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New Business Bulletin: InPost, Outbrain, RangeMe and more

InPost, the out-of-home and eCommerce delivery company, has announced a new partnership with global marketplace eBay. The partnership signals InPost’s continued expansion in the UK and marks its commitment to providing flexible solutions for a growing C2C e-commerce market. eBay marketplace sellers will now have access to InPost’s 2,500 parcel lockers for the first time, enabling them to drop off parcels at lockers for onward delivery to buyers’ homes. The partnership expands the delivery options available to sellers at a time when many may be looking to capitalise on the increased appetite from consumers to complete their holiday shopping early due to supply chain shortages. The partnership with InPost will be accessible to marketplace sellers through eBay delivery, powered by Packlink.

Outbrain, a recommendation platform for the open web, has announced the renewal of its partnership with SQUID, a mobile-first personalized news service and application powering news for platforms including Huawei’s browser, to drive mobile-service monetization through Outbrain’s promoted recommendations. SQUID’s mission is to help users connect with interesting content in a fun way, reaching 10 million unique active users per month in 60+ markets. Through this partnership, SQUID will gain access to advertising revenue from Outbrain’s global network of 20,000+ native advertisers running promoted recommendation campaigns on Outbrain. Together with SQUID, Outbrain’s promoted recommendations will offer relevant, non-intrusive native advertising experiences to users creating personalized news feeds and sharing instantly across social platforms. With average Click-through-Rates (CTR) of 3-4%, Outbrain’s high-performance network will aid SQUID’s monetization across Android and iOS applications, as well as its integrations on -1 pages, browser, assistant, search and other pre-installed experiences. 

Grocer, Tesco, has partnered with the world’s largest product sourcing platform RangeMe to support their product buying teams with access to the most relevant products their customers demand. Tesco will leverage RangeMe to help their buyers scale product sourcing efforts with streamlined submissions and simplified discovery tools. Buyers can filter searches to find brands and products meeting exact sourcing needs, seamless connectivity and collaboration with suppliers, and access curated collections to help identify and understand category trends and emerging brands.

Colour blindness affects one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%); 350 million people worldwide, almost three million in the United Kingdom and 381,000 in London alone. While people with normal colour vision see over one million shades of colour, those with colour vision deficiency (CVD) only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades. Common colour confusions include green and yellow, gray and pink, purple and blue, and red can appear brown (see images below). EnChroma’s one-of-a-kind London tube ads use precisely these colour confusions (i.e. red-green, shades of red and green) so that colour blind people actually can’t see Santa, Rudolph or the beer (“tragedy”) in each ad. No other brand has ever created ads targeting the colour blind population with a product specifically for them that can enable them to see the colours of the holiday season for the first time in their lives.

NextPlay Technologies, Inc., a digital business ecosystem for digital advertisers, consumers, video gamers and travelers, has teamed with Soma Innovation Lab and NFT Pro to launch NextPlay X Soma Labs, a digital design and innovation lab focused on developing non-fungible tokens (NFTs), social games and Metaverse virtual worlds for major brands, creators and agencies. The joint venture will leverage Soma’s extended reality solutions, NFT Pro’s non-fungible tokens technology platform and NextPlay’s proprietary in-game advertising, game development, crypto-banking, Connected TV, travel booking engine and other NextPlay digital technologies to build foundational pathways to the Metaverse. This includes travel destinations, game worlds, museums, shopping centers, stores, social clubs and more—all experienced in the Metaverse. As a demonstration of this interconnected ecosystem, in a matter of a few weeks, the company expects to launch Issue by Travel Magazine (“Issue”), an adventure travel portal that will offer inviting onramps into the Metaverse. As an extension of NextPlay’s existing Travel Magazine, Issue will feature immersive content, XR showrooms, mini games, NFT offerings and more—all created by NextPlay X Soma Labs. NextPlay’s technical teams will lead the lab’s development effort, including conceptualization, character development, and asset design, as well as the creation of marketplaces that offer NFT smart contracts. Soma brings to the joint effort expertise in the production of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality media, as well as the creation of film, gaming, television, and music video content for global brands and advertising agencies worldwide. In addition to creating metaverse spaces, the lab will provide end-to-end solutions for brands and advertisers to launch their own branded, fully customizable NFTs-powered experiences and marketplaces directly on their website. NFT Pro will support the lab’s NFT digital asset offerings. NFTs can represent real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos, and are usually encoded with the same underlying technology as cryptocurrencies.

