. And advertising giants like Facebook and Google have — for several years now — seen the pro-privacy writing on the wall.

Hence Facebook’s claimed ‘pivot to privacy‘; its plan to lock in its first party data advantage (by merging the infrastructure of different messaging products); and its keen interest in crypto.

It’s also why Google has been working on a stack of alternative adtech that it wants to replace third party tracking cookies. Although its proposed replacement — the so-called ‘Privacy Sandbox‘ — would still enable groups of Internet users to be opaquely clustered by its algorithms in ‘interest’ buckets for ad targeting purposes which still doesn’t look great for Internet users’ rights either. (And concerns have been raised on the competition front too.)

Where its ‘Sandbox’ proposal is concerned, Google may well be factoring in the possibility of legislation that outlaws — or, at least, more tightly controls — microtargeting. And it’s therefore trying to race ahead with developing alternative adtech that would have much the same targeting potency (maintaining its market power) but, by swapping out individuals for cohorts of web users, could potentially sidestep a ban on ‘microtargeting’ technicalities.

Legislators addressing this issue will therefore need to be smart in how they draft any laws intended to tackle the damage caused by surveillance-based advertising.

Certainly they will if they want to prevent the same old small- and large-scale manipulation abuses from being perpetuated.

The NCC’s report points to what it dubs as “good alternatives” for digital advertising models which don’t depend on the systematic surveillance of consumers to function. And which — it also argues — provide advertisers and publishers with “more oversight and control over where ads are displayed and which ads are being shown”.

The problem of ad fraud is certainly massively underreported. But, well, it’s instructive to recall how often Facebook has had to ‘fess up to problems with self reported ad metrics

“It is possible to sell advertising space without basing it on intimate details about consumers. Solutions already exist to show ads in relevant contexts, or where consumers self-report what ads they want to see,” the NCC’s director of digital policy, Finn Myrstad, noted in a statement.

“A ban on surveillance-based advertising would also pave the way for a more transparent advertising marketplace, diminishing the need to share large parts of ad revenue with third parties such as data brokers. A level playing field would contribute to giving advertisers and content providers more control, and keep a larger share of the revenue.”

 

#adtech, #advertising-tech, #beuc, #center-for-digital-democracy, #data-controller, #data-protection, #digital-advertising, #europe, #european-union, #facebook, #general-data-protection-regulation, #google, #human-rights, #mark-zuckerberg, #marketing, #norwegian-consumer-council, #online-advertising, #open-rights-group, #privacy, #privacy-international, #real-time-bidding, #social-issues, #targeted-advertising, #tc, #united-states

EU is now investigating Google’s adtech over antitrust concerns

EU antitrust authorities are finally taking a broad and deep look into Google’s adtech stack and role in the online ad market — confirming today that they’ve opened a formal investigation.

Google has already been subject to three major EU antitrust enforcements over the past five years — against Google Shopping (2017), Android (2018) and AdSense (2019). But the European Commission has, until now, avoided officially wading into the broader issue of its role in the adtech supply chain. (The AdSense investigation focused on Google’s search ad brokering business, though Google claims the latest probe represents that next stage of that 2019 enquiry, rather than stemming from a new complaint).

The Commission said that the new Google antitrust investigation will assess whether it has violated EU competition rules by “favouring its own online display advertising technology services in the so called ‘ad tech’ supply chain, to the detriment of competing providers of advertising technology services, advertisers and online publishers”.

Display advertising spending in the EU in 2019 was estimated to be approximately €20BN, per the Commission.

“The formal investigation will notably examine whether Google is distorting competition by restricting access by third parties to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving such data for its own use,” it added in a press release.

Earlier this month, France’s competition watchdog fined Google $268M in a case related to self-preferencing within the adtech market — which the watchdog found constituted an abuse by Google of a dominant position for ad servers for website publishers and mobile apps.

In that instance Google sought a settlement — proposing a number of binding interoperability agreements which the watchdog accepted. So it remains to be seen whether the tech giant may seek to push for a similar outcome at the EU level.

There is one cautionary signal in that respect in the Commission’s press release which makes a point of flagging up EU data protection rules — and highlighting the need to take into account the protection of “user privacy”.

That’s an interesting side-note for the EU’s antitrust division to include, given some of the criticism that France’s Google adtech settlement has attracted — for risking cementing abusive user exploitation (in the form of adtech privacy violations) into the sought for online advertising market rebalancing.

Or as Cory Doctorow neatly explains it in this Twitter thread: “The last thing we want is competition in practices that harm the public.”

Aka, unless competition authorities wise up to the data abuses being perpetuated by dominant tech platforms — such as through enlightened competition authorities engaging in close joint-working with privacy regulators (in the EU this is, at least, possible since there’s regulation in both areas) — there’s a very real risk that antitrust enforcement against Big (ad)Tech could simply supercharge the user-hostile privacy abuses that surveillance giants have only been able to get away with because of their market muscle.

So, tl;dr, ill-thought through antitrust enforcement actually risks further eroding web users’ rights… and that would indeed be a terrible outcome. (Unless you’re Google; then it would represent successfully playing one regulator off against another at the expense of users.)

The need for competition and privacy regulators to work together to purge Big Tech market abuses has become an active debate in Europe — where a few pioneering regulators (like German’s FCO) are ahead of the pack.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also recently put out a joint statement — laying out their conviction that antitrust and data protection regulators must work together to foster a thriving digital economy that’s healthy across all dimensions — i.e. for competitors, yes, but also for consumers.

A recent CMA proposed settlement related to Google’s planned replacement for tracking cookies — aka ‘Privacy Sandbox’, which has also been the target of antitrust complaints by publishers — was notable in baking in privacy commitments and data protection oversight by the ICO in addition to the CMA carrying out its competition enforcement role.

It’s fair to say that the European Commission has lagged behind such pioneers in appreciating the need for synergistic regulatory joint-working, with the EU’s antitrust chief roundly ignoring — for example — calls to block Google’s acquisition of Fitbit over the data advantage it would entrench, in favor of accepting a few ‘concessions’ to waive the deal through.

So it’s interesting to see the EU’s antitrust division here and now — at the very least — virtue signalling an awareness of the problem of regional regulators approaching competition and privacy as if they exist in firewalled silos.

Whether this augurs the kind of enlightened regulatory joint working — to achieve holistically healthy and dynamic digital markets — which will certainly be essential if the EU is to effectively grapple with surveillance capitalism very much remains to be seen. But we can at least say that the inclusion of the below statement in an EU antitrust division press release represents a change of tone (and that, in itself, looks like a step forward…):

“Competition law and data protection laws must work hand in hand to ensure that display advertising markets operate on a level playing field in which all market participants protect user privacy in the same manner.”

