Thursday, April 19, 2012
  • Gavin O'Malley, April 19, 2012, 12:12 PM
  • Marking WPP’s first major move into ecommerce, the ad agency’s digital unit has led a $10 million investment in price comparison site mySupermarket. For its $7 million investment, WPP Digital is securing a minority stake in the company, which, to date, has raised a total of $32 million from other investors, including Greylock Partners and Pitango Venture Capital. As Globes, the Israeli news journal, reports: “WPP's investment in mySupermarket is considered quite an achievement for the Israeli company.” mySupermarket CEO Alon Bloch is excited about the support. "WPP works with most of the leading global brands,” he said. “They have a strong understanding of the market and extensive ties." The operating name for Dolphin Software Ltd., mySupermarket operates various sites in different countries, including the UK and Israel. MySupermarket offers price comparison of products sold by supermarkets. However, “in contrast to other price comparison sites, mySupermarket offers alternatives to consumers to pick the cheaper product within a category or style,” Globes notes. “For example, if a consumer picks the laundry power of a particular brand, mySupermarket will not only offer a lower price for the same product, but will also recommend similar products to the brand at a cheaper price.” Founded in 2006, mySupermarket now has 75 employees, including 40 in Israel, and the rest at its offices in London, New York, and Tokyo. Read the whole story...
  • In the race to replicate Instagram’s success in the mobile video arena, Viddy this week arguably emerged as the clear frontrunner. Now the top free iPhone app on Apple’s App Store, the video-sharing service now claims 8 million users, and, more significantly, a sharp increase since Facebook launched its Timeline app back in February. “There are a number of startups vying to claim the ‘Instagram for Video’ title, with Socialcam, Viddy, Klip, Mobli, and even the infamous Color all in the running,” TechCrunch reports. “Yet, today brings evidence that Viddy may now be the one to beat, as the social video sharing app became the top free iPhone app on the App Store -- with much of that growth emanating from its new Facebook Timeline app.” According to Viddy, it attracted over 40 million app views in January, which TechCrunch attributes “to the effort the startup has put into recruiting celebrities and influencers custom premium Video FX layers, giving artists, movie studios, etc. a way to promote their brand through mobile video.” Helping its cause, Viddy closed a $6 million Series A round in February, with participation from Battery Ventures, Greycroft Ventures, Qualcomm, and Bessemer Ventures. Read the whole story...
  • In other mobile video news, Tango has just has raised another $40 million in a third round of funding from Qualcomm Ventures and Access Ventures. The news comes about a year after the cross-platform video chat startup closed its last round of $42 million. “Forget Apple’s Facetime,” VentureBeat half-jokes. “If there’s one app that shows the potential in the mobile video chat market, it’s Tango.” Encouraging backers, the startup continues to see incredible growth as well, reaching 45 million users a mere 18 months after its debut. Looking ahead, Tango CTO and co-founder Eric Setton says: “The round is a license to operate with a slightly bigger vision … It’s not that we’re going to hire a 100 extra people… we want to be able to accelerate and deliver more on our roadmap.” As VB explains, “That road map includes honing the company’s video and audio quality, and ensuring a great experience for all of its users.” According to Settons, 44% of Tango’s users are active monthly, and 10% of them use the app every day. Adds VB: “There’s a snowball effect to the app, as calls increase significantly when new users jump in.” Indeed, Settons says daily calls almost doubled in the last four months. Currently, Tango offers apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows PCs.       Read the whole story...
  • YouTube has never used its top-dog status as reason to stop refining and improving its video sharing services. In its effort to attract more skilled content creators, for example, the video hub has gone and refreshed its Audio Editing tools. Along with an updated user interface, YouTube has fleshed out its library of songs to include more than 150,000 tracks, which users can now mix into their videos at levels ranging from “soft background” to “completely replace.” Meanwhile, a new “featured tracks” tool helps users find the best songs across genres for a variety of moods. “One of the handiest YouTube features is the ability to add music to your video with its Audio Editing tool,” The Next Web’s Drew Olanoff writes. “The service continues to draw top-notch talent to the platform as well, and continues to add more features for content creators.” As for the record labels supplying many of the available tracks, Olanoff surmises that they’re willing participation is most likely a result of the fact that video viewers are directed to a place where they can buy featured songs. Alas, as Olanoff adds: “I still find that the audio for most YouTube videos suck pretty hard, which isn’t YouTube’s fault, so hopefully the service will add more robust audio editing features to cancel out unnecessary noise.”   Read the whole story...