The Future of Web Advertising

4 AdTech Startups That Could Change The Marketing Landscape for Online Retailers in a Big Way

4 Startups That Could Change The Marketing Landscape for Online Retailers in a Big Way

Hear pitches from 4 companies who are changing the way online retailers advertise to consumers. Learn how these innovative entrepreneurs plan to disrupt the web ad online advertising space and dig down to learn more about their ideas and business models.

5 minute presentations by each of the teams, followed by 5 minutes of questions by our panelists which include a distinguished group of VCs.

We showcase the 4 following startups:

Album+ – is the easiest way to aggregate location specific event photos, in real time. We use mobile technology, and geolocation, along with a web app and some API`s to make shooting, collecting, organizing, sharing and purchasing photos from the same event; automatic. Our target market right now is weddings, and our business model is charging the host for the service. The app is free and can be found here

Appside – Founded in 2011 AppSide is the first end-to-end content marketplace for motion-controlled entertainment devices. With years of experience in the motion field, AppSide provides the “missing link” between hardware manufacturers, developers and end-users, in the fast growing market of motion-controlled/Natural Interaction entertainment devices. AppSide`s end-to- end marketplace (platform and content) gives users easy access to innovative motion controlled games and apps using the best device experience possible. The company is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is backed by Wekix, a technology and new-media start-up accelerator, as well as high-profile US and European private investors.

Immersive Labs – provides adaptive advertising technology designed to optimize content based on actual viewership on digital signs for retailers and out-of-home advertisers. The technology is a combination of anonymous facial detection, sophisticated machine learning and strategies specified by the marketer. Immersive Labs is a Techstars NY company and was selected as one of the Top 25 hottest startups to watch in New York City by Business Insider.

Lemon – (an acronym for Location Enhanced Mobile Opt-in Network) is a digital media company providing total B2B solutions for location-based mobile marketing. The company offers state-of-the-art white label software that can be integrated into any app on the Android, Blackberry, or iPhone platform. When installed, the LEMON software enables push messaging based on precise locational awareness and specific user behaviors, resulting in highly targeted and relevant messages delivered at exactly the right time and place for maximum impact. The company also offers agency and consulting services, including strategic planning, custom app development, campaign planning & management, and metrics & reporting.

Panel Moderator:
– Lori Hoberman, Partner, Chadbourne & Parke LLP

Panel Speakers:
– Peg Jackson, Gridley & Co.
– Erik Nordlander, Google Ventures
– Jeanne Sullivan, Starvest Partners

Start-up Bootcamp

Learn how to plan your business with speed and flexibility in this interactive workshop.

Create and Pitch a successful business plan
If your business plan is scribbled on a napkin, you could be in for some nasty surprises. On the other hand, a 40-page term paper is a waste. Instead, invest just time enough to make smart choices, and be prepared to pitch your ideas in a compelling way. Learn how to plan your business with speed and flexibility in this interactive workshop.

David Ronick is a co-founder of, which helps founders start up smarter via on-demand courses, coaching, and webinars. David has helped over 100 founders plan and launch new ventures, and is the author of Hit The Deck: Create a Business Plan in Half the Time with Twice the Impact. Prior to upstart, David co-founded an early social network, and an out-of-home ad network. David is a contributing writer for and, and a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Business School, where he`s a judge of their business plan contest.

Khan Academy

re-inventing education as a social venture.

Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy, gave the keynote presentation at the annual Pace Pitch Contest in NYC. He talked about building a social venture in the education space and offered advice for entrepreneurs and those looking to start up a new business. He gave the keynote via skype (above). The video below is a highlight of his TED talk and provides some background and context to who he is and what he does and why he is Bill Gates’ favorite teacher.

The Pace Pitch Contest is based on the Elevator Pitch concept, popular in the venture capital community. It is an extremely concise presentation of an entrepreneur’s idea, business model, marketing strategy, competitive analysis, and financial plan, which is delivered to potential investors. The premise is that it could be made in a few minutes, should the entrepreneur spot a potential investor on an elevator and have the opportunity to pitch their idea during the brief ride.

Finalists in the New Business Concept category and the Social Venture category each have exactly three minutes to pitch their new venture idea to a distinguished panel of judges and an enthusiastic audience. In addition to broad participation at Pace, the contest has welcomed student competitors from a number of other universities, including Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Princeton, and Stanford.

