Delphi and Transdev Develop Global On-demand Driverless Transportation by Chrissie Cluney

Delphi and Transdev are developing automated, on-demand mobility systems, with a service offering set. The companies hope to debut with a service offering set via pilot projects in France, and then to eventually expand to global reach.

Delphi will bring its automated driving platform to the mix that it is creating in partnership with Mobileye. Transdev is a recognized leader in mobility network operation. It has already worked with public transit authorities around the world, including rams, light rail, buses, ferries, and more recently, autonomous vehicles.

Delphi and Transdev want to have a global footprint with their technology. The companies are also going to be working on getting pilot projects operating very quickly.

“We believe that autonomy will bring a lot of social benefits,” said Yann Leriche, chief performance officer, Transdev “Our mission is to leverage those benefits to provide attractive shared transportation options to our clients. The asset can be shared, for example on-demand cars, or the ride can be shared, for example, buses.”

For Delphi, this partnership will provide access to testing on a wide range of vehicle types across a wide variety of service settings. It also gives them a company to work with that already has a deep functional understanding of current urban transit and the challenges therein.

“They have that clear pathway, they’re operating today, they understand this and we couldn’t be more excited to be adding them as a partner,” said Glen De Vos, chief technology officer, Delphi. “We really have line of sight into how the technology can be deployed, and deployed in a way that really makes sense in terms of safety and in terms of commercial operations.”

Both companies will contribute to the co-development of future autonomous vehicles. The companies will add to the infrastructure to make operating a commercial service sustainable and scalable.

Dave Buklarewicz Joins MARC USA by Chrissie Cluney

MARC USA has appointed Dave Buklarewicz to the company’s newly created position of EVP/Executive Media Director. The Pittsburgh-based ad agency has been adding resources to its media and data/analytics offering. It is trying to redouble their efforts to attract media customers to its group of clients most of which take a mix of creative and media services.

Buklarewicz is a 20-plus year industry veteran who joined the agency from Havas Media. He will be responsible for overseeing the company’s growing media practice, which has a staff of over 60 employees, in all four of their offices.

“We believe there’s a real gap in the marketplace and a tremendous growth opportunity for us,” said Michele Fabrizi, president and CEO, MARC USA. She is referring to the media services arena.

The agency currently provides media services for AOR clients such as Rite Aid, Payless ShoeSource, the Pennsylvania Lottery, Belle Tire and others. Media-only clients include pharmaceutical firm Kaleo and Five Star Senior Living.

Google’s ‘Home’ is Having Problems by Chrissie Clune

Google had high hopes for its virtual assistant ‘Home’ to take on Amazon’s ‘Alexa‘. The problem is that the product has trouble with users reporting indifferent behavior from ‘Home’.

The virtual assistant is spitting out errors instead of controlling smart home devices and answering questions. “According to multiple online complaints, there’s a Google Home outage affecting a significant portion of users,” said Android Police, a technology website.

To know if your ‘Home’ device is affected, users need to use a trigger phrase. The device will respond with “Hmm, something went wrong. Try again in a few seconds,” or “There was a glitch. Try again in a few seconds.”

“Most users say the issues started popping up in the last day or two and today Google Home has a nearly 100 percent failure rate,” said the report. However the other devices with Google Assistant are working fine.

MediaCom Promotes Pang by Chrissie Cluney

 

MediaCom has promoted Willie Pang to chief operating officer of the agency. He will lead their Melbourne office.

Pang will be responsible for growing the business through product and new business development. He will also work to continue to lead on MediaCom solutions nationally. This includes the digital, data and innovation portfolio.

“When we began our search for leadership in Melbourne, first and foremost we wanted someone that would be a strong cultural fit for our people and clients. Someone that can inspire, lead and bring a team together,” said Sean Seamer, CEO, MediaCom.

