According to an analysis of Fakespot data, as much as 39% of online reviews and recommendations are fake. With an increasing number of bots, anonymous users, and incentivized reviews, would-be consumers are inundated with often inaccurate and unreliable information. RecSpot is a social recommendation platform that only displays recommendations from friends and trustworthy contacts. Users are able to curate their own personalized list in a centralized destination rather than sending individual messages and going through the disparate experience of visiting dozens of different channels. The company, which just launched, is focused on entertainment at launch, with recommendations focusing on television and film. The company will launch into new verticals including dining, hospitality, shopping, and more. The app is live and available for iOS and Android. AlleyWatch caught up with RecSpot Founder Ian O’Brien to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic roadmap, recent round of funding, and much, much more.
Content and Publishing
The Infatuation, a media platform focused on restaurant discovery, is being acquired by JPMorgan Chase, as the bank looks to deepen its relationship with its customer base through dining. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The importance of managing personal finances came to the forefront during the pandemic as individuals sought to buffer themselves against the effects of COVID and the economy. With the internet, many of these individuals chose to go the self-directed route. Many also established relationships with professional financial advisors. In either case, it’s likely these people interacted with this NYC startup without even knowing it. SmartAsset is a personal finance content engine that distributes content, tools, and calculators related to common, everyday financial issues as well as a customer acquisition platform for the personal finance advisory industry. By using content as a driver of interest, SmartAsset can connect interested individuals with advisors that will meet their investment goals, preferences, and criterion. The company, founded in 2012, now handles over 100M customer interactions per month, is responsible for originating $1.5B in new assets under management for advisors per month, and is nearing $100M in ARR. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Michael Carvin to learn more about the path to building one of NYC’s newest unicorns, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include North Bridge Venture Partners & Growth Equity, Citi Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Javelin Venture Partners, TTV Capital, CMFG Ventures, and New York Life Ventures
Businesses that use content have conversion rates 6x higher than those that do not. The content marketing industry is expected to exceed $420B in spending this year. With such engagement and interest, marketers are scrambling to streamline their content generation and marketing activities. Cohley is an all-in-one platform for content generation and measurement that helps brands activate campaigns more efficiently. With Cohley, brands can publish their requirements and have creators like videographers, photographers, and influencers provide content to meet the defined parameters in a cost-effective and scalable manner. The platform allows users to test, iterate, and measure the success of their visual content efforts and is integrated with a growing number of leading technology partners like TikTok, Yotpo, Attentive, Shopify, and AdRoll. Although the platform is designed to optimize the content generation process, Cohley also offers managed services for brands that want to completely offload their content generation needs. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Tom Logan to learn more about the burgeoning demand for content marketing support, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $6.8M, and much, much more.
London-based ELEVEN SPORTS, the international sports content provider, has agreed to acquire New York-based Team Whistle, the global sports media and entertainment company. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
WPVIP, the provider of enterprise Wordpress solutions and a part of the Automattic (parent company to WordPress) brand has agreed to acquire Parse.ly, a real-time content analytics provider and personalized recommendation engine. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
In research published in January of 2020, millennials had 17 paid entertainment and media subscriptions each on average with the pandemic only driving more adoption. Despite the popularity of the subscription economy, there’s been a lack of actionable, available benchmarks to gauge consumer interest and behavior. ANTENNA has built the platform that provides market-level information (competitive intelligence) on subscription metrics including growth and churn across the subscription media ecosystem. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Rameez Tase to learn more about how ANTENNA provides transparency to the subscription economy, the company’s future plans, and recent funding round led by Raine Ventures.
QL Gaming Group, the sports data and gaming platform that operates RotoQL, BetQL, Accuscore, and Tennis Insight, has been acquired by Entercom, the local sports and news audio broadcaster, for $32M in an all-cash deal
Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Newsletters – the number of disparate platforms that we are engaging with to consume new content seems never-ending. River, a content discovery platform, encompasses all mediums to organize everything people are talking about online into bite-sized, shareable stories in real-time. River ensures that its community is fully anonymous, allowing users to discover new information and different perspectives than they may normally be exposed to through their own networks. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Jeremy Fisher to learn more about the team behind River, the company’s future plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Founders Fund, .406 Ventures, Box Group, Scooter Braun, Josh Kushner, and Raised in Space.
Millennials are watching less sports than previous generations. Bo Han, a former Twitter employee, is building Buzzer to make sports more accessible and flexible for sports fans, when and how they want it. The platform delivers what’s dubbed as “short-form live” content that allows fans to leverage their existing subscriptions or through nominal micropayments to view live games. Han was kind enough to join us to share more about the experience of fundraising during a time there were no live sports, his offer to return capital to investors during the pandemic in the wake of uncertainty, the company’s future plans, and recent round from notable investors that include Lerer Hippeau, Sapphire Sport, R&R Venture Partners, Imagination Captial, Anthony Noto, Richard Parsons, and Grace Kim.
In today’s content-driven world, businesses continue to rely more on visual storytelling than ever before. Remote work has only accelerated this. Air is the cloud collaboration tool for creative minds that fundamentally changes the way teams approach visual work, making collaboration easier, and eliminating the need to move assets to and from the cloud. CEO and Cofounder Shane Hegde discusses the evolution of Air, product roadmap, and more on the experience of raising a round via Zoom meetings. Backers in this latest round (Series A) include Tiger Global, Lerer Hippeau, Slack Fund, WndrCo, Red Sea Ventures, and Advancit Capital.