Launchmetrics Acquires Visual Box, Launches Platform

CANNES, France — Looking to offer fashion, luxury and cosmetic brands a 360-degree view on their investments in both digital and traditional print communication, Launchmetrics has acquired Visual Box and launched a new product, dubbed Discover.

Billed as the first one-stop tool for measuring print, online and social, the new platform is geared at allowing brands to monitor the impact of campaigns and events as well as garner key insights into their cross-channel performance in the media and with influencers.

Discover marks the first launch for Launchmetrics since the company’s creation in January 2016 when Fashion GPS, a technology provider for the fashion industry, merged with influencer marketing specialist Augure. The company, which has also appointed Paolo Valota senior vice president, monitoring, is based in New York and counts 1,700 clients spanning 70 countries, including Dior, Fendi and Levi’s.

Founded in Italy in 2000, Visual Box, meanwhile, is billed as being a leader in international fashion beauty and lifestyle media monitoring and analysis services, with a fully searchable fashion media database spanning editorial coverage and advertising data. The platform monitors over 1,800 titles – from daily newspapers to niche bi-annual books – with around 5,000 pages analyzed daily.

“Our aim is to offer brands, in one tool, the ability to measure the value of each medium,” Michael Jais, chief executive officer of Launchmetrics, told WWD in an interview in Cannes. “This acquisition will allow us to bring the market a way to really evaluate the return on investment of a campaign. Today it’s really difficult to benchmark the value of a ‘like’ or of an article in a title like Vogue, say, for a brand.”

Jais was in town to meet with city officials to discuss the launch of a fund for fashion-tech start-ups planned for June. “The idea is to create a kind of ecosystem for start-ups dedicated to fashion-tech luxury in Cannes, like for Silicon Valley but for fashion and luxury,” said the executive who also revealed that Cannes is planning to open a university “that can also host a lot of programs” dedicated to the subject, due to open in around 2019.

“There will be the incubation program, and investment fund, and also an academic program. It will be a joint program between the city of Cannes and a group of individuals, including myself,” he added.

Jais declined to disclose the terms of the Visual Box acquisition, but said it will give Launchmetrics access to 12 years of data linked to how brands interact with print. The company is actively looking to make further acquisitions in order to grow revenues from the current 25 million euros, or $27.9 million at average exchange rates, to 100 million euros, or $111.8 million, by 2021, he said. The plan, he added, is to invest in two directions: in the services area, “to help improve the user experience in terms of helping customers better understand the data,” and in data itself.

Launchmetrics currently monitors 100,000 influencers, and 1.7 million websites worldwide, has “a lot of data on the brands,” including monitoring “everything that is published by 20,000 brands in the world,” as well as “a lot of data” linked to “the interaction between influencers and the brands,” said Jais. “But to really take it to the next level, we need to invest in technology around image recognition and product classification.” He also revealed plans to bring in retail data and integrate data “related to the entire value chain of the fashion luxury business.”

On average the return on investment for brands using all of Launchmetrics’ tools, he said, is around 80 percent, “meaning it improves the efficiency of their launch by 80 percent.”

The company currently offers six tools covering areas including sample, content, and event management.

The firm’s revenue is partly generated through subscriptions, according to Jais. Customers pay anywhere from $200 to $50,000 per month, he said, with a current total of around 900 customers.

Jais also shared insights gleaned from recent analytics campaigns carried out for brands. “For example, at the shows, the real celebrities are the models. The reach that is driven by the models when they publish anything on Instagram is at least 10 times superior to the reach of the celebrities watching the runway,” he said.

“It shows that the audience is really there to see the product, which is good news. It also shows that people are interested in what is behind the scenes, and the models are the only ones to get access behind the scenes. Five percent of guests invited to the show make up 90 percent of the global reach of a show, and they are mainly bloggers and two or three celebrities.”


Telco Altice to acquire video ad tech player Teads for $308M

Another telco is buying an adtech firm — today it’s been confirmed that video ad player Teads is being acquired by Dutch telecom Altice, which has some 50 million fixed and mobile subscribers, the majority of whom are in the U.S. and France. Teads claims its global online video advertising marketplace has more than 1.2 billion unique visitors, including 720 million via mobile.