Returning to the specifics of the EU’s Google adtech probe, the Commission says it will be particularly examining:

  • The obligation to use Google’s services Display & Video 360 (‘DV360′) and/or Google Ads to purchase online display advertisements on YouTube.
  • The obligation to use Google Ad Manager to serve online display advertisements on YouTube, and potential restrictions placed by Google on the way in which services competing with Google Ad Manager are able to serve online display advertisements on YouTube.
  • The apparent favouring of Google’s ad exchange “AdX” by DV360 and/or Google Ads and the potential favouring of DV360 and/or Google Ads by AdX.
  • The restrictions placed by Google on the ability of third parties, such as advertisers, publishers or competing online display advertising intermediaries, to access data about user identity or user behaviour which is available to Google’s own advertising intermediation services, including the Doubleclick ID.
  • Google’s announced plans to prohibit the placement of third party ‘cookies’ on Chrome and replace them with the “Privacy Sandbox” set of tools, including the effects on online display advertising and online display advertising intermediation markets.
  • Google’s announced plans to stop making the advertising identifier available to third parties on Android smart mobile devices when a user opts out of personalised advertising, and the effects on online display advertising and online display advertising intermediation markets.

Commenting on the investigation in a statement, Commission EVP and competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, added:

“Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services. Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary. So Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising. We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack. A level playing field is of the essence for everyone in the supply chain. Fair competition is important — both for advertisers to reach consumers on publishers’ sites and for publishers to sell their space to advertisers, to generate revenues and funding for content. We will also be looking at Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition.”

Contacted for comment on the Commission investigation, a Google spokesperson sent us this statement:

“Thousands of European businesses use our advertising products to reach new customers and fund their websites every single day. They choose them because they’re competitive and effective. We will continue to engage constructively with the European Commission to answer their questions and demonstrate the benefits of our products to European businesses and consumers.”

Google also claimed that publishers keep around 70% of the revenue when using its products — saying in some instances it can be more.

It also suggested that publishers and advertisers often use multiple technologies simultaneously, further claiming that it builds its own technologies to be interoperable with more than 700 rival platforms for advertisers and 80 rival platforms for publishers.

#adtech, #android, #antitrust, #competition-and-markets-authority, #cory-doctorow, #doubleclick, #europe, #european-commission, #european-union, #fitbit, #france, #google, #information-commissioners-office, #margrethe-vestager, #marketing, #mobile-devices, #online-advertising, #privacy-sandbox, #targeted-advertising, #tc, #united-kingdom

#Brandneu – 5 neue Startups: CO2free, neurodactics, Zubik, WiseBuy, Green Convenience


deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

WiseBuy
WiseBuy, von Benjamin Höferlin, Thu Le und Axel Mees gegründet, “optimiert automatisiert bereits befüllte Online-Warenkörbe hinsichtlich des besten Preises, besserer Nachhaltigkeit und besserer Lieferungsmöglichkeiten”. WiseBuy setzt dabei zum Start auf ein Browser-Plugin. WiseBuy war zuletzt auch in unserem Pitch-Podcast zu Gast.

CO2free
Das Münchner ClimeteTech CO2free möchte Onliner:innen beim Thema Energieverbrauch helfen. “Unsere App scannt die Dateien, Fotos und Videos auf Deinem Smartphone und zeigt Dir auf einen Blick an, wie viel Treibhausgas sie verursachen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.

neurodactics
Das Hamburger Startup neurodactics, das von Torben Rieckmann, Christopher Hof und Jonas Viert gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Mathe-App, die Schülerinnen und Schüler der ersten und zweiten Klasse ein Mengenverständnis vermitteln und sie im Kopfrechnen fördern soll.

Zubik
Hinter Zubik verbirgt sich ein digitaler Marketing-Assistent. Das Team teilt dazu mit: “Zubik is a chatbot that can answer any of your marketing-related questions. Sooo much cheaper than hiring someone and sooo much less time spent trying to learn marketing”.

Green Convenience
Das junge Unternehmen Green Convenience möchte die Zustellung von Paketen verbessern. Auf der Website heißt es: “Green Convenience enables your systems to automatically know when someone is and will be at home to receive deliveries in a GDPR compliant way”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#adtech, #aktuell, #brandneu, #climatetech, #co2free, #e-learning, #edtech, #green-convenience, #hamburg, #logistik, #maintal, #munchen, #neurodactics, #pleidelsheim, #reinbek, #wisebuy, #zubik

Adtech ‘data breach’ GDPR complaint is headed to court in EU

New York-based IAB Tech Labs, a standards body for the digital advertising industry, is being taken to court in Germany by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) in a piece of privacy litigation that’s targeted at the high speed online ad auction process known as real-time bidding (RTB).

While that may sound pretty obscure the case essentially loops in the entire ‘data industrial complex’ of adtech players, large and small, which make money by profiling Internet users and selling access to their attention — from giants like Google and Facebook to other household names (the ICCL’s PR also name-checks Amazon, AT&T, Twitter and Verizon, the latter being the parent company of TechCrunch — presumably because all participate in online ad auctions that can use RTB); as well as the smaller (typically non-household name) adtech entities and data brokers which also also involved in handling people’s data to run high velocity background auctions that target behavioral ads at web users.

The driving force behind the lawsuit is Dr Johnny Ryan, a former adtech insider turned whistleblower who’s now a senior fellow a the ICCL — and who has dubbed RTB the biggest data breach of all time.

He points to the IAB Tech Lab’s audience taxonomy documents which provide codes for what can be extremely sensitive information that’s being gathered about Internet users, based on their browsing activity, such as political affiliation, medical conditions, household income, or even whether they may be a parent to a special needs child.

The lawsuit contends that other industry documents vis-a-vis the ad auction system confirm there are no technical measures to limit what companies can do with people’s data, nor who they might pass it on to.

The lack of security inherent to the RTB process also means other entities not directly involved in the adtech bidding chain could potentially intercept people’s information — when it should, on the contrary, be being protected from unauthorized access, per EU law…

Ryan and others have been filing formal complaints against RTB security issue for years, arguing the system breaches a core principle of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — which requires that personal data be “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security… including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss” — and which, they contend, simply isn’t possible given how RTB functions.

The problem is that Europe’s data protection agencies have failed to act. Which is why Ryan, via the ICCL, has decided to take the more direct route of filing a lawsuit.