Salman Khan – Founder, the Khan Academy

Sal is the Founder, Executive Director, and Faculty of the Khan Academy. He started the Khan Academy as a way to tutor his cousins remotely–while he was a hedge fund analyst in Boston, and they were students in New Orleans. He started posting videos on YouTube, and more and more people kept watching. It was clear there was a huge unmet need, so Sal left his hedge fund job and started Khan Academy with the mission of providing a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.

Sal holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was the president of his class. He also attended MIT, where he received 3 degrees: a Masters in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, and a B.S. in Mathematics.

Leaving a Big Company To Start Your Own

Or, how to go bald in under a year.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. If you currently have a secure job at a big company you probably have a nice healthcare plan, a steady, dependable paycheck and colleagues that you hopefully enjoy working with. The early days of a start-up include lots of sleepless nights, no health plan, no pay, and lots of alone time as you build out the early stages of your vision. As I can attest to, entrepreneurship puts hair on your chest. Fortunately, it hasn’t taken any from my head. Yet.

In the above interview, I talk to Sabir Semerkant about leaving a big company to start his own business.

I always ask entrepreneurs what business productivity tools they use in hopes that others may learn what works for different people and why they chose the tools they use for everything from project management to accounting, sales-force automation, customer relationship management, document creation, back-up, storage, Web hosting, etc.

Below you can learn about the tools Sabir chose for the early stages of his business.

Business Productivity Tools For Startups

I asked Sabir what productivity tools he uses to manage his business. In no particular order, he mentions:

Online Marketing Tactics for Start-ups

Do the things that don’t cost you money right so that when you do spend money you get high ROI.

“When you don’t have money you get creative”, Sabir Semerkant told me while explaining how The Vitamin Creek drives traffic to its e-commerce Web site. Sometimes, when building a business, not having money is a blessing in disguise. It forces a company to be smart in both product development and marketing. Having too much money allows a company to get a little lazy and pick up bad habits that can be hidden by money.

A successful professional quarterback or pitcher learns and fine tunes proper mechanics throughout high school and college. Similarly, an aspiring start-up needs to start by building a solid marketing foundation on top of which it can run various pay and free marketing initiatives. Build a weak foundation, and the money you spend will not deliver as efficient a return on investment than if you have a solid foundation in place.

The Vitamin Creek focuses on making marketing initiatives that take internal time and resources as efficient as possible. For example, the company has thousands of product detail pages. The company is focused on making sure each page, starting with the most trafficked pages, has plenty of high resolution product photos, product descriptions, and other page level details that make it easy for a customer to quickly decide that yes, indeed, this is the right product for me, and put the product in his shopping cart.

If your goal is to drive traffic to a Web site, it’s easy to get enamored by quick fix solutions such as buying key words on Google. Start-ups should analyze the acquisition cost to acquire each new customer as key words become more competitive.

About 60% of traffic to Web sites comes from Google organic search. The time a Web site owner puts into optimizing the site so that it is easily found through search can provide huge returns. Search traffic is free. But optimizing a Web site through search engine optimization tactics and seeing the results of the effort takes time. It’s not a quick fix like buying keywords on Google Ad Words, but rather a sustained effort.

Spyfu is a tool to measure the velocity of keywords – who is bidding on it, what the bid price is. A good key word that has a high price might make a good word or phrase to focus organic efforts around. Develop content on your site that includes those key words. Let others pay for the side of site ads when people search those terms. Discover the hidden gems – keywords that aren’t expensive but still get a fair amount of searches and pay for them instead.

Sabir plans to engage bloggers that focus on his industry vertical next. These are people who blog regularly about nutrition, health and vitamins.

Twitter is a platform that allows you to keep track of keywords related to your products so that you know who is talking about products you carry. You can then engage consumers who are shopping for these products. Just make sure you engage them in an authentic, helpful way, rather than immediately trying to sell them something. Help someone out and start a conversation with them about what they are researching. People generally appreciate getting a helpful response to their questions. Make a connection, person by person.

TwapperKeeper allows you to save searches for specific keywords on Twitter, such as the brands you carry. You can see who tweeted those keywords and engage that person in a dialogue.