Teads is being valued at €285 million (~$308 million) “on a cash and debt free basis” by Altice, with the purchase price subject to it meeting certain revenue targets in 2017. Seventy-five percent of the purchase price will be due at closing — with the remaining quarter becoming payable in early 2018, should targets be met.

The pair say they are expecting the acquisition to close in mid-2017, following competition reviews.

Teads offers so-called “outstream” video ad format — enabling ads to be displayed outside of a video stream, such as within any content on a webpage, thereby enabling publishers to house video ads without needing to produce their own video content to host the ad inventory. Its revenue grew by 44 percent in 2016 to an estimated €187.7 million.

The French company was founded back in 2011, and despite previously talking up the prospect of an IPO, Teads has remained private, while making some acquisitions of its own. It also merged with another adtech firm, Ebuzzing, in 2014.

As noted above, there’s a growing trend of telcos going shopping for adtech firms — not least TechCrunch’s parent company AOL’s parent Verizon, which is also in the process of closing in on Yahoo‘s adtech.

Altice and Teads say the acquisition rationale is the strategic combination of their assets — citing, for example, the advantage of being able to link Altice’s “unique first party data-sets” (aka the personal data of the 50 million subscribers to its broadband and mobile services) with Teads’ “relationships with 94 of the top 100 advertisers globally” and “partnerships with 500+ premium publishers globally and 8,000 vertically specialized publishers.”

In simpler terms, this is about telcos monetizing knowledge of their vast user-bases by finding ways to benefit from serving them targeted premium advertising — and in the U.S. now encouraged by President Trump’s new FCC chairman pick, Ajit Pai, who is a fan of very-light-touch regulation (versus the prior FCC chairman’s intent to expand broadband privacy rules).

Commenting in a statement, Michel Combes, CEO of Altice, said: “There is significant incremental value to be generated from our assets. Teads, a powerful business in itself, with major presence in Altice footprint notably in the U.S. and France, will enable us to offer a truly unique value proposition to brands and agencies on the one hand and the media industry, programmers and distributors on the other. It is that value proposition — data-driven, measurable and multiscreen — which will enable us to significantly grow our advertising business. We are very excited to partner with Pierre, Bertrand and their talented team.”

While Pierre Chappaz, founder and executive chairman of Teads, added: “Since our inception we have strived to offer our clients with superior advertising solutions based on measurable performance and technological innovation. As part of Altice, we will be able to offer even more tailored, data-driven solutions and take our value proposition from the digital world to a multiscreen platform, which includes TV, digital, mobile and tablets.”

Altice’s stock was trading up 1.45 percent following the announcement.


Teads Announces $200 Million Revenue

Growth driven by Mobile and Programmatic

  • Revenue of $200 Million
  • 39% Organic Year-Over-Year Growth
  • Mobile Now Reaches 55% of Revenue and Programmatic 35%

NEW YORK and LONDON   Teads, the inventor of outstream video and the No. 1 video advertising marketplace in the world, today announced record results for 2016, reporting a revenue of $200 million representing a 39% organic growth year-over-year (YOY). In Euros, the Luxembourg headquartered company registered 45% YOY growth. The company was EBITDA-positive for the fourth year in a row.

Bertrand Quesada, CEO,  said,2016 was the year when outstream became mainstream. The outstream video advertising format that we have pioneered in Europe since 2012 has been adopted by the most prestigious publishers globally – the likes of Time Inc., CondeNast, Washington, Business Insider, and their European counterparts including The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Trinity Mirror, Der Spiegel, Axel Springer, Le Monde, Le Figaro and many, many others. Its potential is bigger than pre-roll, as it opens up an unprecedented opportunity for monetizing publishers’ mobile traffic.”

Massive mobile video inventory

Thanks to the availability of its inRead video technology for all mobile web environments, including Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles, and in-App, Teads’ reach has grown to 1.2 billion monthly unique visitors, including 720 million on mobile. According to Comscore, Teads global reach is ahead of AOL,, Yahoo! Brightroll, Adobe, Tubemogul and Bertelsman SpotX, and in many countries, including the US, its potential reach (deduplicated reach of its publishers) is even larger than YouTube and Facebook.

Pierre Chappaz, Executive Chairman commented:Outstream is a game changer in the programmatic world, because it provides quality at scale. Teads is offering the highest quality inventory to programmatic buyers globally, and this is fuelling the exponential growth of our programmatic revenue.”