“There aren’t many DPAs around the union that haven’t received evidence of what I think is the biggest data breach of all time but it started with the UK and Ireland — neither of which took, I think it’s fair to say, any action. They both said they were doing things but nothing has changed,” he tells TechCrunch, explaining why he’s decided to take the step of litigating.

“I want to take the most efficient route to protection people’s rights around data,” he adds.

Per Ryan, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has still not sent a statement of issues relating to the RTB complaint he lodged with them back in 2018 — so years later. In May 2019 the DPC did announce it was opening a formal investigation into Google’s adtech, following the RTB complaints, but the case remains open and unresolved. (We’ve contacted the DPC with questions about its progress on the investigation and will update with any response.)

Since the GDPR came into application in Europe in May 2018 there has been growth in privacy lawsuits  — including class action style suits — so litigation funders may be spying an opportunity to cash in on the growing enforcement gap left by resource-strapped and, well, risk-averse data protection regulators.

A similar complaint about RTB lodged with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also led to a lawsuit being filed last year — albeit in that case it was against the watchdog itself for failing to take any action. (The ICO’s last missive to the adtech industry told it to — uhhhh — expect audits.)

“The GDPR was supposed to create a situation where the average person does not need to wear a tin-foil hat, they do not need to be paranoid or take action to become well informed. Instead, supervisory authorities protect them. And these supervisory authorities — paid for by the tax payer — have very strong powers. They can gain admission to any documents and any premises. It’s not about fines I don’t think, just. They can tell the biggest most powerful companies in the world to stop doing what they’re doing with our data. That’s the ultimate power,” says Ryan. “So GDPR sets up these guardians — these potentially very empowered guardians — but they’ve not used those powers… That’s why we’re acting.”

“I do wish that I’d litigated years ago,” he adds. “There’s lots of reasons why I didn’t do that — I do wish, though, that this litigation was unnecessary because supervisory authorities protected me and you. But they didn’t. So now, as Irish politics like to say in the middle of a crisis, we are where we are. But this is — hopefully — several nails in the coffin [of RTB’s use of personal data].”

The lawsuit has been filed in Germany as Ryan says they’ve been able to establish that IAB Tech Labs — which is NY-based and has no official establishment in Europe — has representation (a consultancy it hired) that’s based in the country. Hence they believe there is a clear route to litigate the case at the Landgerichte, Hamburg.

While Ryan has been indefatigably sounding the alarm about RTB for years he’s prepared to clock up more mileage going direct through the courts to see the natter through.

And to keep hammering home his message to the adtech industry that it must clean up its act and that recent attempts to maintain the privacy-hostile status quo — by trying to rebrand and repackage the same old data shuffle under shiny new claims of ‘privacy’ and ‘responsibility’ — simply won’t wash. So the message is really: Reform or die.

“This may very well end up at the ECJ [European Court of Justice]. And that would take a few years but long before this ends up at the ECJ I think it’ll be clear to the industry now that it’s time to reform,” he adds.

IAB Tech Labs has been contacted for comment on the ICCL’s lawsuit.

Ryan is by no means the only person sounding the alarm over adtech. Last year the European Parliament called for tighter controls on behavioral ads to be baked into reforms of the region’s digital rules — calling for regulation to favor less intrusive, contextual forms of advertising which do not rely on mass surveillance of Internet users.

While even Google has said it wants to depreciate support for tracking cookies in favor of a new stack of technology proposals that it dubs ‘Privacy Sandbox’ (although its proposed alternative — targeting groups of Internet users based on interests derived from tracking their browsing habits — has been criticized as potentially amplifying problems of predatory and exploitative ad targeting, so may not represent a truly clean break with the rights-hostile adtech status quo).

The IAB is also facing another major privacy law challenge in Europe — where complaints against a widely used framework it designed for websites to obtain Internet users’ consent to being tracked for ads online led to scrutiny by Belgium’s data protection agency.

Last year its investigatory division found that the IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) fails to meet the required standards of data protection under the GDPR.

The case went in front of the litigation chamber last week. A verdict — and any enforcement action by the Belgian DPA over the IAB Europe’s TCF — remains pending.

#adtech, #advertising-tech, #amazon, #articles, #att, #computing, #data-protection, #europe, #european-court-of-justice, #european-union, #facebook, #general-data-protection-regulation, #germany, #hamburg, #information-commissioners-office, #ireland, #johnny-ryan, #new-york, #online-advertising, #privacy, #real-time-bidding, #techcrunch, #terms-of-service, #twitter, #united-kingdom, #verizon, #world-wide-web

#Brandneu – 6 neue Startups: Yababa, Angle Audio, Boyoca, pryntad, Earnest, Unchained Robotics


deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Yababa
Hinter Yababa verbirgt sich ein Lieferservice für orientalische Lebensmittel und Gerichte. Das Berliner Startup von Atlantic Labs angeschoben, verspricht seinen Kundinnen und Kunden “niedrige Preise” und eine “Lieferung am gleichen Tag”. Geführt wird der orientalische Supermarkt von Ralph Hage.

Angle Audio
Das Startup Angle Audio, das von Matthias D. Strodtkoetter, Valerius Huonder und Matthias Karg gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Clubhouse-Alternative. Die Jungfirma aus Zürich bietet zudem aber auch Funktionen wie eine Bildschirmfreigabe und eine Text-Chat Funktion an.

Boyoca
Über Boyoca kann jeder Campingplätze online buchen. Die Betreiber von Campingplätzen möchte das Kölner Team “mit kuratierten Services unterstützen, die ihnen dabei helfen, ihre alltäglichen Herausforderungen in einer dynamischen, digitalen Welt erfolgreich zu meistern”.

pryntad
Hinter pryntad verbirgt sich ein Marktplatz für Printanzeigen. Das Hamburger Startup, das von Anja Visscher, Martin Kaltwasser und Philipp Wolde gegründet wurde, verspricht dabei eine “unkomplizierte Buchung – ganz ohne Preisliste”. Über 300 Zeitungen mit mehr als 1.700 Ausgaben bietet die Jungfirma derzeit an.

Earnest
Earnest bietet Nutzer:innen Tipps und Tricks sowie, Analysen rund um nachhaltiges Leben. Dabei setzt das Projekt aus dem Hause uptodate Ventures auf Edutainment. “Die App sensibilisiert, inspiriert und motiviert zur Eigeninitiative – nicht mit erhobenem Zeigefinger und Informationsüberfluss”, lautet dabei die Vorgabe.

