Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: ESW, Optimizely, øxArt and many more

ESW (formerly eShopWorld), the global direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce company, has announced that it will provide 100% carbon neutral shipping to its clients, which include Gucci, Kering, Abercrombie & Fitch, LK Bennett, J. Crew, and other brands. The carbon-neutral promise extends beyond just transcontinental air freight to include first, middle, and last mile deliveries. ESW’s offsets will be achieved through the funding of renewable energy production by supporting EcoAct-verified wind farm projects.

Optimizely®, the digital experience platform (DXP) provider, has announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Google Cloud, which includes moving its market-leading experimentation solutions to Google Cloud. The multi-year agreement indicates a commitment by the two companies to collaborate on innovative opportunities and bring advanced, digital-first marketing solutions to market. Through the new partnership, customers can benefit from working with the de facto leader in experimentation for enterprise companies and Google Cloud’s trusted, secure infrastructure and capabilities in AI, ML and analytics. Optimizely’s Web Experimentation and Full Stack Experimentation allow marketers to take the guesswork out of delivering personalised, meaningful engagements. Optimizely will continue to fuel best-in-class experiences for its customers as they move to Google Cloud. Google Cloud and Optimizely will also coordinate a joint go-to-market and sales execution strategy to seamlessly deliver experimentation solutions to customers around the world. As part of the multi-year agreement, Optimizely and Google Cloud will collaborate closely on co-innovation, developing new and expanded digital offerings that bring the best experience possible to new and existing customers. Joint Optimizely experimentation and Google Cloud customers will reap the robust benefits of moving to Google Cloud, including flexibility and control, unmatched security, productivity and reliability.

London based tech firm øxArt which specialises in blockchain technologies, launches its first curated collection of physical artworks sold by NFT Deeds featuring paintings by some of the world’s most renowned artists including Warhol, Picasso and Renoir. The collection, named Pioneers, will be showcased at an exclusive preview event at The Arts Club, London in the heart of Mayfair on Tuesday 1st of March. The preview will mark the debut of øxArt’s collection which will feature defining artworks from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. as well as kicking-off an exciting series of events, taking the collection stateside for its official opening at SXSW from 13th March.

Outbrain Inc. has announced the release of Engagement Bid Strategy (EBS), a new automatic performance optimization solution which does not require the use of 3rd party cookies or website tracking codes and can be optimized to a wider range of campaign goals. The new solution automatically optimizes ad creative serving and adjusts cost-per-click bidding by analyzing data from the advertiser website analytics system. EBS does not require any campaign tracking code (sometimes referred to as a ‘performance pixel’) to be installed on the advertiser website making campaign set up and performance much simpler and faster.

AstroPay, the online payment solution of choice of over five million users in the world, is pleased to announce a high-profile sponsorship deal with Crystal Palace Football Club as the official training wear sponsor. As part of the partnership, AstroPay will have its branding and logo visible on Crystal Palace’s training kit, as well as LED advertising at Selhurst Park on every matchday, and visibility across the club’s social media. Crystal Palace will also feature AstroPay branding on the popular PalaceTV content series, “Copers Cope TV”, which offers fans extensive footage of the club’s training sessions. For AstroPay, the partnership supports its ongoing strategy to strengthen its brand and profile in the UK, following its expansion to European markets last year. AstroPay will also benefit from partnering with the club as it continues through the Premier League season, the most-watched football league in the world, and continue to grow its customer base.

Discovery UK has outlined plans to introduce an ‘Ad-Lite’ offering for discovery+ customers in the UK and Ireland. From 16 March, the discovery+ Entertainment Pass will be available at the lower price of £3.99/ €4.99 p.c.m or £39.99/ €49.99 p.a (currently £4.99/€5.99 p.c.m or £49.99/€59.99 p.a). The ‘Ad-Lite’ product will offer customers increased value for money and continued access to all the best unscripted content from the definitive non-fiction streaming service, discovery+  is the first global SVOD service to launch an ‘Ad-Lite’ offering in the UK, this follows the successful launch of the Discovery ‘Ad-Lite’ product in the US, with a further roll-out across EMEA expected this year. 

Starburst, the analytics anywhere company, has announced it has secured a $250 million Series D funding round at a $3.35 billion valuation. The financing round was led by Alkeon Capital, with participation from Altimeter Capital and B Capital Group, as well as existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue Management, Index Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. The round brings Starburst’s total financing to date to $414 million, as the company ramps up operations to meet the industry’s growing demand for faster analytics on decentralised data.

eyeo, developer of the ad-filtering technology that powers Adblock Plus and pioneers in building a fair value exchange between advertisers, publishers and users, has launched Trestle in Europe. Trestle will help EU advertisers connect with over 65 million users who were never available before due to ad blocking. Following a successful Trestle launch in the United States and a growing demand, eyeo has moved onto the next step of their solutions journey. Trestle is the only advertiser solution with a 100-percent focus on serving ads that comply with the Acceptable Ads Standard, an independently established and transparent set of criteria for nonintrusive ads. Trestle will become the marketplace that will offer a sustainable and fair middle ground between user choice and monetization, benefitting European advertisers, publishers and users alike.

