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New York tech start-up — Quirky bags $79 million in Series D to go on making invention possible

New York has a tech com­pa­ny that despite its fre­net­ic cre­ativ­i­ty almost shuns pub­lic­i­ty; how­ev­er, as any prod­uct man­ag­er work­ing in tech can tes­ti­fy, when your com­pa­ny gets to raise a thun­der­ing $79 mil­lion in Series D, it’s hard to keep it qui­et. That is what Quirky the tech start­up has done in its three short years of life, attract­ing eye-pop­ping invest­ments now total­ing £175 mil­lion. $30 mil­lion of the lat­est round came from GE Ven­tures, with much of the rest com­ing from exist­ing investors Andreessen Horowitz; RRE Ven­tures, Nor­west Ven­ture Part­ners and Klein­er Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Curi­ous prod­uct man­agers will be pon­der­ing on how such a young com­pa­ny has gar­nered such immense ven­ture fund­ing. From idea to shelf  Found­ed by Ben Kauf­man (now its CEO), Quirky aims to bring inno­v­a­tive new inven­tions to the mar­ket­place via its glob­al net­work of inven­tors, prod­uct influ­encers and its own expert prod­uct design team. That’s how ideas locked in people’s heads get to reach the store shelves, nur­tured from the ear­li­est stages to the last by Quirky’s com­mu­ni­ty. Any ves­tiges of skep­ti­cism lurk­ing in the mind of our curi­ous prod­uct man­agers will be dis­pelled with one look at the company’s growth. It…

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New York ecommerce startup Zady extends brand awareness at La Guardia

After bag­ging $1.35 mil­lion in seed-fund­ing in March and launch­ing in August, New York-based arti­san cloth­ing e‑commerce start­up Zady has opened a pop­up store – in LaGuardia Airport’s Delta ter­mi­nal, of all places. Ecom­merce ana­lysts in the know, how­ev­er, might con­sid­er this a rather clever step. Why an air­port?  On the face of it, an ecom­merce site spe­cial­iz­ing in pared back, qual­i­ty threads for men and women might have been more at home with a pop­up store in SoHo. But co-founders Max­ine Bedat and Soraya Dara­bi have done some hard­boiled think­ing about the selec­tion of an air­port for their first bricks-and-mor­­tar accom­pa­ni­ment: you get to show­case your goods to a much wider range of peo­ple. As Bedat explains: “We’re a small team and obvi­ous­ly don’t have the funds to open up every­where, but at the air­port you can inter­act with peo­ple across the coun­try.” Sim­ple but savvy The can­ny ecom­merce ana­lyst will agree that because an idea hap­pens to be sim­ple doesn’t mean that it isn’t also savvy. If Bedat’s rea­son­ing proves right, a mod­est New York ecom­merce start­up could get itself known in a short space of time from one end of the repub­lic to the oth­er. And beyond.…

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360i clinches lead global agency role with Estee Lauder’s Clinique

In the wake of a keen­ly com­pet­i­tive review, New York-head­­quar­tered mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing agency 360i (part of the Dentsu ad net­work) has clinched the cov­et­ed role of glob­al lead dig­i­tal agency for Estee Lauder’s pres­ti­gious Clin­ique brand. While the busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er who over­saw that lit­tle con­sol­i­da­tion may not have stopped pop­ping cham­pagne corks just yet, the agency has a big task ahead of it. Until now, Clin­ique has tend­ed toward a some­what frag­men­tary mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing strat­e­gy glob­al­ly, using dif­fer­ent agen­cies in dif­fer­ent coun­tries. But its Senior VP of Mar­ket­ing, Agnes Laud­er, told AdAge mag­a­zine that that’s chang­ing: as a glob­al brand, it wants a more “dis­ci­plined and strate­gic” alter­na­tive now – and 360i has been hired to play a piv­otal role in devel­op­ing “a glob­al strat­e­gy that sets Clin­ique apart.” Mul­ti-plat­­form, mul­ti-coun­try  So, if you were that cel­e­brat­ing busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er, how would you advise your cre­atives to pre­serve the brand’s unique­ness while giv­ing it a glob­al voice? The agency is well placed to exe­cute cam­paigns across all social net­works, includ­ing Twit­ter, Pin­ter­est and Insta­gram (social is one of its spe­cialisms) but the strat­e­gy will need to encom­pass dig­i­tal, cre­ative and media in its scope. But hey, that’s…

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A change of focus for New York-based social app developer Albumatic — and a change of name: introducing Koa.la

Social media man­agers mon­i­tor­ing new social ideas might like to know that New York-based pho­­to-shar­ing start­up Albu­mat­ic has a new name – and a new direc­tion. Head­winds and new ideas  Launched in Feb­ru­ary this year, Albu­mat­ic (now re-named Koa.la) orig­i­nal­ly focused on build­ing apps designed to cap­ture and share events as they hap­pened. If a bunch of friends decide to do a rock gig in a garage, Albu­mat­ic let them pho­to­graph it and instant­ly share it with oth­er near­by Albu­mat­ic users. They could then come over and take their own shots for shar­ing. Social media man­agers who think this is a pret­ty neat idea may be sur­prised that the startup’s co-founder, Adam Lud­win, and his team sensed from the out­set that there were “head­winds” imped­ing the chances of the app explod­ing into a major hit. So they start­ed devel­op­ing a new one and came up with a pho­­to-shar­ing app that inte­grates with mes­sag­ing firm Kik’s new “Cards” plat­form. And there’s more to come – Albumatic/Koa.la has already built three apps which inte­grate with Cards, but the team is plan­ning to build more apps for a range of oth­er mes­sag­ing plat­forms. The next big thing? A mea­sure of the suc­cess of…

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New York tech startup Divide conquers the BYOD conundrum

Whether you’re a tech-lit­er­ate prod­uct man­ag­er or not, few peo­ple would dis­pute that the boom­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of BYOD (bring your own device) has improved work­place pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and caused secu­ri­ty headaches in equal mea­sure. The core ques­tions are: how do the guys at IT man­age work-relat­ed out­put on mul­ti­ple scat­tered devices with­out com­pro­mis­ing per­son­al pri­va­cy, and how do they keep sen­si­tive work-relat­ed stuff con­fi­den­tial when it’s on a pri­­vate­­ly-owned device? Thanks to New York tech start­up Divide (which used to go by the clunki­er and slight­ly baf­fling name of Enter­proid), device own­ers and IT teams have a neat solu­tion: its app cyphers devices and secure­ly seg­re­gates work-relat­ed and per­son­al data. Pro­gres­sive pop­u­lar­i­ty The informed prod­uct man­ag­er may now be won­der­ing why Divide deserves a fan­fare while oth­er tech firms have been offer­ing solu­tions to this prob­lem too. There’s VMware for starters, whose soft­ware also sep­a­rates per­son­al and work data and then there’s mobile device man­age­ment firms Zen­prise and Good Tech­nol­o­gy (which is head­ing for an IPO). But there aren’t many who have proved as pop­u­lar as the Divide app, which since its launch in 2010 has been down­loaded on both iOS and Android plat­forms more than 200,000 times (and ris­ing). Not…

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