February 3, 2017

January Portfolio News: PrecisionHawk, AdStage, Verdigris, Mitú

Our portfolio companies span a wide range of technology sectors and are constantly in the news for funding announcements, awards, product innovations, and thought leadership.

Here are some of the top news stories from our portfolio companies this month:

Blackboard cofounder Michael Chasen takes CEO reins at PrecisionHawk

Verizon Ventures’ portfolio company PrecisionHawk welcomed new CEO Michael Chasen to the team. A cofounder and former CEO of education tech giant Blackboard Inc., Chasen will help scale PrecisionHawk’s drone software and services across corporations and government organizations that can benefit from leveraging unmanned aerial systems, sensors and data analytics in their operations.

With the passing of the FAA’s Part 107 Rule last year, PrecisionHawk has seen an increase in demand for their advanced drone technology, which provides valuable applications in industries like agriculture, architecture, construction and energy.

AdStage adds support for Salesforce and HubSpot, launches a one-stop data API

AdStage has today revealed the next phase of its effort to be the platform that addresses any marketer’s needs. The social advertising management service has expanded beyond social media networks and traditional search engine advertising services to now include integrations with enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) tools. It has also launched what it calls a universal data API that gives businesses a single feed for all data from its sources.

While AdStage already lets small to medium-sized businesses advertise on Google AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, DoubleClick, and Bing, the platform is now tied in with Salesforce and HubSpot. This will allow marketers to do more with their data, instead of having it remain in a silo in AdStage’s database. After all, in order to have an effective campaign, marketers need to examine the whole set of data, not just a partial list. And by integrating with CRM systems, businesses can figure out the lifetime value of new and existing customers to make better decisions.

Verdigris Named Top Company Changing the World Through Artificial Intelligence

CB Insights recognized Verdigris Technologies in their Artificial Intelligence 100 list (“AI 100”) which highlights a select group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking artificial intelligence technology. The winners were revealed during The Innovation Summit, a gathering of 400 top executives and investors to explore the industries of the future. Verdigris was one of just four companies recognized in the Industrial Internet of Things category.

The CB Insights research team selected the AI 100 winners based on a combination of data submitted by the companies, responses to interview questions, and the company’s Mosaic Score. Mosaic is an algorithm built with funding from the National Science Foundation that gives predictive intelligence into the health of private companies.

MLB, Digital Network Mitú Partner For Creative Content Aimed At Younger Latino Demographic

MLB and Hispanic-focused digital network mitú will partner on the creation of content built around the baseball season through a Latino lens. The “Always On” campaign will be geared toward multicultural youth and will include MLB highlights, comedic sketches and memes. MLB Director of Brand Advertising & Marketing Felicia Principe said, “We wanted more ways to engage our Latino fanbase. We’ll be launching in February with a lot of content focused on a variety of cultural touchstones. Fans, food, music -- the whole ballpark experience.” Mitú CRO Charlie Echeverry said the company’s content is “specifically built to address the needs of folks who are 100% Latino but also 100% American.”

mitú currently creates about 300 pieces of content per week that live across social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Echeverry said their “goal is to create content that addresses the unique insights that are relative to our young Latino audience about baseball and then deliver that to their social ecosystem, principally on engagement-driven platforms like Facebook.” Principe said MLB will share the generated content with each club that is featured, and the teams will then be able to share through their own social platforms as well.

Both MLB and mitú envision success for the partnership as creating a conversation through a highly-engaged audience. Though the campaign is geared toward Latinos in the U.S., content will feature MLB players of all backgrounds. Echeverry said mitú reaches about 85 million people in the U.S. each month. He said, “We have high internal standards and our goal is to leverage our insight and reach people to take a look at the sport in a fresh way.”

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