Growing its Melbourne office has become a priority for MediaCom. The agency has been restructuring how it operates. Seamer said that Pang has been instrumental in repositioning MediaCom and how it serves its clients to adapt to the digitization of media and marketing during his 18 months as chief digital officer.

“I firmly believe that MediaCom is at the forefront of transforming what it means to be a media agency and our Melbourne business will play a critical role,” said Willie Pang, digital officer, MediaCom. Pang will begin his new role of COO in July.

Shipamax Raises $2.5M for its Cloud Software Platform by Chrissie Cluney

Shipamax is a London-based startup and recent graduate of Silicon Valley accelerator, Y Combinator. The company raised $2.5 million in seed funding. They plan to use the money to continue building and marketing its cloud software platform for the bulk shipping industry.

“Bulk shipping powers the world economy – the grains we eat, the steel we build with and the fuels we consume all get transported by bulk ships. Despite industry perils, demand for dry bulk has increased 40 per cent since the financial crisis. We’re enabling the industry to keep up with the pace of change in technology and put them on the road to recovery,” said Jenna Brown, co-founder, Shipamax.

Shipamax hopes to bring the bulk shipping industry into the digital age. They want to wean customers who consists of shipping brokers and owner-operators, off of things such as email, messaging and excel spreadsheets.

Shipamax’s cloud software solution is designed to not only handle all communications between customer, broker and operator. Also the software is designed to transform the data exchanged into shape so that the process itself is infinitely more scalable.

Kimberly-Clark Learned by Taking Programmatic In-House by Chrissie Cluney

Kimberly-Clark, the consumer packaged goods giant, has brought automated and audience-based media buying in-house. The company has also learned how to improve messaging and creative. With data and technology evolving so quickly, many people forget about creative and how people are consuming and interacting with it.

The company sees data as a creative lever. The data can inform campaign creative. “The learnings swing back to how we think about creative and how we can use data to create specific assets,” said Cameron Friedlander, marketing technology and integrated media, Kimberly-Clark.

Why in-house? “We wanted to bring everything in-house because we wanted to own the data to get to targeting consumers in a behavioral fashion, versus. a demographic perspective,” said Lisa Giarcosa, global head of experience planning and integrated media, Kimberly-Clark.

What has the brand learned from taking everything in-house? “We’ve gained an understanding of how we can use multiple partners and data points to pinpoint people on their buying journey. And how to ensure that we don’t expose personally identifiable information,” Giarcosa said.

CornerJob Earns $19M to Keep Growing its Blue-collar Hiring Platform by Chrissie Cluney

CornerJob, a Barcelona-based blue-collar recruitment app, has ended a $19 million Series C round. It last raised $5M in July 2016. Back then it took in a $25M Series B round, of which was a media for equity agreement investment. Cornerjob has also closed a $10M Series A in February of 2016. To date, the total funding is currently $54M.

“On the product side, we will keep on improving the candidate experience, but… we will [also] concentrate a lot on providing more productivity tools for companies, step up our machine learning initiatives, and reinforce our presence on all elements of the recruitment value chain. For instance on the transactional part with many iterations planed on the service we’ve launched together with Randstad,” said David Rodriguez, CEO, Cornerjob.

The new financing will be used for product development. Also the financing will bolster its position in “strategic markets” and expand into some new ones.

What’s Cornerjob’s focus? CornerJob focuses on low-skill, high-turnover recruitment. This aims to streamline the hiring and job-search process via a lightweight mobile app that lets employers advertise jobs via its location-based app platform. The app also focuses on a shortlist and chat with potential recruits.

The app is building SaaS tools for employers aimed at speeding up the hiring process and ultimately resulting in successful hires. This is vital because it is how the company intends to make revenue. Among its investor roster is the VC arm of human resources giant, Randstad, spying some clear synergies.

What about jobseekers? CornerJob offers quick and easy location-based job search that can be filtered by sector. This aims to do away with the need for CVs for this jobseeker segment.