PayU, the fintech and online payments provider across high-growth emerging markets, has announced that a new innovative credit solution developed by PayU is now available to Romanian shoppers. Bucharest-based online retailer eMAG is the first partner to offer its customers the possibility to either postpone a payment or to pay in four instalments for all categories of products either in its own offer or for products sold by sellers active on the eMAG Marketplace. PayU’s credit solution is available to Romanian shoppers in two separate options: Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), where the shopper postpones the payment for 30 days without any additional costs, and payment in four monthly instalments (SLICE IT), where the first instalment is paid at a transaction date and the rest across a three-calendar month period. The payment methods are currently available in Beta version for eMAG customers with a history of trading and payment.

CybExer Technologies, a NATO-awarded cyber range company with global customers spanning international defence organisations, financial institutions, and critical infrastructure enterprises, has announced a €5m funding round to meet market demand and expand its global operations in the face of  a global cyber security skills gap and the explosive growth in increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks. The investment round was led by Karma Ventures who are joined by First Fellow Partners, Specialist VC and select angel investors with deep cyber security industry experience.eet market demand and expand its global operations in the face of  a global cyber security skills gap and the explosive growth in increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Avery Dennison has announced its elevation to full Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) membership. ETI is a global tripartite organization comprised of apparel brands, trade unions and NGOs that work together to uphold the rights of all workers, ensuring member companies advance ethical trading practices, while making a positive impact on workers’ lives. Avery Dennison RBIS (Retail Branding and Information Solutions) has been actively engaged as foundation member of ETI since January 2020, and has successfully completed a rigorous audit process to validate conformance with ETI’s Base Code and standards. The elevation to full membership further demonstrates the business’s commitment to strengthening the transparency of labor practices in its facilities, as well as improving the lives of all employees who work across its supply chain.

NextPlay Technologies, Inc., has announced that NextBank International, the international banking unit of its fintech division, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) with Alphabit Consulting Pte. Ltd., to provide deposit accounts and payment cards for members of its ABCC cryptocurrency exchange. The NextBank accounts will maintain ABCC users’ fiat (government issued) cash balances, permitting them to trade between fiat currency and cryptocurrency on ABCC exchange. Account holders will also be able to apply for payment cards that would allow them to make payments secured by their cryptocurrency balances.

InPost Group, the European ecommerce delivery provider, has signed a five-year partnership agreement with Vinted – Europe’s largest online consumer-to-consumer marketplace dedicated to second-hand fashion – to become one of Vinted’s shipping partners across Europe. The service will be provided under the InPost brand in the UK, Poland and Italy, and Mondial Relay in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. The agreement will leverage InPost’s extensive cross-border network of 35,000 out-of-home delivery sites across Europe. In the UK, the partnership means that Vinted sellers can drop off parcels at one of over 3,000 lockers units across the country in a matter of seconds and at a time that suits them, for onward delivery to buyers’ homes. The partnership aims to make parcel drop-offs easy and contact-free for second-hand sellers, enabling them to fit them around their daily lives. The pan-European partnership will vary by market, for example in Poland Vinted buyers will also be able to receive purchases from lockers; offering an economical, convenient option that lets them receive purchases at a time that suits them – rather than waiting at home to receive parcels. In addition to the cost savings over home delivery, shipping to the company’s Automated Parcel Machine (APM) lockers and other locations reduces CO2 emissions by as much as two-thirds in cities compared to door-to-door services.

Liefergrünthe sustainable last mile shipping platform, has closed a €3 million seed round led by Speedinvest. Liefergrün will use the investment to grow its team, expand its platform and begin preparations for rolling its service across major European cities including London, Paris and Madrid. Norrsken VC also contributed to the round. Liefergrün, which is currently present in 30 cities across Germany, uses a fleet of cargo bikes and electric vehicles based at scores of micro distribution hubs to enable emission-free delivery of goods bought online to consumers.  

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) is excited to announce a three-year extension to its long-term collaboration with Disney UK – tied to Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City until December 2024. Westfield will continue to promote a best-in-class entertainment experience for consumers in parallel with promoting the slate of eagerly anticipated Disney blockbusters arriving on cinema screens this year. This includes; Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear and 20th Century Studios’ Avatar 2. The new agreement will see 360 integration into Westfield’s media and experiential inventory, including event sponsorship, branded experiences, and co-branded digital and static media, as well as print and digital amplification. By working collaboratively, Disney and Westfield will continue to promote industry leading customer experience and services to connect with the millions of visitors to Westfield London and Stratford City each year. It will also see the continuation of the Disney branded family assets within both Westfield centres: Mickey Mouse Roadster Racer Playworlds and Winnie the Pooh Family Rooms.

MatchTune, the music technology company that simplifies music-to-media integration, has announced the launch of AI-powered app TuneBlades. The smart music editing tool resizes, remixes and adjusts any song automatically according to the desired duration while preserving melody fundamentals and vocals, giving content creators access to tailored music in a matter of seconds. Created by the collaboration of renowned musicians and experienced engineers, TuneBlades’ innovative AI and algorithms quickly and efficiently create variations of professional-level music, removing the workload traditionally associated with advanced music editing. Using science and artificial intelligence, TuneBlades’ technology adapts music to match the diverse needs of the growing market of digital content makers. Via the mapping of key moments within a composition, TuneBlades is able to recognise and showcase the most suitable beats, tones and energy precisely having analysed moods, genres, instruments, BPM, pitch, voice and music – resulting in unbiased, efficient music reconfiguration.