Unchained Robotics
Das Paderborner Startup Unchained Robotics entwickelt eine auf künstlicher Intelligenz basierte Steuerung von Robotern für die Elektronik-Fertigung. “Somit eröffnet man den Weg zur kostspieligen Automatisierung für jede Fabrik in Deutschland und Europa”, teilt das Unternehmen zum Konzept mit. Unchained Robotics war zuletzt auch in unserem Pitch-Podcast zu Gast.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#adtech, #aktuell, #angle-audio, #audio, #berlin, #boyoca, #brandneu, #camping, #climatetech, #earnest, #food, #hamburg, #koln, #munchen, #paderborn, #pryntad, #travel, #unchained-robotics, #uptodate-ventures, #yababa, #zurich

Don’t panic: ‘Algorithm updates’ aren’t the end of the world for SEO managers

Every time there is a rumor of a Google algorithm update, a general panic ripples through the SEO community. There is a collective holding of breath while the numbers are analyzed and then a sigh of relief (hopefully) when they survive the algorithm update unscathed.

After the update is released, and especially if it is confirmed by Google, a slew of articles and pundit analyses attempt to dissect what Google changed and how to win in the new paradigm.

I believe all this angst is entirely misplaced.

The Google algorithm is made out to be some sort of mystical secret recipe cooked up in a lab designed to simultaneously rob and reward sites at the whims of a magical, all-knowing wizard. In this outdated schema, the goal of every SEO and webmaster is to dupe this wizard and come out on the winning side of every update.


Join us on Thursday, June 10 at 12:30 p.m. PDT/3:30 p.m. EDT for a Twitter Spaces chat with author Eli Schwartz.

We’ll discuss SEO and growth marketing, so bring your questions!


This idea is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of what happens in a Google algorithm update — and a fundamental misunderstanding of Google. The reality is, algorithms are not your enemy. They are designed to help create a better, more accurate user experience. Here are a few pieces of perspective that should help reframe your relationship with algorithms.

Google’s algorithms are extensive and complex software programs that constantly need to be updated based on real scenarios.

Google is just trying to help

First, let’s establish this: Google is only trying to help. The company wants to ensure a pleasurable, high-quality user experience for the searcher. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not a wizard, and its system is not meant to rob and reward sites arbitrarily.

Keep that in mind as we continue.

Google’s algorithms are extensive and complex software programs that constantly need to be updated based on real scenarios. Otherwise, they would be totally arbitrary. Just as bugs are reported and fixed in a software program, search engines must discover what’s not working and create solutions.

Google, like any other software company, releases updates with big leaps forward to its products and services. However, in Google’s case, they are called “major algorithm updates” instead of just product updates.

You are now armed with the knowledge of exactly what a Google algorithm update is. Is it not, then, gratifying to know there is never a reason to panic?


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A drop in search traffic isn’t necessarily hurting you

If a site experiences a drop in search traffic after a major algorithm update, it is rarely because the entire site was targeted. Typically, while one collection of URLs may be demoted in search rankings, other pages likely improved.

Seeing the improved pages requires taking a deep dive into Google Search Console to drill into which URLs saw drops in traffic and which witnessed gains. While a site can certainly see a steep drop off after an update, it is usually because they had more losers than winners.

Any drop is most definitely not because the algorithm punished the site.

If you see a drop, in many cases, your site might not have even lost real traffic; often, the losses represent only lost impressions already not converting into clicks. With a recent update, Google removed the organic listing of sites that had a featured snippet ranking. I saw steep drops in impressions, but the clicks were virtually unchanged. Gather and study your granular data for a clearer rendering of information rather than assuming the site has become a winner or loser after an update.

Focus on a great user experience, just like Google

Websites that focus on providing an amazing and high-quality experience for users shouldn’t fear algorithm updates. In fact, updates can provide the needed impetus to excel. The only websites that have something to fear are those that should not have had high search visibility in the first place because of a poor user experience.

If your website provides a great experience for users, updates are actually likely to help you because they winnow those poorer quality sites out of the running.

If you focus on a good user experience, there will be pages that may lose some traffic in algorithm updates, but in aggregate, the site will typically gain traffic in most scenarios. Digging into the granular data of what changed will likely support the idea that websites do not suffer or benefit from algorithm updates — only specific URLs do.

Updates are a fact of search life

Google will, and should, continuously update its algorithms. Google’s primary motivation is to have an evolving product that will continue to please and retain its users.

Consider that if Google leaves its algorithm alone, it risks being overrun by spammers that take advantage of loopholes. A search function that provides too many spammy results will soon go the way of AOL, Excite, Yahoo and every other search engine that is functionally no longer in existence. Google stays relevant by updating algorithms.

Updates are a part of search life.

Chase the user, not the algorithm

Instead of chasing the algorithm, which will inevitably change, I believe that every website that relies on organic search should train its focus somewhere more important: on the user experience.

The user is the ultimate customer of search. If your site serves the user, it will be immunized from algorithm updates designed to protect the search experience. There is no algorithm wizard — only SEO masters who have figured out how to apply best processes, best procedures and actions for your website.

Algorithms and updates have only one purpose: help a user find exactly what they seek. Period. If you are helpful to the user, you have nothing to fear.

This post is an excerpt from “Product-Led SEO: The Why Behind Building Your Organic Growth Strategy.”

#adtech, #advertising-tech, #column, #google, #growth-marketing, #search-engine-optimization, #seo, #startups, #verified-experts

France fines Google $268M for adtech abuses and gets interoperability commitments

France’s competition watchdog, L’Autorité de la concurrence, has fined Google up to €220 million (~$268M) in a case related to self-preferencing within the adtech market which the watchdog found constituted an abuse by Google of a dominant position for ad servers for website publishers and mobile apps.

L’Autorité began looking into Google’s adtech business following complaints from a number of French publishers.

Today it said Google had requested a settlement — and is “not disputing the facts of the case” — with the tech giant proposing certain ‘interoperability’ commitments that the regulator has accepted, and which will form a binding part of the decision.

The watchdog called the action a world first in probing Google’s complex algorithmic ad auctions.

Commenting in a statement, L’Autorité’s president, Isabelle de Silva, said: “The decision sanctioning Google has a very special meaning because it is the first decision in the world to look into complex algorithmic processes. Auctions through which online display advertising works. The investigation, carried out particularly quickly, revealed the processes by which Google, relying on its considerable dominant position on ad servers for sites and applications, was favored over its competitors on both ad servers and SSP platforms. These very serious practices penalized competition in the emerging online advertising market, and have enabled Google not only to preserve but also to increase its dominant position. This sanction and these commitments will make it possible to restore a level playing field for all players, and the ability of publishers to make the most of their advertising space. ”

At specific issue is preferential treatment Google granted to its own proprietary technologies — offered under the Google Ad Manager brand — on both the demand and supply sides; via the operation of its DFP ad server (which allows publishers of sites and applications to sell their spaces advertising), and its sales platform SSP AdX (which organizes the auction process allowing publishers to sell their ‘impressions’ or advertising inventories to advertisers), per the watchdog.