About Teads

Teads, founded in 2011, is the inventor of outstream video advertising and No. 1 video advertising marketplace in the world. Publishers work with Teads to create brand new video inventory and manage their existing inventory, monetizing it through programmatic buying, their own sales forces, or third parties.

Teads’ native video advertising solutions encompass a series of formats inserted deep into media content, like the inRead playing inside articles. It is changing the game within the video advertising market by creating unprecedented levels of premium inventory, which did not exist before.

Brands and agencies can access this top-tier, premium inventory, available on the web and on mobile, through programmatic or managed services. Through its managed services capabilities, the Teads team execute on its clients behalf using its platform.

Teads has a team of over 500 employees, 100 of whom are on the innovation team, across 27 offices in 21 countries.


Special Fashion Week Content Delivered Through Google Search

When users search “Fashion Week,” designer – supplied content, street style and party photos will appear.

For the second season in a row, Google is getting friendlier with fashion week, but the focus this time is more on content and less on commerce.

This season, designers and brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein and others have signed on to post fashion week content directly to Google Search during fashion shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris.

In a feature that was piloted during New York Fashion Week last season, designers will share information before, during and after the shows. Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera and Proenza Schouler have already started sharing content.

Google is scrapping any shoppable elements in the Search feature to focus on what it found to be the most useful tools. This go around, the search giant has added a partnership with Launchmetrics and GPS Radar to show runway photos in real-time. Additional fashion week content — which appears when users type “Fashion Week” or a related topic into Google Search — includes street style and party photos from photo agency BFA.

In September, Google unveiled the first iteration of this feature, for which it commissioned former Maxim editor Kate Lanphear to act as consultant. Lanphear also worked on the project this season.

The first season that Google introduced this product, it linked with RewardStyle to share influencer street style posts that are normally only seen within apps such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.

This type of search feature, in which Google builds special search results tied to an event, has previously been used with the Olympics, Coachella, the Oscars and more.

Google also partnered with H&M Group’s Fashion Tech Lab, and its digital fashion house Ivyrevel, to create what it’s calling a “Data Dress.” The dress is a personalized dress based on a user’s “context signals,” using a special Android app that is being tested by style influencers during fashion week.

The app uses technology that monitors the user’s daily activity and lifestyle with their permission, including location, weather and more, for a week. The algorithm then creates a “digitally tailored” dress design that the user can purchase. The custom dresses will likely start at $99.


The Future of Intelligent Customer Routing

Routing customer queries to the best skilled agent to deal with them is the foundation of every contact centre. As consumers continue to increase the amount of channels they communicate with the company via, it becomes increasingly difficult, and yet crucial, for contact centres to assign them in a timely manner. For example: after speaking to an agent on web chat, the customer would expect to have their query routed to the same agent on the phone later down the line.

Contact centres have moved on from the days of hunt groups and least occupied agent routing, to more dynamic and intelligent techniques. This article will look at the most effective & efficient ways of routing enquiries based on agents’ skillsets in the contact centre and how they can be taken a step further to embrace innovation of software solutions for contact centres.

Skills Based Routing

The most common method of routing customer queries in the contact centre today is skills based. This is driven by the agent’s skillset and what the customer requires from them, e.g.: whether a payment or a delivery. One method of skills-based routing is for the system to conduct data look-ups and then cross reference the customer’s details to detect the skillset necessary for the query; it then routes the customer to the next available appropriately skilled agent.

Another popular skills-based routing method is to have the system identify keywords or numbers in written correspondence, such as emails or social media, from the customer. This ensures that these channels, as well as calls, are routed back to the agent who dealt with the issue initially, or alternatively, someone with the best skillset for it.

Demographic filtering is also widely used within skills-based routing; this allows queries to be assigned to agents with particular language or geographical skills. Where cloud based contact centre software is deployed, companies are able to create a local presence in global markets, thus allowing them to tailor their service, regardless of location, and therefore build customer loyalty.

customer routing


One Step Further

In order to maintain a competitive edge in today’s age of the autonomous customer, leading companies are now deploying solutions that enable contact centre staff to configure routing, queuing and complex omni-channel workflows themselves, while simultaneously automating business processes. What this means is that the solution will perform the above mentioned routing methods, plus others, while eliminating time consuming manual processes that usually need to be carried out by the IT department at great costs, lengthy appointments and complex coding. Solutions such as this make it easy for contact centre supervisors to set up and configure communication follow-ups from various channels.