Sabir uses TweetDeck as his Twitter platform. I do too.

Venture Capital Investing in 2011

Three leading New York venture capital firms provide their strategies for 2011.

Three leading New York venture capital firms provide their strategies for 2011. Understanding venture capital firms’ strategies is critical in order to obtain venture capital. Prior to the panel discussion, PricewaterhouseCoopers presented a summary of the 3rd quarter 2010 MoneyTree Report.

Venture Capital Investing: VC Investing By Year, Industry, Region, etc

The MoneyTree Report is a quarterly study of venture capital investment activity in the United States. As a collaboration between PwC and the National Venture Capital Association based upon data from Thomson Reuters, it is the only industry-endorsed research of its kind. The MoneyTree Report is the definitive source of information on emerging companies that receive financing and the venture capital firms that provide it. The study is a staple of the financial community, entrepreneurs, government policymakers and the business press worldwide.

Venture Capital Investing: Panel Introduction


Venture Capital Investing: Bubble or Not?


Venture Capital Investing: Hot Sectors in 2011


Venture Capital Investing: Investment Strategy for 2011


Venture Capital Investing: Audience Q&A


Among the issues discussed were:
– What types of companies will VC’s fund in 2011?
– What are the hot sectors for 2011?
– What characteristics are VC’s looking for in an early stage company?
– How robust is the start-up community in New York City?
– What is the likelihood of a recovery of the IPO market and how does this affect a VC’s strategy?
– How is the rise of the “super angel” affecting VCs?
– VC funds have had a weak ten year period overall (with the industry, though not all funds, being down for the period). How is this affecting the VC’s ability to raise fresh funds?
– Given the “lighter” startups, is the average VC investment decreasing in size? Is the average VC fund size decreasing?
– What is your specific investment strategy for 2011?
– What are the other hot trends in venture capital for 2011?

Panel Moderator:
– Ben Boissevain, Managing Partner, Agile Equity

Panel Speakers:
– Steve Brotman, Managing Director, Greenhill & Co.
– Alex Ferrara, Bessemer
– John F. Frankel, Managing Partner, ff Asset Management LLC

Chris Friedland, CEO, Talks Entrepreneurship

The DNA of a Start-up CEO, what it takes to be a professional CEO, and traits of successful employees.

Watch all video interviews from eTail East 2010.                               
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Chris Friedland has started a few companies and is currently the founder and CEO of, an online retailer which was recently acquired by a large British firm. I caught up with Chris at eTail East, an e-commerce conference, to talk start-ups and entrepreneurship.

The Start-up CEO

Chris talks about how historically he’s been a “start-up” CEO, who has the idea, launches a company, takes a risk, and grows the company to the point where venture capitalists and other professional investors bring in a new CEO to take the company to the next level of growth. is the first company he’s started where he has remained CEO during the next phase of growth, from $10 million in revenue to $50 million in revenue. This phase of growth often requires different skill-sets than the growth phase from zero to $10 million in sales.

Staying on for the next phase of growth has taught Chris some lessons on what it takes to move from entrepreneurial CEO to professional CEO.

DNA of an Entrepreneur

The main thing that distinguishes an entrepreneur from a typical business person is that when everyone else says something can’t be done, or won’t work, an entrepreneur continues to figure out how to innovate and make something work that “can’t be done.” Vision, or ignorance, allows an entrepreneur to see past all the common objections to a business idea.

Zeal and focus are important for an entrepreneur to be successful.

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Chris stresses the importance of structure and giving employees clear direction and management. A CEO needs to set the vision, put employees on a path, regardless of whether it is ultimately the right or wrong path, and then allow employees to perform to the best of their capability.

Hiring New Employees

Chris would rather have a really diligent hard worker than an all-star thinker or analyst who doesn’t actually execute. He looks for scrappy “doers” who are willing to make mistakes and move on. During a job interview, Chris often listens to hear how someone would solve a real world problem the start-up is having.

Does that person take an analysts approach (which includes a lot of planning and process) to problem solving or propose ideas that show a willingness to experiment? In short, do they come up with scrappy executable ideas for how they would solve the problem and embrace the possibility of failure?

Kaltura CEO on Entrepreneurship

Kaltura CEO Ron Yekutiel on building the core founder team.