Engineering productivity company Haystack Analytics has reported continued strong business performance as it introduces its enterprise offering less than 6 months after announcing seed funding. Revenues have increased by an average of over 35% month-over-month as demand amongst high-profile customers has grown. As demand amongst enterprise customers has grown, Haystack has continued to innovate to meet demand. New functionality includes a custom Query Builder, allowing advanced visualization of developer productivity data, alongside the ability to accurately map internal personnel transfers when calculating team performance. Most recently, to assist businesses undergoing digital transformations, Haystack has launched new functionality to accurately track software deployments. This allows developer teams to accurately calculate lead times right to the point where business value is being shipped into production environments. Additionally, Haystack can offer these accurate lead time calculations without the software changes required by other analytics solutions.

Proact has been named Career Company of the Year 2022 for excellent development opportunities and skills development. Career Company of the Year is an award presented by Karriärföretagen in Sweden for employers who offer unique career and development opportunities for young talent. Around 1,000 companies and agencies are shortlisted for 2022. Proact is one of around 100 employers to be awarded the Career Company of the Year 2022 accolade.

Cyren, a provider of email security and threat intelligence solutions, has announced an alliance agreement with KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform. The alliance will give customers access to an integrated and automated offering to secure inboxes against phishing attacks and improve the success of internal security awareness training programs. To help combat the ongoing threat from phishing and BEC scams, the partnership seamlessly integrates KnowBe4’s automated security awareness training and phishing simulation platform and the Cyren Inbox Security (CIS) email monitoring, detection and remediation platform to enable organizations to mitigate the potential impact of phishing attacks on their business and reinforce security awareness training amongst employees to reduce the cost of phishing response and remediation.

commercetools has announced the acquisition of Frontastic, makers of the Composable Frontend Platform that allows brands and retailers to create outstanding shopping experiences across multiple channels. The acquisition comes after commercetools announced its Series C funding round in September as the company focuses on broadening the reach of its game-changing commerce technology for creating differentiated user experiences. Frontastic provides modern frontend technologies for better commerce sites. Dubbed a Composable Frontend Platform, it enables brands and merchants to quickly build unique experiences and lets enterprises enter new markets and launch products faster without needing herds of developers. It is used by international brands such as Universal Music, Flaconi and APG & Co.

Enterprise CMS company Storyblok has completed a major new project with Dutch drinks giant Bols to help it offer products direct to consumers. Bols, known to be the world’s oldest distillery brand, has traditionally generated the majority of its profit from bars and restaurants. However, with hospitality put on hold during the pandemic, the drinks giant has decided to expand its offering to consumers. A key component of this move is revamping its website and associated infrastructure to create a modern consumer facing website with dedicated communications. Storyblok has partnered Dutch design company Story of AMS to help Bols create a modern immersive, customer experience using headless CMS technology. Headless CMS provides the flexibility needed to get new content out to a range of markets and channels quickly, easily and with total scalability. It is the latest example of headless tech being used by major brands to overhaul their marketing and communication functions in light of changing consumer demand brought on by the pandemic. Using Storyblok’s headless CMS technology will also enable Bols to deliver highly localised content – which will be key as the drinks company expands into the US.

Early stage venture fund Leo Capital plans to launch a new fund following two successful funds, this news comes hot on the heels as India is set to receive a record $35b in venture funding from global investors. Over the past 3 years, Leo Capital has raised $106m for two funds from investors around the world seeking technology centric opportunities in India and Southeast Asia. The Indian start-up ecosystem presents a blossoming opportunity for global investors. India is set to surpass the record level of total investment it saw last year when venture funding totalled $33.8 billion. Indian startups received $26.7 billion in the first three quarters of this year alone, putting the nation on track for well more than $35 billion in investment by the end of 2021.

LEAF Mobile Inc. (TSX: LEAF) (OTCQB: LEMLF), a Canadian free-to-play mobile game group, is pleased to announce its intention to join the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (“LSE”) this winter. The Company, which started trading its common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) on February 10th, 2021, will assume a dual-listed structure. The Company’s common shares will continue to be listed and trade on the TSX in Canada under the symbol “LEAF”, as well as trade on the OTC Markets Group’s OTCQB Marketplace in the United States under the symbol “LEMLF”. The Company intends to raise gross proceeds of approximately CAD$10 million and the flotation is expected to value LEAF Mobile at approximately £130m.

Adludio, the London-based adtech company that is a leader in the field of mobile advertising, has secured a £4m investment from Mercia to propel further growth in the US and internationally. Mercia was investing from its Northern Venture Capital Trust (VCT) Funds. Jason Warren of Mercia said: “Mobile has become the primary means of consuming content, yet the majority of mobile advertising remains static. Adludio is redefining mobile advertising and is recognised as a leader in the field. We are delighted to be backing the company on the next stage of its journey. The combination of established international traction and scalable technology alongside this fresh capital leaves the business in great shape to grow rapidly in the coming years.”

