Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: The Miroma Group, DigitalBits, Future Lions and more

Global independent marketing services group The Miroma Group has this week completed the acquisition of Maker Lab, the APAC powerhouse marketing agency that builds and embeds dedicated digital teams for some of the world’s biggest brands. The acquisition will strengthen The Miroma Group’s presence in APAC and is another crucial step in its plan to broaden the profile of its core offering to clients. It will also provide a springboard for Maker Lab to launch globally. 

David Beckham, global sporting icon, entrepreneur and philanthropist has become a global brand ambassador for the DigitalBits blockchain. Beckham will help to communicate the transformative power of the DigitalBits blockchain to consumers, brands and other organizations worldwide. With a shared interest in disruptive, inclusive technology, Beckham will embark on a series of exciting projects that will demonstrate the power and potential of DigitalBits blockchain technology, which is fast and eco-friendly compared to many other platforms. This global partnership will drive innovation and sustainability in the sector and cultivate new ways for Beckham to connect with his fans across the world. As DigitalBits is the Blockchain for Brands, Beckham will utilize his extensive experience and relationships working with global brands including Adidas, Maserati, Tudor, Sands, Diageo and EA.

Future Lions, AKQA’s annual global competition to unearth the next generation of creative talent, is now open for entries. This year’s Future Lions theme is a call to action for young people aged 18 – 25 to go Further Together. Applicants are encouraged to use their creative skills to show how we empower people to build a better future and overcome the barriers they face to create a healthier life for themselves. Celebrating its 16th year of the competition, AKQA is proud to announce Gymshark as the official client partner and TikTok as the official media partner for Future Lions 2022. Four winning teams will pitch their ideas live to an expert creative jury in summer 2022. The awards take place during the iconic Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June. The winning team will earn the opportunity to work with Gymshark and AKQA to bring their imaginations to life. Each of the winning teams will be honoured with a prestigious Future Lions trophy.

Neustar Inc., a TransUnion company, has announced a partnership with Permutive to enable trusted connections between advertisers and publishers by bridging the gap between consumer identity data and a privacy-first web. The partnership brings together the Neustar Fabrick™ data connectivity platform within the Permutive Audience Platform™ for advertisers and publishers to collaborate securely without the use of third-party cookies or device IDs. The partnership safeguards advertiser and publisher first-party identity data to bring addressability, transparency and privacy to digital advertising.

TrustedReviews Limited has announced a new B2B labs business and partnership with Quiet Mark, an authority for testing and certifying products’ noise levels. The Trusted Reviews Labs include state of the art test facilities for TV and audio, computing, gaming, photography and homes split across two London locations. Each lab features uniform, controlled environments and is fitted with expert test equipment to help our team accurately gauge a product’s performance and how it compares to competitors. The launch is part of a wider move to diversify TrustedReviews Limited’s revenue stream in the ever-evolving digital publishing landscape. Alongside the labs, Trusted Reviews has also announced a new partnership with industry-leading noise accreditor Quiet Mark, in a bid to help buyers make better-informed decisions. The deal takes immediate effect and will see the two bodies collaborate in a variety of ways. This will include sharing the data collected between both organizations’ labs during testing to offer readers better, more accurate buying advice that factors in noise pollution. This will cover everything from laptops and headphones, to white goods and small home appliances. The data collected during lab testing will be used to offer Trusted Reviews readers a new metric to base purchase decisions on while flagging if it has been accredited by Quiet Mark.

Outbrain Inc. a web recommendation platform has announced the expansion of its global partnership with Microsoft utilizing Microsoft Azure and encompassing business, technology and services. Outbrain has been a long-standing Microsoft partner, through technology and advertising integrations that span MSN, Microsoft 365, Xbox, gaming, and Microsoft Bing. The expansion of the partnership will entail a multi-year Azure engagement to further enable the fast-paced innovation of Outbrain’s media platform. Through a new multi-year strategic partnership, Outbrain aims to leverage Azure to further its global expansion, accelerate development cycles and improve connectivity between advertisers and publishers, particularly with Outbrain’s programmatic bidders. This partnership will support Outbrain’s continuous innovation enhancing Outbrain’s already extensive data with a rich set of tools and services, and ultimately helping Outbrain to provide its customers with the enhanced ability to improve their business outcomes.