Kaltura is an open-source online video platform (OVP) company. Kaltura’s business model is similar to Red Hat Linux – provide a free version of the software that people can download and put on their own servers and provide support for those who want to pay for it.

Kaltura also provides a hosted Software-as-a-Service version that allows customers to pay a monthly fee. All the video is hosted, encoded and delivered through Kaltura’s servers and customers manage their videos through a Web interface.

I view Kaltura as a potentially disruptive force in the OVP space, especially given that an ecosystem of software developers is emerging around the company to help develop features and functionality that do not currently exist. Kaltura is tapping into a thriving ecosystem of “free” labor.

Individuals and organizations who require a feature that currently doesn’t exist can take matters into their own hands and develop that feature themselves without waiting for Kaltura’s internal development team to get around to prioritizing it. Those features then plug into the platform and are available to others to use as well.

Two examples are the BuddyPress extension and Elgg plugin. Developers wanted to incorporate Kaltura into their CMS and didn’t see a specific plugin, so they developed one and released it to the community. When there’s a new release of BuddyPress, invariably a community developer will update the plugin for the benefit of the community.

If Kaltura had to develop all these features in-house, they would need a large team of internal developers which, of course, costs a lot of money.

Kaltura also took a page out of’s playbook and recently launched an App Exchange. Kaltura has several thousands of downloads per month from its community site,; and hundreds of active developers on a regular basis. The Exchange launched in beta in April and since then a few dozen new developers and companies have started working on new apps.

I spoke to Kaltura CEO Ron Yekutiel at the Streaming Media East conference about entrepreneurship. The above video focuses on how the core founder team came together and what someone starting a business should look for in their co-founders, from personality traits to skill-sets.

Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Israel

Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside the United States, more than all of Europe or all of Asia combined.

Keynote Speaker and Panel Discussion

Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside the United States, more than all of Europe or all of Asia (including China, India and Japan) combined. Per capita, Israel has the largest government and private sector investments in R&D and number of engineers in the world. The nation has produced firms such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (valued at $37 billion), ISCAR (the first enterprise that Warren Buffett ever bought overseas), and Check Point Software (used by 100% of Global 100 companies).

Technology giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Intel, HP, Motorola, Cisco, GE, Google, Alcatel, Samsung, LG, Phillips, Siemens, and Nokia have R&D and regional business centers in Israel.

All of this in a country of 7 million people, only 60 years old, with no virtually natural resources. Critical factors that have lead to this phenomenal success will be examined and the current state of technology entrepreneurship in Israel discussed.

Keynote Speaker Biography

Ayla Matalon
Executive Director
MIT Enterprise Forum of Israel

Ayla joined the MIT Enterprise Forum with 15 years of experience in the high tech and venture capital industries. Previously an analyst at Steps Investments in Technology and Managing Director of the US-Israel Science and Technology Center, and with over 10 years of experience as a software engineer in both Israeli and foreign high-tech companies, Ayla has acquired a profound knowledge of the Israeli high-tech scene and the needs represented by this sector.

Ayla lectures on high-tech entrepreneurship and business development in the MBA program of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Tel-Aviv University’s Faculty of Engineering, and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. She consults to early-stage startup companies, and holds a number of board positions.

Ayla has an MSc degree in Computer Science (Technion, Haifa) and an MBA (INSEAD, Fontainebleau; emphasis on Entrepreneurship).
Panel Speaker Biographies

Amiad Solomon
Founder and CEO

Amiad Solomon is the CEO and Founder of Peer39. Together with Peer39 scientists, research and development and marketing groups, he developed the core patents covering Peer39`s unique semantic analysis technology and business practices. Recognized as one of the world`s leading experts on the application of semantic technology to next-generation online advertising, Mr. Solomon is a sought after speaker and author on advertising, product innovation and start-ups. His articles have been published in such diverse media outlets as The Huffington Post, Ad Age, iMediaConnection, Ad Exchanger and Digiday. Mr. Solomon currently serves on the Content Board of Directors for the Software Information Industry Association. Prior to founding Peer39, Mr. Solomon was a sales and business development executive at IDX (acquired by GE).