L’Autorité found that Google’s preferential treatment of its adtech harmed competitors and publishers.

Reached for comment, a Google spokeswoman referred us to this blog post discussing the settlement where Maria Gomri, a legal director for Google France, writes that it has “agreed on a set of commitments to make it easier for publishers to make use of data and use our tools with other ad technologies” — before detailing the steps it has pledged to take.

The publishing groups that made the original complaint against Google in France were News Corp Inc., the Le Figaro group and the Rossel La Voix group, although Le Figaro withdrew its referral last November — at the same time as it signed a content-licensing deal with Google, related to Google’s News Showcase product (a vehicle Google has spun up as legislators in different markets around the world have taken steps to force it to pay for some content reuse).

France’s competition watchdog had earlier ordered Google to negotiate with publishers over remuneration for reuse of their content, following the transposing into national law of updated, pan-EU copyright rules — which extend neighbouring rights to publishers’ news snippets. So the adtech giant’s operations remain under scrutiny on that front too.

Google agrees to interoperability changes

Google has agreed to improve the interoperability of Google Ad Manager services with third-party ad server and advertising space sales platform solutions, per L’Autorité, as well as agreeing to end provisions that favor itself.

“The practices in question are particularly serious because they penalized Google’s competitors in the SSP market and the publishers of sites and mobile applications,” it writes in a press release (translated from French with Google Translate). “Among these, the press groups — including those who were [the source] of the referral to the Authority — were affected even though their economic model is also strongly weakened by the decline in sales of paper subscriptions and the decline in associated advertising revenue.”

L’Autorité confirmed it has accepted Google’s commitments — and makes them binding in its decision. The commitments will be mandatory for a three year period, per the agreement.

The commitments Google has offered appear to speak to some operational details that have emerged via a Texas antitrust lawsuit also targeting Google’s adtech.

Earlier this year, documents surfaced via that suit which appeared to show the tech giant operated a secret program that used data from past bids in its digital ad exchange to allegedly give its own ad-buying system an advantage over competitors, per the WSJ — which reported that the so-called ‘Project Bernanke’ program was not disclosed to publishers who sold ads through Google’s exchange.

In the area of data access, Google has committed to the L’Autorité to devise a solution to ensure that all buyers which use Google Ad Manager to participate in its ad exchange receive equal access to data from its auctions — “to help them efficiently buy ad space from publishers”. Including when publishers use an off-platform technique called ‘Header Bidding’ (which enables publishers to run an auction among multiple ad exchanges but which, as a result of how Google operates, has meant such buyers may be at a data disadvantage vs those participating through Google’s own platform).

Google claims it is “usually not technically possible” for it to identify participants in Header Bidding auctions, and thus that it cannot share data with those buyers. But it’s now committed to address that by working “to create a solution that ensures that all buyers that a publisher works with, including those who participate in Header Bidding, can receive equal access to data related to outcomes from the Ad Manager auction”.

It notes that “in particular” it will be “providing information around the ‘minimum bid to win’ from previous auctions”, going forward — which would address one disadvantageous blind-spot for publishers taking an off-platform route to try to earn more ad revenue.

Another commitment from Google to the French watchdog is a pledge to increase flexibility for publishers using its Ad Manager product — including by letting them set custom pricing rules for ads that are in sensitive categories and implementing product changes aimed at improving interoperability between Ad Manager and third-party ad servers.

Google also writes that it is “reaffirming” that it won’t limit Ad Manager publishers from negotiating specific terms or pricing directly with other sell-side platforms (SSPs); and says it is committing to continue to provide publishers with controls to include or exclude certain buyers at their discretion when they use its product.

The third batch of commitments focus on transparency — and the opacity of adtech has long been a core criticism of the market, including for the competitive dimension as unclear workings by dominant platforms can be used to shield abusive practices from view. (Indeed, L’Autorité already fined Google $166M back in December 2019 for having what it billed then as “opaque and difficult to understand” rules for its ad platform, Google Ads, and for applying them in “an unfair and random manner.”)

On transparency, Google has pledged not to use data from other SSPs to optimize bids in its own exchange in a way that other SSPs can’t reproduce. It also says it’s reupping a promise not to share any bid from any Ad Manager auction participants with any other auction participant prior to completion of the auction.

“Additionally, we’ll give publishers at least three months’ notice for major changes requiring significant implementation effort that publishers must adopt, unless those are related to security or privacy protections, or are required by law,” it further notes.

The commitments made to L’Autorité will apply to how Google operates its adtech in the French market — but are also set to be applied more widely.

“We will be testing and developing these changes over the coming months before rolling them out more broadly, including some globally,” Gomri added in the blog post.

L’Autorité‘s action comes after years of attention paid to the online advertising market.

Back in 2018 it published a report that delved into a number of competitive advantages leveraged by Facebook and Google, noting how the duopoly’s ad targeting offerings benefit from their leadership positions in respective markers and the resultant network effects; and also from their vertical integration model (playing in both publishing and technical intermediation); as well as from the ‘logged’ environments both have developed, requiring users to log in to access ‘free’ services — giving them access to a high volume of sociodemographic and behavioral data to power their ad targeting products, among other competitive advantages.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has also conducted an online ad market study in recent years — findings from which are underpinning ‘pro-competition’ regulatory reform that’s now being targeted at tech giants with ‘strategic market status’ which will, in the future, be subject to an ex ante regime of custom requirements aimed at preemptively preventing market abuse.

The European Commission has, meanwhile, issued multiple antitrust enforcements against Google’s business in recent years — including a $1.7BN fine related to its search ad brokering business, AdSense, in 2019, and a $2.7BN penalty for its price comparison service, Google Shopping, back in 2017, to name two.

More recently, the EU regulators have been reported to be further probing Google’s adtech practices. So more interventions could be forthcoming.

However the Commission’s preferred approach of not imposing specific remedies itself — nor obtaining specific commitments, beyond a general requirement not to continue the sanctioned abuse (or any equivalent behavior) — seems to have failed to move the needle, certainly where Google’s market dominance is concerned.