With barely many solutions on the market, mplsystems’ Omni-Channel Process Designer is unique in the sense that it offers a user friendly drag and drop design, which allows users to configure, change and recreate workflow processes on an ad hoc basis. This allows customer routing within the contact centre to be agile and attentive to successful progression.

customer routing

An example case of a successful workflow process can be seen in the above diagram, which shows the customer journey of Sal, who has a broken washing machine. This particular workflow sees Sal emailing and then calling the customer service desk to report her problem, here, the software groups her activities for optimum productivity within the contact centre. Her request is routed to Dean, an agent that has dealt with Sal before and is therefore familiar with her account details. Upon deciphering that the washing machine cannot be repaired, Dean selects ‘replacement machine’ in the CRM system; this then automatically triggers the warehouse to dispatch a new washing machine to Sal’s house and also automatically schedules an engineer, Mike, to visit Sal on the same day that the device is due to arrive; as he was visiting that area already.

Once Mike has fitted the new machine and ensured that Sal is happy with everything, he asks her to complete a customer satisfaction survey on his tablet, which transmits all of the entered data back into the company’s CRM. The updated system then sends Sal an automated SMS to notify her that her request case has now been closed. Sal would also receive an automated confirmation SMS at each stage of the process to give her ongoing real-time updates throughout. This is a simple example of how skills based routing and a configured workflow process can deliver the highest quality of efficiency within customer service with little effort from the agent.

Therefore, the future of customer routing is strategising an intelligent contact flow within the contact centre itself. Solutions, such as the Omni-Channel Process Designer, allow flexibility in the routing process, which is essential to adapting to customer behaviour flow. Being responsive is fundamental for high levels of customer satisfaction without significant costs, and with customer experience at the heart of every interaction today, it is crucial to have a system that will transcend this in every feature that it offers.


Telefónica selects Frog Source solution from Wyplay

MARSEILLE — Telefónica, one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, has started a project to create an
Open Middleware solution to integrate in some set-top boxes, based on the Frog Source solution from Wyplay, creator of software solutions for Pay-TV operators.

Frog Source is one of four offerings of Frog by Wyplay, the portfolio of open source software solutions and professional services for pay-TV operators. The Frog by Wyplay initiative brings together a growing ecosystem of more than 135 companies across the entire digital TV technology value chain including chipset vendors, device manufacturers, independent software vendors, software development and integration services providers and operators.

Frog Source provides fully documented source code for all of Wyplay’s set-top box software components. This solid foundation provides operator’s developers with the freedom and flexibility to create their own products in a more cost effective way compared to traditional proprietary solutions. Frog Source brings together more than 200 components powering all STB features from basic zapper up to advanced multi-tuner gateways with transcoding.

It comes with an extensive toolset including integration, cross-compiler, test suites and developer resources like documentation, online tutorials and FAQs easily accessible through our developer portal.

The main reasons for the selection of Wyplay’s code are the modularity, the openness, the wide Frog community and the functionalities of Frog Source. Telefónica also highly valued the extensive set of development, debugging tools and automated testings, which will allow Telefónica to design their own product.

“We are thrilled to work with Telefónica, one of the world’s leading operators. With their technical team, they are now free to be their own system integrator and be able to tailor all or part of their own solutions “, said Jacques Bourgninaud, Wyplay CEO. He added, “With Frog Source, Telefónica is back in the driver’s seat”.


Ercom cryptosmart obtains the restricted certification in Europe


Cryptosmart is recognized by the European Union as a trusted solution to protect the exchange of information from governments, institutions and companies

Cryptosmart: THE ultimate solution to secure mobile communications and devices

Mobility tools are a gateway to an organization’s information systems, whether it is a government, an administration or a company. 40% of smartphone owners use them to store sensitive data.1 Cyber-attacks can cause heavy financial losses and even affect national security. New European regulations further require companies to implement data protection measures, or face fines of up to 4% of their worldwide turnover for violating their obligations.