“New tools include the ‘flash questions’ feature which allows companies to ask multiple choice questions very specific to the job offer and translate into a chat bot interaction on the candidate side to make the experience always seamless. We’re also introducing a set of features that add more transparency on candidate and company behavior on the platform with reviews, ratings, response times, etc. These are just a few examples of evolutions underway,” said Rodriguez.

Where is Cornerjob active? CornerJob is active in four markets presently, which include: France, Italy, Spain and Mexico. France and Italy were the countries that the app was launched first and it’s the app’s biggest markets.

Accenture Refutes Claims over ING Pitch by Chrissie Cluney

Accenture has refuted that there is a conflict of interest with ING Direct. Even though Accenture just selected UM as its global agency of record.

“Accenture professionals have been providing media pitch management services for more than a decade, however, our team does not select agencies for clients. Clients fully own the selection decision,” said an Accenture spokesperson.

UM client ING Direct called a global review of its media planning and buying account earlier this year. Accenture was revealed as the firm running the pitch process. Locally the account is worth up to $12 million.

“At the same time, Accenture Marketing and Communications has always worked with a large global media advertising agency for Accenture’s own corporate advertising and media strategy. These are two separate and distinct divisions of Accenture and we have the strictest policies and protocols in place to ensure complete business and client confidentiality,” said an Accenture spokesperson.

The ING Direct division is owned by Dutch multinational banking and financial services firm, the ING Group. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the European stock exchange, Euronext.

Ford Fires On All Pistons

Mark Fields is out!  Jim Hackett is in!

If we were wondering the impact of innovation on the auto industry its clear we found it.

The company that took pride in not taking bailout money, now has to swallow some pride as the innovation team has to look at the total company.

This should be interesting, before Jim Hackett was around Ford had been aligned with Microsoft and the Sync products and other interesting strategies.

Ford has done a number of things, right,  They have used their connections to the colleges and universities in Michigan to enable third party development.

However, the community around them has never truly taken to the adaption, and Microsoft has been absent.

The reality of transforming the car industry is more than an app platform.  Tesla runs its vehicles on 40K lines of code including the autonomous vehicles.  Traditional automakers have over 1M lines of code and over 100 sensors.

For success to come to the traditional players.  The legacy systems need to be ignored not abandoned but isolated.

New requirements require new systems.  Old systems can be evaluated on revision when feature interaction causes a problem, or costs can be significantly reduced.

I look forward to seeing what Jim Hackett focus will be.

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • The Stagwell Group Acquires Wolfgang

 

The Stagwell Group has acquired a minority stake in a new creative consultancy called Wolfgang. The company was founded by former David & Goliath executives Mike Geiger, Seema Miller and Colin Jeffrey.

“I was immeasurably impresssed with the way [Wolfgang] combined strategic planning with creative,” said Mr. Penn. “We continue to fill out the marketing wheel and it’s important to have people onboard that are at the forefront of advertising and creative,” said Mark Penn, president and managing partner, The Stagwell Group.

Wolfgang is part Stagwell Group’s Marketing Incubator, which also includes digital advocacy shop Targeted Victory. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Stagwell has an option to acquire a majority stake in Wolfgang in the future.

Wolfgang, which is based in Los Angeles, has about 12 staffers at the moment, including freelancers. The company is looking to bring on more people later this year who have a mix of left and right brain skill sets.

The co-founders of Wolfgang liked the Stagwell model because it’s a new type of holding company model that doesn’t have dozens of the same types of agencies. The company acquires shops that complement each other.

In January, Stagwell acquired Nielsen’s Harris brand and the Harris Poll through its Stagwell Media fund. That acquisition, which is the holding company’s fifth since October 2015, was expected to bring Stagwell Group’s revenue up to $250 million by the end of the year. Now, with that capital, Stagwell is up to $750 million in acquisitions.