Arma Partners is pleased to announce that it has acted as exclusive financial advisor to Summa Equity on its co-investment in TBAuctions. As part of the transaction, Summa Equity will merge and PS Auction, two leading auction platforms in the Nordic markets, as well as appraiser Bjarøy, with TBAuctions. Headquartered in Amsterdam, TBAuctions is an online auction platform and marketplace for second-hand and second chance goods with 13,000 auctions comprising 2.75 million lots per year and over 10 million website visitors per month, making it one of Europe’s largest online auctioneers. The addition of (one of Norway’s largest auctioneers), PS Auction (a leading Swedish auction house), and appraiser Bjarøy, will extend TBAuctions’ market-leading offering into the Nordic markets, support the development of its platform across Europe and enable further M&A.

Blidz, the social shopping app combining gamification and social group buying, has raised €6m in Seed funding led by General Catalyst and Peak with participation from D4 Ventures, Fabric Ventures, FJ Labs as well as existing investor IPR.VC. A group of angels such as Youngme Moon and Christopher North also participated in the heavily oversubscribed round. The funding is used to accelerate the company’s growth across Western markets as well as expand its supply chain and product suite.

UiPath, an enterprise automation software company, has announced the launch of its enhanced Technology Partner Programme, which brings together independent software vendors (ISVs) that co-innovate with UiPath to deliver end-to-end applications and solutions for their joint customers. The UiPath Technology Partner Programme now includes a variety of new technical, sales, and marketing offerings for partners to develop, test, and market their applications as well as promote complementary offerings.

Riverbed | Aternity has announced Riverbed eCDN Accelerator, a new enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) solution that vastly improves video performance and availability on an enterprise scale. Riverbed eCDN Acceleration is now integrated with leading live video applications Microsoft Teams and Stream, video event platforms like ON24 and video on-demand platforms that include Brightcove, Kaltura and Qumu.

The digital award season is in full swing, and the finalists for the 2022 PRmoment awards have been announced, with Bolton digital PR agency, The Audit Lab, shortlisted for the award for Best Digital PR Campaign of the Year with the campaign: Introducing Ruby Payne from UberKinky. Founded in 2017, the Bolton-based agency – past finalists for the Bolton and Bury Business Awards for Start-up Business of the Year – has grown to offer a whole range of digital marketing services: PPC, SEO, digital PR, content and social media marketing. And they have certainly carved an impressive space in the digital PR industry through their fast-paced growth, now recognised by the PRmoment Awards for their work with UberKinky. 

Liferay, Inc., has announced that it is making it even easier for companies to build and evolve digital experiences with a new cloud-based DXP-as-a-Service offering. Liferay Experience Cloud helps companies create, launch, and optimize digital experiences for their customers, employees, suppliers, and sellers. It includes content management, account management, analytics, commerce, personalization, and low code capabilities, delivered on an as-a-service cloud fully managed by Liferay.

Stratio, the real-time predictive fleet maintenance platform, is helping Go-Ahead Ireland (GAI), part of the Go-Ahead Group, a global transport provider of bus and rail services, to realize their shared vision of a zero-downtime future by minimizing service disruptions and preventing breakdowns. After a successful proof of concept (POC) trial in 2021, GAI decided to extend Stratio’s service to its entire fleet. The strong results of the trial indicate that Stratio’s technology will aim to reduce GAI’s vehicle breakdowns by over 57% in the next three years. Stratio enables GAI to turn its vehicle data into intelligence to inform and optimize maintenance operations. Its AI platform remotely collects and analyzes crucial indicators of vehicle condition, turning them into real-time actionable insights that allow GAI to predict breakdowns. With Stratio, GAI will be able to reduce the frequency of preventive checks and plan the wear rate of components dynamically, rather than relying on more approximative mileage-based estimates, ultimately saving time and resources. 

InMobi, a provider of content, monetisation and marketing technologies that help businesses fuel growth, has launched Meson, a truly independent SaaS mediation platform designed to help publishers white label it as an in-house solution. Publishers will get to fully own and manage their data, control each aspect of their monetisation, user experience, and linkages to user acquisition, and transparently review the end-to-end flow of advertising dollars to understand their true take rate. With ready-to-deploy application programming interface and software development kit integrations, Meson provides publishers with a straightforward independent mediation platform with a clean, user-friendly environment to optimise their return on investment while reducing the risk of first-party data leakage or having to work with players who have a conflict of interest.