Cryptosmart is the only solution providing government level security on consumer devices, facilitating its adoption by all users. This solution is deployed within governments and large enterprises to protect their sensitive data on the move, against loss, theft and spying.
It has also obtained the Restricted Distribution certification from several organizations, including NATO and ANSSI in France. ANSSI is one of the most demanding organizations in the world regarding security.


Restricted Distribution certification: The Grail for Cryptosmart

Cryptosmart has already demonstrated its status by obtaining multiple certifications. By gaining the Restricted Distribution certification in the Netherlands, Ercom secures the Grail: The Restricted Distribution certification at the European level. “Restricted Distribution” is the level of security required by countries to protect the exchange of government information.

This new certification allows Ercom Cryptosmart to demonstrate its credibility with governments, institutions and companies looking for security solutions to protect their communications and devices in the European Union and outside.

“Obtaining this certification is exceptional and provides a real recognition for our product and our teams in charge of its development: through this EU certification, Cryptosmart enters the exclusive club of security solutions for mobile communications and devices certified by ANSSI, NATO and the EU. This allows us to explore new market opportunities and continue to foster the excellence we systematically seek. It really is a sign of confidence that we have just obtained, an additional guarantee of security for our current and future customers,” declares Yannick Dupuch, CEO of Ercom.

About Ercom

Ercom is a key French player with 30 years of combined expertise in two key areas: Telecommunication network testing and simulation (4G/LTE, 5G and IoT), and cybersecurity. Today ERCOM offers two main product lines: communication, device and information security solutions with Cryptosmart and Cryptobox, and network simulation and optimization systems with Mobipass.


Video ad company Teads acquires Brainient

Teads, the video ad company that last month raised $47 million in debt financing in order to go on a buying spree of other adtech startups, is staying true to its word. Today it’s announcing the acquisition of UK and Romania-based Brainient, the interactive video ad startup founded by Emi Gal, who has been a fixture of the London tech scene for almost as long as I’ve been reporting on it.

Founded in 2009, Brainient and its smart Romanian engineering team hit on the idea of increasing the engagement and performance of online video adverts by making them more personalised and interactive.

The former refers to way Brainient-powered ads can tap into any data source to allow the ads served to match a user’s profile and preferences — including socio-demo, geolocation, screen used, time of the day, weather (or basically any other type of contextual data) — while the latter includes things like making video ads ‘shoppable’ or the ability to submit an in-video form to request further information about a product.

The Brainient studio is a suite of tools that takes care of the heavy lifting to make these kind of interactive and data-driven video ads, including ensuring they can easily be reconfigured to work across formats and devices and they are compatible with the disparate video ad networks and publisher properties. And it’s here where Teads’ acquisition of Brainient comes into play.

Bertrand Quesada, CEO of Teads, told me in a call that the plan is to be able to offer the newly-named Teads Studio to the company’s existing customers for free, in order to increase the ROI of the Teads video ad proposition.

That’s because the European company specialises in so-called “outstream” ads: video ads that reside outside of video content, such as placed in an article between two paragraphs of text.

These already potentially perform better than traditional video pre-rolls and by making the ads themselves data-infused and interactive, the idea is to not only enable Teads’ customers to innovate around where video ads are placed and how they are delivered but also within the creative itself. Brainient has always claimed that its interactive video ads perform better than standard ones.

In a call with Brainient’s Gal, he sounded upbeat about the exit, although both he and Quesada declined to reveal terms of the deal. Brainient had raised around $4 million in total funding, including a $1.8 million Series A in 2012 led by Prague-based Credo Ventures with participation from Atlas Venture, Estag Capital, Sherry Coutu, and Dave McClure’s 500 Startups.

A source close to one of Brainient’s investors also told me they were very happy with the return the startup’s exit has produced and they wouldn’t hesitate backing Gal a second time, should he ever go on to start another company. Separately, another source told me that the startup had previously fielded offers of around $10-12 million, so make of that what you will. I also understand that although Gal and Brainient’s other co-founder and CTO Andrei Baragan were the startup’s largest shareholders, they no longer held a majority stake.

Meanwhile, Gal tells me he’ll be relocating to New York City to help Teads Studio sell more into the U.S. market (something he said he needed to do urgently as far back as 2012!) and that this was always the plan once Brainient felt it had become a leader in Europe. He also says that with Teads’ resources, Brainient plans to double the size of its engineering team in Romania and continue to iterate the product.