 

  • Spotify Acquires MightyTV

 

Spotify has acquired content recommendation service MightyTV. Spotify is looking to further enhance the company’s advertising products and its marketing technology platforms. The deal will also see the addition of MightyTV’s founder and CEO Brian Adams to the company, where he will become Spotify’s VP of Technology. Adams will focus on both of these initiatives.

“The content recommendation system MightyTV has built is incredibly aligned with how we think about advertising technology and marketing personalization,” said Jason Richman, vice president of Product, Spotify. “Brian and his team will help us continue to innovate on free monetization and extend our leadership position in programmatic audio.”

MightyTV was a startup that offered TV show and movie recommendations. The company had developed a Tinder-style mobile app for iOS and Android that would allow the consumer to quickly indicate whether they liked or disliked a given title as a means of helping to customize MightyTV’s suggestions to their own personal tastes. The recommendations would then improve overtime with the more the consumer used the product.

“Spotify has built the leading marketplace for fans and creators,” said Brian Adams, vice president of technology, Spotify. “It’s an enormous opportunity for me and the team to help create native brand experiences that stay true to a product that millions love.”

What attracted consumers to MighyTV? From a consumer perspective, what made MightyTV interesting was not necessarily its Tinder-like interface but that it combined different approaches to making its suggestions, which consists of those that came from the aggregated user ratings as well as those that better understood one’s individual tastes.

MightyTV’s team of eight will be joining Spotify as part of the acquisition and will be based in their New York City, Toronto and Stockholm offices. The company has raised $4.25 million in seed funding.

 

  • Publicis Groupe and Microsoft Partners for Custom Experiences Via AI

 

Publicis Groupe and Microsoft have partnered together to create custom experiences for their consumers using AI. The holding company and its agency businesses will gain access to data capabilities and artificial intelligence designed for marketing with Microsoft Azure and the Cortana Intelligence Suite.

“This partnership is critical for us because it’s one of the biggest bets we’re making on the Microsoft platform,” said Samih Fadli, chief intelligence officer, SapientRazorfish. “There’s Google, Microsoft and AWS, but we made a decision … that Microsoft Azure would become our preferred platform to build assets.”

The agency created a customized version of Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, specifically for Publicis with the algorithms and data models embedded into COSMOS. This is the holding company’s cognitive intelligence marketing platform. Because of this, the two companies will jointly create new consumer interfaces and interactions such as facial recognition, natural-language processing and voice recognition.

The relationship began in 2009 when Publicis acquired Razorfish from Microsoft. That acquisition turned into a partnership that now supports artificial intelligence through Publicis’ marketing cloud COSMOS.

 

  • Snapcart Raises $3M for Tracking Offline Commerce Data in Southeast Asia

 

Snapcart, a startup helping to bring transparency to the world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding. The company was launched in September 2015.

The goal was to provide data on the largely uncharted world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, which is a region of over 600 million consumers and a growing middle class. Snapcart gathers shopper and purchase data by incentivizing consumers to upload their shopping receipts into its app in exchange for cash-back rewards.

“It’s a black hole and brands don’t know what is happening,” said Reynazran Royono, CEO and founder, Snapcart.

Snapcart raised $1.7 million in January 2016. This new financing is designed to push it towards a Series A round before the end of this year. This $3 million raise is led by new investor Vickers Venture Partners with participation from existing backers Wavemaker Partners and SPH Media Fund, the investment arm of Singapore Press Holdings.

“Receipts form different formats across the countries where we collect them so there’s a lot of processes done to decrypt them: translating into text, making sure it is accurate and that we understand what is written,” said Royono. “We really invest a lot because we want to make sure the data we capture is captured in a high quality manner.”

Over the past year, Snapcart has expanded from its launch market of Indonesia into the Philippines. Manila is where the startup houses its artificial intelligence and data analysis team, which perfects the systems behind its OCR (optical character recognition) technology that identifies line items within shopping receipts.