Still, EU lawmakers’ experience with Google antitrust cases has certainly informed a recent pan-EU plan for a set of ex ante rules to apply to digital ‘gatekeepers’ — incoming under the Digital Markets Act, which was presented by Brussels last December.

#ad-server, #adtech, #advertising-tech, #antitrust, #competition, #digital-marketing, #europe, #european-union, #france, #google, #google-shopping, #google-ad-manager, #news-showcase, #online-advertising, #texas

Europe to press the adtech industry to help fight online disinformation

The European Union plans to beef up its response to online disinformation, with the Commission saying today it will step up efforts to combat harmful but not illegal content — including by pushing for smaller digital services and adtech companies to sign up to voluntary rules aimed at tackling the spread of this type of manipulative and often malicious content.

EU lawmakers pointed to risks such as the threat to public health posed by the spread of harmful disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines as driving the need for tougher action.

Concerns about the impacts of online disinformation on democratic processes are another driver, they said.

A new more expansive code of practice on disinformation is now being prepared — and will, they hope, be finalized in September, to be ready for application at the start of next year.

The Commission’s gear change is a fairly public acceptance that the EU’s voluntary code of practice — an approach Brussels has taken since 2018 — has not worked out as hope. And, well, we did warn them.

A push to get the adtech industry on board with demonetizing viral disinformation is certainly overdue.

It’s clear the online disinformation problem hasn’t gone away. Some reports have suggested problematic activity — like social media voter manipulation and computational propaganda — have been getting worse in recent years, rather than better.

However getting visibility into the true scale of the disinformation problem remains a huge challenge given those best placed to know (ad platforms) don’t freely open their systems to external researchers. And that’s something else the Commission would like to change.

Signatories to the EU’s current code of practice on disinformation are:

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, TikTok, Mozilla, DOT Europe (Former EDiMA), the  World  Federation  of Advertisers  (WFA) and its Belgian counterpart, the  Union  of  Belgian  Advertisers  (UBA);  the  European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), and its national members from France, Poland and the Czech Republic — respectively, Association   des   Agences   Conseils   en   Communication   (AACC), Stowarzyszenie Komunikacji Marketingowej/Ad Artis Art Foundation (SAR), and Asociace Komunikacnich Agentur (AKA); the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Europe), Kreativitet & Kommunikation, and Goldbach Audience (Switzerland) AG.

EU lawmakers said they want to broaden participation by getting smaller platforms to join, as well as recruiting all the various players in the adtech space whose tools provide the means for monetizing online disinformation.

Commissioners said they want to see the code covering a “whole range” of actors in the online advertising industry (i.e. rather than the current handful).

It’s certainly notable that the digital advertising industry body Internet Advertising Bureau is not on that list. (We’ve reached out to the IAB Europe to ask if it’s planning to join the code and will update this report with any response.)

In its press release today the Commission also said it wants platforms and adtech players to exchange information on disinformation ads that have been refused by one of them — so there can be a more coordinate response to shut out bad actors.

As for those who are signed up already, the Commission’s report card on their performance was bleak.

Speaking during a press conference, internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said that only one of the five platform signatories to the code has “really” lived up to its commitments — which was presumably a reference to the first five tech giants in the above list (aka: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and TikTok).

Breton demurred on doing an explicit name-and-shame of the four others — who he said have not “at all” done what was expected of them — saying it’s not the Commission’s place to do that.

Rather he said people should decide among themselves which of the platform giants that signed up to the code have failed to live up to their commitments. (Signatories since 2018 have pledged to take action to disrupt ad revenues of accounts and websites that spread disinformation; to enhance transparency around political and issue-based ads; tackle fake accounts and online bots; to empower consumers to report disinformation and access different news sources while improving the visibility and discoverability of authoritative content; and to empower the research community so outside experts can help monitor online disinformation through privacy-compliant access to platform data.)

Frankly it’s hard to imagine who from the above list of five tech giants might actually be meeting the Commission’s bar. (Microsoft perhaps, on account of its relatively modest social activity vs the others.)

Safe to say, there’s been a lot of more hot air (in the form of selective PR) on the charged topic of disinformation vs hard accountability from the major social platforms over the past three years.

So it’s perhaps no accident that Facebook chose today to puff up its historical efforts to combat what it refers to as “influence operations” — aka “coordinated efforts to manipulate or corrupt public debate for a strategic goal” — by publishing what it couches as a “threat report” detailing what it’s done in this area between 2017 and 2000.

Influence ops refer to online activity that may be being conducted by hostile foreign governments or by malicious agents seeking, in this case, to use Facebook’s ad tools as a mass manipulation tool — perhaps to try to skew an election result or influence the shape of looming regulations. And Facebook’s ‘threat report’ states that the tech giant took down and publicly reported only 150 such operations over the report period.

Yet as we know from Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang, the scale of the problem of mass malicious manipulation activity on Facebook’s platform is vast and its response to it is both under-resourced and PR-led. (A memo written by the former Facebook data scientist, covered by BuzzFeed last year, detailed a lack of institutional support for her work and how takedowns of influence operations could almost immediately respawn — without Facebook doing anything.)

NB: If it’s Facebook’s “broader enforcement against deceptive tactics that do not rise to the level of [Coordinate Inauthentic Behavior]” that you’re looking for, rather than efforts against ‘influence operations’, it has a whole other report for that — the Inauthentic Behavior Report! — because of course Facebook gets to mark its own homework when it comes to tackling fake activity, and shapes its own level of transparency since there are no legally binding reporting rules on disinformation.

Legally binding rules on handling online disinformation aren’t in the EU’s pipeline either — but commissioners said today that they wanted a beefed up and “more binding” code.

They do have some levers to pull here via a wider package of digital reforms that’s coming (aka the Digital Services Act).

The DSA will bring in legally binding rules for how platforms handle illegal content and they intend the tougher disinformation code to plug into that (in the form of what they call a “co-regulatory backstop for the measures that will be included in the revised and strengthened Code”).

It still won’t be legally binding but it may earn compliant platforms wider DSA ‘credit’. So it looks like disinformation-muck-spreaders’ arms are set to be twisted in a pincer regulatory move by making sure this stuff is looped into the legally binding DSA.

Still, Brussels maintains that it does not want to legislate around disinformation.

The risks are that a centralized approach might smell like censorship — and it sounds keen to avoid that charge at all costs.

The digital regulation packages the EU has put forward since the 2019 collage took up its mandate aim generally to increase transparency, safety and accountability online, its values and transparency commissioner, Vera Jourova, said today.