Stor.ai, the end-to-end digital commerce solution for grocers, has announced the launch of a new product suite designed to equip grocers and CPGs with state-of-the-art analytics tools which glean insights on data acquired from ecommerce transactions. Grocery stores and chains of all sizes can now present a more relevant, and therefore lucrative, offering to CPGs, widening their ecommerce profit margins and tailoring their digital experience to their customer base. Stor.ai’s data analytics product suite will grant CPGs access to in-depth insights, gleaned from across Stor.ai’s network of hundreds of partner grocery stores and chains, which correlate customer engagement with store preference or demographic factors such as geography. In this way, CPGs can accurately assess the impact of their online promotions, boost their understanding of consumer preferences, and strengthen their ability to cater to different customer demographics. Automated, real-time communication between retailers and CPGs can identify bottlenecks, helping the latter immediately withdraw promotions for out-of-stock products.

US-based logistics unicorn ShipBob has announced a major European expansion of 20 fulfilment centres as the firm looks to uncover the next unicorn consumer brands in the UK and capitalise on the continued ecommerce surge. UK brands are set to benefit first from ShipBob’s international expansion. Alongside enhancing domestic deliveries, partnering with ShipBob will offer British brands instant access to consumers across the North American market and the ability to ship to US shoppers within days. ShipBob will also provide brands with peace of mind against supply chain challenges by offering instant access to its network of popular national and international carrier partners, ensuring that products can always be delivered to a consumer’s door. The company has appointed Enda Breslin as EMEA General Manager. Breslin’s first focus will be in building the company’s UK operations to at least 5 ecommerce fulfilment centres in 2022. By 2023, the company intends to have 20 fulfilment centres across Europe and create 300 permanent jobs in the UK and another 200 across Europe. 

To mark Anti-Bullying Week 2021, The Cybersmile Foundation has teamed up with Instagram to launch a new campaign encouraging young people to #CreateAKinderEnvironment online. Styled as the ultimate recipe to #CreateAKinderEnvironment (C.A.K.E. for short), The Cybersmile Foundation and Instagram have collaborated with Dr Barbara Mariposa, a mental health and wellbeing expert, to educate teens on all the necessary ingredients to cook up and serve kindness online. The ‘recipe’ offers advice from Cybersmile on how best to reach out and be an ally, as well as highlighting the safety tools available on Instagram to keep everyone protected while encouraging a positive online environment. The recipe will be shared by inspiring UK creators including Dr Alex George, Megan Jayne Crabbe and Nikki Lilly, with the purpose of encouraging young people to follow the advice and #CreateAKinderEnvironment online. Social media users will also be encouraged to share the cake emoji as a symbol of their support for a kinder online environment. The overarching message will be that by standing together and taking small actions, we all have the power to build a kinder environment on social media; replacing the unwanted interactions that can get people down, with simple acts of kindness that could lift people up instead. 

Acoustic, an open and independent marketing cloud and analytics provider, announced today that it has entered an alliance with KPMG. This new alliance will provide KPMG Marketing Consulting and Acoustic Marketing Cloud customers with enhanced implementation support in their pursuit of providing their own end consumers with personalized, cross-channel experiences. These services also include discovery prior to implementation, configuration based upon each customer’s specific goals and influencing factors, and campaign builds and migrations.

Xero, the global small business platform, has announced a new integration with Shopify and revealed it has joined the Shopify Plus Certified App Program (PCAP), a select group of partners that supports the advanced needs of Shopify’s global merchants. These are important steps towards solving common customer pain points and demonstrate a commitment to help ecommerce sellers to get started, grow, and increase efficiencies. The new Xero & Shopify integration will be available in both the Shopify App Store and the new Xero App Store. This will enable Shopify’s more than 1.7 million merchants to discover Xero’s global small business platform, while also giving Xero customers access to Shopify’s product using the Xero App Store’s new subscription tools and one-click sign-up (where available by region). The integration helps small business owners save time on admin by reducing the manual data entry and paperwork associated with reconciling and interpreting sales data, giving them an up-to-date view of their finances, cash flow and business performance wherever they are.

DoubleVerify (“DV”) (NYSE: DV), a software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, today announced that the DV Publisher Suite is now available to European publishers. Additionally, DV has expanded its Publisher Division to Europe to manage growing demand, accelerating support and ensuring success for the company’s local customers. In August 2020, DV debuted a new division to support digital publishers. The division features more than 70 employees globally across insights, R&D and engineering, with about 25% of those employees now operating in Europe. Through the division, DV launched the DV Publisher Suite, empowering publishers with the measurement, insights and tools needed to improve ad delivery, enhance inventory quality and drive performance, boosting yield. DV Publisher Suite is a comprehensive, best-in-class solution to accurately track revenue across direct and programmatic channels, manage and optimize media quality, and gain clarity into how publisher inventory is perceived by buyers.

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