Pokémon GO creator Niantic acquires AR startup Escher Reality

NianticThe company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, has acquired augmented reality startup Escher Reality. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Escher Reality builds backend services for cross-platform mobile AR so users can interact with each other and objects in the environment. The startup offered functionality for shared experiences that was absent in both Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The startup’s investors include Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Webb Investment Network, iRobot Ventures, Presence Capital, Into Ventures and others.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said, “The addition of the Escher AR technology is incredibly exciting to us at Niantic as it significantly accelerates our work on persistent, shared AR as part of the Niantic real-world application platform. It’s our intention to make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year.”

Niantic is releasing its next big AR title Harry Potter Wizards Unite this year.

USA, San Francisco & Sunnyvale, CA

Apple acquires app developer Buddybuild

AppleApple has acquired Buddybuild, a Vancouver-based app tools developer focused on continuous integration and debugging tools. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Buddybuild was founded in 2015 by former Amazon employees Dennis Pilarinos and Christopher Stott. In its nearly three years of existence, the startup has managed to raise around $8.8 million. Its existing customers includes Mozilla, Hootsuite, Reddit, SoundCloud, FourSquare and The New York Times.

As part of the acquisition, Buddybuild will be rolled into Xcode, Apple’s suite of development tools for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.

USA, San Francisco, CA & Vancouver, BC

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BrandSpins acquires TONE Technology

BrandSpinsA year after the digital music distribution company BrandSpins acquired the music licensing giant, MusicDealers.com, they have released a new technology called ‘TONEprotocol,’ aimed at revolutionising the advertising industry. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TONEprotocol, developed by TheToneKnows, Inc., works by embedding an imperceptible tone called a ‘TONE-Tag’ into any MusicDealers’ song used within television, radio, and streamed advertisements. The ‘Tone-Tag’ is an imperceptible audio beacon that converts this beacon to a “code” which can be deciphered by any smartphone. Once perceived by any mobile device, the ‘TONE-Tag’ will trigger a graphic ad which instantly appears on the listener’s mobile phone.

Beyond radio and TV, the audio beacon technology works in anything with sound including films, video games, as well as the retail environment. By installing TONE-emitting chips sets in retail stores and public spaces, coupons, ads, and promotions can be delivered to any smartphone within about 30 feet. This application of the technology could replace expensive and maintenance-intense bluetooth beacons and RFID-based systems.

Billy Tuchscher, CEO of BrandSpins and MusicDealers.com, said, “It is pretty impressive to be listening to a radio ad and magically have a coupon, flyer, or event ticket show up on your phone. The technology is solid, all the inventors needed was a music catalog, method of distribution, and big brand relationships. We have all that.”

USA, Las Vegas, NV & San Francisco, CA

India’s Times Internet acquires spiritual content app House of God

Times Internet IndiaTimes Internet Ltd, a subsidiary of media house Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd, has acquired the spiritual content app House of God, which is run by Innertech Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Innertech Media Solutions is a New Delhi-based startup, incorporated in 2017 and incubated at EROS Labs, which offers online religious media, product and services covering six different religions.

Gautam Sinha, CEO of Times Internet, said, “Our user base has continuously asked for innovative products and services in the religious and spiritual interest category. Consistent to our strategy of catering to a mobile-first audience base in India, the House of God acquisition will extend our leadership in spiritual content experiences”.

India, Gurgaon Haryana & New Delhi

Apple acquires music recognition app Shazam

AppleApple has acquired the music recognition app Shazam, expanding its existing music offerings. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 1999, Shazam is an app that captures a clip of music that is playing. The clip is matched with a large database to return a matching result which can then be downloaded, currently from Spotify but in the future users could be directed to Apple Music instead. With a reported over one billion downloads to date, Shazam also has visual recognition capabilities which let users identify any TV show, film or advert by listening to an audio clip or a visual fragment.

Apple released a statement saying “Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users.”

USA, San Francisco & Cupertino, CA

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Certain Acquires Gather Digital, Investing in the Next Generation of Mobile Event Applications

CertainCertain, the leader in enterprise event automation, today announced it has acquired Gather Digital, a mobile event application suite for enterprises, associations and educational institutions. With this acquisition, Certain is further strengthening its mobile development and data integration capabilities, taking advantage of the experience that Gather Digital’s extended team brings and offering customers unprecedented insight into the mobile journey to determine the event attendee’s true sentiments. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Gather Digital creates native and mobile web event applications with integrated personalized agendas, event content, live polling, surveys, continuing education credits, group meetings, lead retrieval and gamification. Gather Digital’s engagement apps allow the company’s clients to leverage mobile as a channel to capture intent throughout events, and build deeper relationships with their event attendees. Their customers include five of the world’s largest financial services companies, the nation’s leading pharmaceutical/ life science organization and premier technology and Fortune 1000 corporations. With the acquisition, Certain will continue to grow its U.S. presence and tap the North Carolina Research Triangle’s burgeoning tech hotbed for sales, marketing and product talent.

“Certain is focused on enabling our customers to gather the most relevant data from event attendees to drive better business results from events,” said Peter Micciche, CEO of Certain. “By acquiring Gather Digital and the impressive mobile capabilities the team has developed, we’re continuing to invest in our data strategy – and the people at the forefront of delivering innovative technology for world class enterprises.”

USA, San Francisco, CA & Chapel Hill, NC

WPP invests in VR/AR company Within Unlimited in the US

wppWPP has made a strategic investment in Within Unlimited, Inc., a US-based virtual reality/augmented reality entertainment and technology company

Within creates and produces virtual reality content and also curates content from third parties, which it distributes through the Within app.

Partners and content collaborators include Apple, The New York Times, NBC Universal, Vice, 21st Century Fox, and Alphabet Inc. Within employs over 35 people and is based in Los Angeles with an office in San Francisco. It was founded in 2014. Within is led by film maker and music video director Chris Milk and technologist Aaron Koblin.

UK, London & USA, Los Angeles, CA

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