Breton also said that now is the “right time” to deepen obligations under the disinformation code — with the DSA incoming — and also to give the platforms time to adapt (and involve themselves in discussions on shaping additional obligations).

In another interesting remark he also talked about regulators needing to “be able to audit platforms” — in order to be able to “check what is happening with the algorithms that push these practices”. Though quite how audit powers can be made to fit with a voluntary, non-legally binding code of practice remains to be seen.

Discussing areas where the current code has fallen short Jourova pointed to inconsistencies of application across different EU Member States and languages.

She also said the Commission is keen for the beefed up code to do more to enable and empower users to act when they see something dodgy online — such as by providing users with tools to flag problem content.

Platforms should also provide users with the ability to appeal disinformation content takedowns (to avoid the risk of opinions being incorrectly removed).

The focus for the code would be on tackling false “facts not opinions”, she emphasized, saying the Commission wants platforms to “embed fact-checking into their systems” and for the code to work towards a “decentralized care of facts”.

She went on to say that the current signatories to the code haven’t provided external researchers with the kind of data access the Commission would like to see — to support greater transparency into (and accountability around) the disinformation problem.

The code does require either monthly (for COVID-19 disinformation), six monthly or yearly reports from signatories (depending on the size of the entity) but what’s being provided so far doesn’t add up to a comprehensive picture of disinformation activity and platform reaction, she said.

She also warned that online manipulation tactics are fast evolving and highly innovative — while saying the Commission would nonetheless like to see signatories agree on a set of identifiable “problematic techniques” to help speed up responses.

EU lawmakers will be coming with a specific plan for tackling political ads transparency in November, she noted.

They are also, in parallel, working on how to respond to the threat posed to European democracies by foreign interference cyberops — such as the aforementioned influence operations often found hosted on Facebook’s platform.

The commissioners did not give many details of those plans today but Jourova said it’s “high time to impose costs on perpetrators” — suggesting that some interesting possibilities may be being considered, such as trade sanctions for state-backed disops (although attribution would be one challenge).

Breton said countering foreign influence over the “informational space” is important work to defend the values of European democracy.

He also said the Commission’s anti-disinformation efforts would focus on support for education to help equip citizens with the necessary critical thinking capabilities to navigate the huge quantities of variable quality information that now surrounds them.

 

#ad-tools, #adtech, #advertising-tech, #deception, #digital-services, #digital-services-act, #disinformation, #europe, #european-union, #facebook, #google, #online-disinformation, #policy, #thierry-breton, #tiktok, #vera-jourova

A new YouTube feature will make its connected TV ads more shoppable

YouTube today gave advertisers a sneak peek at its plans to make its video platform more shoppable. The company will soon be introducing a new interactive feature aimed at advertisers called brand extensions, which will allow YouTube viewers to learn more about a product they see on the screen with a click of a button.

The new ad format will allow the advertiser to highlight their website link or another call-to-action in their connected TV video ad. The viewer can then click the option “send to phone,” which then sends that promotion or URL directly to their mobile device, without interrupting their viewing experience.

From the mobile device, the consumer could then shop the website as they would normally — browsing products, adding items to the cart, and completing the transaction. But they can do it when they’re ready to engage with that product information, instead of having to stop their video to do so.

The advertisers will also be able to smartly target the ads to the correct audience, based on the video content. For example, a fitness video may feature a brand extension ad that shows a new pair of running shoes.

Advertisers will be able to measure the conversions generated by these brand extensions directly in Google Ads, YouTube says.

In a related e-commerce ad effort, brands can now also add browsable product images to their direct response video ads, in order to encourage interested shoppers to click to visit their website or app.

These are only a few of the efforts YouTube has been working on with the goal of expand further into e-commerce.

Consumers, and particularly younger Gen Z users, today like to watch videos and engage while they shop, leading to the emergence of numerous video shopping services — like Popshop Live, NTWRK, ShopShops, TalkShopLive, Bambuser, and others. Facebook has also invested in live shopping and video-based shopping across both Facebook and Instagram.

Meanwhile, TikTok has become a home to video-based e-commerce, with Walmart (which also tried to acquire a stake in the app when Trump was trying to force a sale) hosting multiple shopping livestreams in recent months. TikTok also found success with e-commerce as it has rolled out more tools to direct video viewers to websites through integrated links and integrations with Shopify, for example.

But YouTube still has a sizable potential audience for video shopping, as it represents 40% of watch time of all ad-supported streaming services, per Comscore data. And of the top five streaming services in the U.S. that account for 80% of the connected TV market, only two are ad-supported, YouTube noted.

Ads are only one way YouTube will drive e-commerce traffic. Creators will also play a role.

A report from Bloomberg this past fall said YouTube was asking creators to tag and track the products they were featuring in their clips. YouTube later revealed more about this effort in February, saying it was beta testing a shopping experience that lets viewers shop from their favorite creators, and that this would roll out more broadly in 2021.

Brand extensions are separate from that effort, however, as they’re focused on giving the advertiser their own means to drive a shopping experience from a video.

YouTube says the new brand extensions ads are only the first of more interactive features the company has in store. The feature will roll out globally later this year.

#ad-technology, #ads, #adtech, #brands, #digital-marketing, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #google, #google-ads, #marketing, #online-advertising, #online-video-advertising, #shopping, #streaming-services, #video, #video-ads, #video-advertising, #youtube

#Brandneu – 7 neue Startups, die extrem spannend sind


deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

OpenDress
OpenDress aus Konstanz entwickelt einen Algorithmus für 3D-Schnittmuster. Zum Konzept teilt die Jungfirma mit: “The algorithmic customization of sewing patterns offers an alternative approach to sustainable and inclusive fashion production – without standardised rules, size ideologies and genderification”. Gegründet wurde das Startup von Frauke Link und Verena Ziegler.

Advanced Sponsorship Insights
Advanced Sponsorship Insights entwickelt ein datenbasiertes Ökosystem rund um das Thema Sponsoringanalyse. Damit möchte das Team den “wahren Wert von Sponsorship” ermitteln. Das Startup wurde von Paulo Pinto und Rainer Schuster gegründet, die beide jeweils über ein Jahrzehnt bei adidas gearbeitet haben.

Trackbar
Das junge Fitness-Startup Trackbar analysiert und digitalisiert mit einem Sensor Kraftübungen – und zwar “vom Home-Workout bis zum Fitnessstudio”. Neben Kunden und Kundinnen sind dabei auch Trainer*innen und Fitnessstudios Zielgruppe der Jungfirma aus Wien.