Intercom, the Engagement OS, has launched two new products: Surveys, the only tool of its kind that equips businesses to capture and act on real-time customer feedback directly within their product, and Switch, a tool for support teams to seamlessly transition customers from phone support hold queues to Intercom’s Messenger support at the customer’s preference. Building on its investments to deliver next-generation support, the company also announced the new Intercom Inbox—a complete rebuild and redesign to make its most-used product the fastest and most efficient support inbox for the modern era.  

DoubleVerify (“DV”), a software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, has announced the discovery of “ViperBot,” a sophisticated advertising fraud scheme that attempts to steal over $8 million each month in ad spend across two of the industry’s most in-demand channels: connected television (CTV) and mobile video. With ViperBot,  fraudsters have taken verification stripping to the next level. Fraudsters are not only removing verification tags from the ad being delivered – they are also reinserting them inside of cheap ad slots running on real devices in an attempt to prevent detection. This makes it difficult for unsuspecting measurement providers to recognize that any fraudulent activity is taking place. Upon identifying the new tactic, DV immediately blocked the falsified impressions and ad requests. Although ViperBot ultimately affected verification tags from all verification providers, DV quickly detected and mitigated the scheme – ensuring protection for DV customers. DV’s technology is powered by the DV Fraud Lab, a dedicated team of data scientists, mathematicians and analysts from the cyber-fraud prevention community. The Fraud Lab relies on a variety of approaches to detect fraud — from AI and machine learning to manual review.

The European Tour group has announced that Five9, a provider of cloud contact centre solutions, has become the Tour’s Official Customer Contact Centre Software Partner in a multi-year agreement. As part of the partnership, the Tour will benefit from industry-leading cloud contact centre solutions, focusing initially on developing an AI-powered Five9 Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) and online chat function to provide a digital concierge service to players, corporate partners and fans. Through greater use of automation, this service will help streamline communication and logistics, whilst providing round-the-clock support. Five9 will also leverage the partnership to continue its growth in the European market by working with the Tour on a corporate hospitality programme, unique branding assets and the co-development of digital content for distribution across the season. Five9 branding will also be visible on tee boxes and greensides at several key tournaments – the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett, Horizon Irish Open, Cazoo Open, Hero Open, Cazoo Classic, ISPS Handa Invitational Presented by Modest! Golf Management and Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.

Meantime Brewing Company is giving London music fans real cause for celebration with the announcement of Meantime presents Record Store Day Live, a day-long festival of live music taking place at the magnificent Meantime Brewery in Greenwich, South East London, on Saturday 9th April. The event will celebrate Meantime’s ongoing partnership with Record Store Day, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2022 and continues to support independent record shops around the world. All proceeds from ticket sales for the event will be donated to War Child, Record Store Day’s official charity partner. Meantime Brewing Company will also be unveiling the Official Beer of Record Store Day to help celebrate the special occasion of Record Store Day Live. This year’s beer is called B-side and will be available exclusively at Record Store Day Live on draught and in 440ml cans via the brewery’s online store. All profit from the cans will also be donated to War Child.

The Mothership one of the UK’s fastest-growing eCommerce rollups, has announced that it has raised $22 million in funding from entrepreneurial private investors. The investment will be used to expand the company’s portfolio of loveable, more sustainable brands. Amongst the investors are Glenn Elliott, founder of Reward Gateway and now part of Tenzing Private Equity; Jonathan Quin, founder of payments business World First; Adrian Thompson, CEO of Aspen Pumps; Simon Morrish, who has founded and grown several successful businesses, including Ground Control; and Giles Palmer, founder of BrandWatch.

Fruugo, which owns and operates a high growth and profitable global cross-border marketplace using its own proprietary technology and data science, has announced a partnership with Godel to help support the growth of its platform. Founded in 2006, Fruugo provides shoppers in 42 countries the freedom to purchase safely and securely from global retailers, in any of the 31 currencies and 28 languages Fruugo supports. Already growing rapidly, the North-West based cross-border e-commerce marketplace looked to expand their software development capacity by finding an additional nearshore partner.

As an international intellectual property law firm with offices throughout Europe, HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER (HRM) relies on the ability to offer efficient, modern workspaces for their employees. It is business-critical that employees have access to applications and data from anywhere, as they often work at their customers’ locations. HRM recently partnered with IT services provider Proact for support with these modern workspace and infrastructure needs. HRM’s entire IT environment is located in the cloud, including its data storage. In addition, the law firm also uses Azure and Microsoft 365. These infrastructure components are essential to enabling HRM to work under the time pressure often present within the legal sector.