Monday, October 30, 2006

Giants of Advertising and Media invest in SpotRunner

Spot Runner today announced that WPP, CBS Corporation, Interpublic Group and other institutions have made equity investments in the company.
These strategic investments come from three of the world’s largest buyers and sellers of advertising. On the ad buying side, WPP manages approximately $50 billion of clients' budgets worldwide and Interpublic Group agencies serve more than 4,000 multinational, regional and local clients around the world.

The investments by Interpublic, CBS and WPP were part of Spot Runner’s recent $40 million investment round. The round also included investments from Allen & Company, Tudor Investment Corporation, Capital Research and Management, media executive Lachlan Murdoch and financier Vivi Nevo, as well as follow-on investments from Index Ventures and Battery Ventures.

Spot Runner is an Internet-based advertising agency that makes it fast, easy and affordable for local businesses to advertise on TV. Its approach to commercial production, media planning and media buying gives local businesses access to a powerful marketing tool that was previously out of their reach. The entire process is automated online, making it cost-effective for even the smallest of businesses to use.
See what is said about SpotRunner at Mashable! , Silicon Beat, SMLXL, and Hitchhikers Guide to 650.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mind Candy Raises $7m

Accel Partners and Index Ventures Lead Funding and Mind Candy Expands Its Product Lineup.
Mind Candy, the UK based company behind the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) Perplex City, announced today it has raised $7 million from Accel Partners and existing investors Index Ventures and NewMedia Spark. The funding comes in advance of a major expansion of new products to be announced in early 2007 including the development of its second major puzzle brand aimed at a younger demographic.

An ARG is a form of mystery or treasure hunt that blends real world events, websites, text messages, TV, print and a wide range of other media to create an immersive gaming experience.

Mind Candy's signature game, Perplex City, revolves around the search for a missing treasure with a $200,000 (100,000 Pounds) reward. The game has proved most popular with 16 to 30-year-olds and currently has tens of thousands of players from 92 different countries around the world. The players are in the final stages of piecing together the clues to the game that have been hidden across a wide variety of different media.

The second season of the game will be launching in early 2007 and there are currently a wide-range of new Perplex City products in development including books, video games and mobile content.

About Mind Candy

Mind Candy Incorporated (www.mindcandydesign.com) is the creator of Perplex City (www.perplexcity.com). The company, based in London, is Europe's leading developer of Alternate Reality Games. Mind Candy was founded in 2003 by Michael Acton Smith who previously co-founded online retailer Firebox.com in 1998. Original backers of Mind Candy include Tom Teichman, NewMedia Spark, John Hegarty, Saul Klein and Robin Klein.
More about Mind Candy ...press

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Edgeio raises $5m and launches its Chinese Website

Keith Teare and his team have been pretty busy lately. They have just concluded their Series A led by Intel Capital in which $5m was raised and they have recently launched - in beta - their Chinese version of Edgeio. This is called mulu100.com - in Chinese this means catalogue of catalogues.
Edgeio's vision is to bring together, organise and distribute the world's marketplaces by aggregating on-line listings and presenting them through a single interface.
Today it has over 3000 publishers featuring over 100 million listings from 14000 cities in 130 different countries.

Edgeio also confirmed that its patents, provisionally filed in October 2005, have now been completed as full filings. These patents cover its distributed marketplaces architecture and many of the egdeio features.

moo's latest partner .....skype

If you need a contact card (as opposed to a business card) that is a little different, less corporate, with a bit of personality, the latest Moo partner is offering some really neat designs.
For readers of this blog enter "freebie" in the promo code box for your sample pack of 10.
Moo and Skype

Another massive year predicted for eCommerce

The latest Forrester report on on-line shopping indicates no sign of this market reaching maturity. The US is predicted to grow by over 20% this year vs toal retail growth of 3%.
In Europe this growth will be even faster.
Forrester say: "In the coming five years, the number of Europeans shopping online will grow from 100 million to 174 million. Their average yearly Net retail spending will grow from around €1,000 to €1,500, as UK Net consumers outspend even their US counterparts online. Overall, this will cause European eCommerce to surge to €263 billion in 2011, with travel, clothes, groceries, and consumer electronics all above the €10 billion per year mark."
The Sunday Times ran a cover article this past weekend which featured 2 companies in our portfolio. LoveFilm group has helped to create a new category of on-line spend in Europe in the DVD rental space and Lysander Meath-Baker of Digivate had some intelligent things to say about ways in which on-line shops will need to evolve to keep customers interested. He points to the use of video and virtual reality in eCommerce as some of the emerging techniques.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Orders from 78 countries!

Is the goal to build a global business an over-ambitious one? Not in the world of the web!
Moo launched their mini-cards with Flickr on September 19th. After shipping many thousands of orders - free and paid for - to 78 countries, Moo is still small, but Global.

Stewart Butterfield, founder, CEO of Flickr writes:

FlickrBlog: "Congratulations are in order to Moo for shipping all 10,000 of the free promo card orders! That's a lot of envelopes to stuff in a very short time — I guess it was fairly predictable, but still pretty impressive that 10,000 Flickr members ordered their free ten-pack of cards in the first week (the promotion is now, sadly, over).

As for the cards themselves, I can't say it better than Cory Doctorow did on BoingBoing:

It's hard to convey just how cool-ass these cards are. They feel like a fetish object, the thick card and soft laminate finish create a great hand-feel, and they're visually stunning — playful and intensely personal.

Together with the paid 100-pack orders, that's hundreds of thousands of cards they've shipped a mere two weeks after opening their doors (we're told the cards went out to 78 countries!). They've also got a lot of happy customers, and an extremely active group going (including tons of card shots in the pool). Congratulations, Moo team!"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We all LOVEFiLM now!

One brand across Europe.
Just over 2 months after the merger was completed, Simon Calver and his team have merged the brands and the operations.
LoveFilm is now present in the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Subscribers numbers keep rising.
Great job, Simon!

Friday, October 06, 2006

an eCommerce Category Killer

The Cotswold Company have launched (in Beta) a new Chair Superstore - called Chairs and Wares.
To aid on-line shopping of relatively high value products, the site uses zoom technology extensively and offers a vast array of options of style, fabrics, leg shapes and colour.
The company has hooked up with a Chinese factory and is dis-intermediating a number of steps in the chain to achieve fantastic prices. Essentially achieving a "from factory
to consumer" supply chain.
Cotswold have all but halted their retail expansion and are focusing on their direct channels - catalogue and Web.
Good job, guys!