EasyOP
Das junge E-Health-Startup EasyOP verspricht seinen Nutzern im Vorfeld von Operationen bzw. medizinischen Eingriffen “umfassende Informationen, ärztliche Aufklärung und persönliche Beratung. Alles aus einer Hand. Ganz bequem von zu Hause”.

Mieterio
Über Mieterio können Immobilienbesitzer ihre Wohnung vermieten. Das Startup aus Karlsruhe kümmert sich dann um die Mietersuche, alle rechtlichen Themen und auch die Nebenkosten. “Wir kümmern uns als direkter Ansprechpartner um jegliche Belange des Mieters”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.

Floox
Das Stuttgarter Startup Floox bietet Online-Kurse zu unterschiedlichen Kunstrichtungen an. Auf der Website heißt es: “Weg vom Smartphone, ran an dein Kunstwerk! In unseren Online Kursen lernst du Schritt für Schritt, wie du coole Kunstwerke selbst erstellst”.

myuterus
Das junge Koblenzer FemTech myuterus bietet eine Online-Verhütungsberatung für Frauen an. “Ein Team von Expertinnen unterstützt Frauen per Video oder Telefon bei der Suche nach dem passenden Verhütungsmittel”, teilt Gründerin Leonie Fries zum Konzept mit.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#adtech, #advanced-sponsorship-insights, #aktuell, #brandneu, #e-health, #e-learning, #easyop, #femtech, #fitness, #floox, #georgensgmund, #karlsruhe, #koblenz, #konstanz, #kunst, #mieterio, #myuterus, #opendress, #proptech, #startup-radar, #stuttgart, #telemedizin, #trackbar, #wien

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Hanse Ventures investiert StrollMe + Pottsalat sammelt 2 Millionen ein – Revo Foods bekommt 1,5 Millionen


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 12. April werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

StrollMe
+++ Der Hamburger Geldgeber Hanse Ventures investiert gemeinsam mit Edition.VC, also Lovoo-Gründer Björn Bak, in StrollMe. Das Münchner Startup, das 2020 von Timon Beutel und Sebastian Reichelt gegründet wurde, bietet Kinderwagen und Kinderfahrräder im Abo. an. “Das Abo wächst mit deinem Kind mit und du bist immer mit der passenden Größe unterwegs. Es ist Zeit, Besitz neu zu denken und unsere Ressourcen zu schützen”, heißt es auf der Website. Hanse Ventures hält nun 16,7 % an StrollMe. Auf Edition.VC entfallen 9,3 %. Auf die Gründer entfallen jeweils 36 %. Zudem gibt es mit dem ClimateTech tree-for-good und Peøple who Kær, einem Startup rund um Nahrungsergänzungsmittel für Hunde anbietet, zwei weitere Neuzugänge im Portfolio von Hanse Ventures. Zu guter Letzt gehört neuerdings auch pryntad, ein Marktplatz für Printanzeigen, zum Portfolio von Hanse Ventures. Das AdTech, 2019 gegründet, ist aber auch schon auf der Website des Investors gelistet. Mehr auch im aktuellen News-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Pottsalat
+++ Die beiden BackWerk-Macher sowie Hans im Glück-Gesellschafter Hans Christian Limmer und Dirk Schneider und die Altinvestoren investieren 2 Millionen Euro in das Food-Startup Pottsalat. Das Unternehmen aus Essen, das 2016 von Ben Küstner, Pia Gerigk und Alexandra Künne gegründet wurde, beliefert derzeit den Großteil Essens sowie Teile von Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, Gelsenkirchen und Dortmund mit Salaten. “In 2019 erreichte das Unternehmen erstmals einen Jahresumsatz von über einer Million Euro. Diese Marke knackte Pottsalat in 2021 bereits im ersten Quartal”, teilt die Food-Firma mit. Mit dem frischen Kapital möchte das Pottsalat-Team im “Ruhrgebiet und darüber hinaus im Westen wachsen”. In der Vergangenheit investieren bereits die Business Angels Johannis Hatt, Kai Seefeldt, Oliver Weimann und Matthias Willenbacher in Pottsalat. Mehr über Pottsalat: “Hier kommt das Essen mit dem Fahrrad zum Kunden“.

Anzeige
+++ In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar abonnieren und 30 Tage kostenlos testen!

Revo Foods
+++ Hazelpond Capital, friends2grow, die MKO Holding aus Österreich und eine Reihe Business Angels investieren 1,5 Millionen Euro in das Wiener Food-Startup Revo Foods, früher als Legendary Vish bekannt. Das Unternehmen entwickelt pflanzliche Fischalternativen aus dem 3D-Drucker. Das Startup wurde 2020 von Robin Simsa und Theresa Rothenbücher gegründet.

tech11 
+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investiert eine siebenstellige Summe in das Würzburger InsurTech-Startup tech11.  Das, Unternehmen, das 2018 von Pierre Dubosq und Matthias Reining gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine digitale Plattform für die Policen- und Schadenverwaltung. “tech11 hat unter Verwendung modernster Technologie- und Industriestandards eine vollumfängliche End-to-End-Plattform für die Vertrags- und Schadenverwaltung auf der grünen Wiese gebaut”, teilt der Geldgeber mit.

Awake Mobility
+++ Synapse Partners aus dem Silicon Valley, der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und Vireo Ventures investieren in Awake Mobility. Das Münchner Startup möchte den ÖPNV digitalisieren. Konkret geht es unter anderem darum, Bus-Ausfälle zu verhindern und Instandhaltungskosten zu reduzieren. Gelingen soll dies mit Hilfe von Künstlicher Intelligenz und ganz ganz vielen Daten. Das Startup wurde 2020 von Houssem Braham, Daniel Sattel und Daniel Tyoschitz gegründet.

Immutable Insight
+++ Daniel Hopp, der Sohn von Dietmar Hopp, und andere Familienunternehmer investieren in Immutable Insight – siehe FinanceFWD. Das Blockchain-Startup wurde 2019 von Katharina Gehra, Volker Winterer und Giyun Jeong gegründet, arbeitet dem Bericht zufolge “zusammen mit Familienunternehmen an konkreten Blockchain-Projekten”. Darunter ein 100-Millionen-Fonds.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#adtech, #aktuell, #awake-mobility, #blockchainfonds, #edition-vc, #essen, #food, #friends2grow, #hanse-ventures, #hazelpond-capital, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #immutable-insight, #insurtech, #munchen, #people-who-kaer, #pottsalat, #pryntad, #revo-foods, #ruhrgebiet, #strollme, #synapse-partners, #tech11, #tree-for-good, #venture-capital, #vireo-ventures, #wien, #wurzburg