Ran Harnevo
Co-Founder and CEO
5min Media

Ran has vast experience both in management and in creating, managing and deploying content. In his last job he was the site manager of a large scale UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicles) Surveillance Project in the American Oil Fields of Angola – working for the Israeli company LR Group, and was the company’s representative in North Angola. This work is based on Ran’s experience in the Israeli Air Force. After several years in the army, Ran was a journalist and deputy editor of “Tel-Aviv” Magazine (a Tel Aviv newspaper within the Israeli Yedioth Ahronot group) where he has also served as a political writer, the editor of the sport section, the news section and the Internet site. Ran studied Philosophy and Computer Science in Tel-Aviv University.

Yaron Galai
Founder and CEO

Yaron is a co-founder and the CEO of Outbrain, Inc. (, a startup developing a blog and RSS rating platform. Outbrain caters to RSS aggregators, online publishers, and bloggers. Outbrain provides a related content widget for over 25,000 sites, including USA Today, Slate, Fox, and It reaches 12 million U.S. visitors according to Compete, up from 1.3 million a year ago.

Yaron was also a co-founder and SVP of Quigo, Inc. (, a provider of performance-based marketing solutions for advertisers and premium publishers. He served as the CEO of the company for three years, until the company was acquired by AOL for $360M in 2007. Quigo developed a network for contextual advertising on content sites.

Prior to Quigo, Yaron was a co-founder of Ad4ever, a developer of rich-media advertising technologies for the web which was later acquired by Atlas, a division of aQuantive. Earlier, he was the founder of NetWorks Web Design, a SEO and web design firm. At NetWorks he oversaw the production and search engine optimization of over 30 websites.

Yaron studied industrial design at the Holon Technological Institute, and is a Major (reserve) in the Israel Navy.
Panel Moderator Biography

Bruce Bachenheimer
Clinical Professor of Management
Pace University

Bruce Bachenheimer is a Clinical Professor of Management, the Director of Entrepreneurship@Lubin, and a Faculty Fellow of the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, primarily in the areas of entrepreneurship, management, and strategy.

Mr. Bachenheimer is a member of the Global Board of Directors of the MIT Enterprise Forum, a Board member and past Chair of the New York City Chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum, and on the Board of Directors & Advisors of LeadAmerica. He has served as a consultant to the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the New York City Economic Development Corp., and a variety of new ventures. He has been quoted in a wide variety of publications and interviewed on public radio and television.

Mr. Bachenheimer`s earlier career includes having served as a Vice President of iQ Venture Partners, an Assistant Vice President of Westpac Banking Corp. and an International Banking Officer for the Bank of Tokyo. As the International Product Manager for MSI, he was responsible for the initial commercialization of a high-technology forensic science system. In that position, he conducted business in over twenty countries. He was also the founder of Annapolis Maritime Corp. and the Co-founder of StockCentral Australia. Other activities include having sailed his 36` boat from New England, through the Caribbean, to South America and back.

Mr. Bachenheimer holds a BBA, Summa Cum Laude, from Pace University. He received the McKinsey & Company Leadership Scholarship to pursue an MBA degree, which he earned from the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Change Transformation Unleashes Growth

What successful companies like Apple, Starbucks, Facebook and Amazon have in common?

Ever wonder what successful companies like Apple, Starbucks, Facebook and Amazon have in common?

Technological growth can only sustain a company’s growth and evolution so far in this global market. Even a start up or early stage company must consider Change Transformation in order to reach the break points and/or next levels of growth. The level of consciousness an organization has about change will impact the viability of the company. There are two choices:

  • The world will make a company change at a point of crisis.
  • The company can make a conscious choice for change that it wants to make happen.

Successful companies define and initiate change before the change happens to them. This includes questioning and testing all assumptions/premises that are fundamental to the business, which helped them get to this point in their evolution.

The panel discussion above focuses on what successful companies have in common, and how they’ve utilized change transformation to continually reinvent themselves. Loris Smith, the moderator, asks the panelists how change transformation may be implemented from a variety of angles, including Technology, Business Development, and Venture Capitalist/Investor perspectives; as well as how ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ can play a role in building the right teams at various stages of development to assure successful outcomes.

– Lori Smith, Partner, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP

– Richard Fox, Managing Director, Cross Atlantic
– Harold Hambrose, CEO and Founder, Electronic Ink
– Meryl Miller, Organizational Strategist, Transformational Change