Viacom Acquires Whosay to Help Advertisers Create More Branded Content

Viacom Inc., the owner of MTV and Nickelodeon, said it has agreed to acquire influencer marketing shop Whosay Inc., joining the list of media companies investing in advertising services.

Whosay, an eight-year-old shop with around 70 employees, had early success with a platform that helps celebrities manage their social media presence. The shop also helps brands create and distribute digital content, as well as connects brands with influencers who tend to have large fan bases. Whosay’s brand clients include marketing heavyweights like McDonald’s , Coca-Cola and Macy’s .

Viacom plans to utilize Whosay to help brands create campaigns that are consistent across digital platforms as well as TV, and those services will help the company generate incremental revenue, said Viacom’s ad sales chief, Sean Moran. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Read the full article here. is installing Latch access systems in 1,000 NYC apartment buildings for easier deliveries

Jet, the online retailer bought by Walmart last year, has struck a deal with smart access provider Latch in an effort to make deliveries easier for its customers in urban areas.

Over 100,000 residents living in 1,000 buildings will get free and full access to Latch’s residential “R” system for the exterior door of their building, with the install paid for by a “joint investment” from Jet and Latch.

This means residents can use their phone as a key, grant access to guests without walking downstairs and of course get packages delivered safely without being home. Building managers can also use Latch’s system to grant access to trusted delivery providers like USPS at their discretion, but all of these 1,000 units will already be set up to provide access to Jet’s delivery partners.

Read the full article on TechCrunch.

Healthify Raises $6.5M in Funding

Healthify, a NYC-based community referral and social determinants management platform, closed a $6.5m Series A funding round.

The round was led by BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners (BCBSVP) with participation from Primary Venture Partners (PVP) and Activate Venture Partners (AVP). In conjunction with the funding, Tom Hawes, Managing Director of Sandbox Industries, will join the Board of Healthify representing BCBSVP.

The company, which has raised over $9.5m through investments, grants and awards to date, intends to use the funds to expand its care coordination product suite and grow its network of customers and social service partners.

Read the full article here.

Addressing the social determinants of health

Most of what determines how healthy you are isn't medical—it's social and behavioral.

Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco have found that behavior accounted for roughly 40% of all deaths in the U.S.

Making patients healthier through pre-emptive interventions rather than relying solely on medical treatment can significantly decrease health risks.

That idea drives Healthify, a software suite that gives providers and others resources to connect patients with community organizations that can help address such issues as food insecurity and affordable housing.

Read the full article in Modern Healthcare.

WeWork has acquired venture-backed Fieldlens

WeWork, the seven-year-old, New York-based co-working juggernaut that more recently entered into the business of co-living, has been making a series of small acquisitions with some of the $1.8 billion that it has officially gathered from investors.

Its latest acquisition: Fieldlens, a 5.5-year-old mobile communication system for the construction industry that aims to replace calls, texts, emails and all the other back and forth that’s typically sent between building owners, contractors, subcontractors, architects and everyone else involved in a construction project.

WeWork was already one of Fieldlens’ biggest customers and, as an early adopter — says WeWork’s chief product officer, David Fano, in a new blog post about the acquisition — the company has “seen first-hand what connected front-line teams can accomplish.”

Read the full article in TechCrunch.

SimpleReach Raises $9 Million, Lands New CEO

New York startup SimpleReach has raised new funding and replaced its CEO, founder and former CEO Edward Kim tells Term Sheet. New funding for the "content data platform" startup totals $9 million, led by Spring Mountain Capital. Hal Muchnick, formerly of DoubleClick, Kontera, AddThis, and LowerMyBills, will become CEO.

This news is notable for two reasons:

1. In the last year, investors have viewed any startups related to advertising and marketing as toxic, in part, because the category was over-capitalized and VC portfolios are over-exposed to struggling assets.

2. Kim's move from the CEO role is notable because it goes against the prevailing narrative among startups that says founders should avoid handing their companies over to a more professional CEO. Those that didn't willingly step aside risked being forced by their investors.

Read the full article here.

Greats Raises $10M in Series B Funding

Greats, a Brooklyn, New York-based digitally native, direct-to-consumer sneaker company, raised $10MM in Series B funding.

The round was led by JH Partners with participation from new and existing investors Resolute Ventures, retired NFL star Adrian Wilson, Eric Zinterhoffer of Searchlight Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to invest in new technologies, grow the team and open 10 or more pop-up retail experiences over the next two years, in key cities across the United States.

Read the full announcement here.

Ollie: The Startup Delivering Healthy Dog Food Straight To Your Door

The pet food market has grown to become a $30 billion industry in the United States, totaling over $70 billion worldwide. Nearly doubling since 2000, the market value jumped 22.5% from 2014-2015. Controlled by a small conglomerate of companies, 7 of the 11 of highest-grossing dry dog food brands in the U.S. are owned by either Mars or Nestle. Yet, despite generating massive profits, the industry has struggled to break through dark clouds of criticism. Riddled with recalls, lawsuits and intense scrutiny surrounding manufacturing practices -- the need for a disruptive paradigm shift has appeared more evident than ever.

Stemming from the dangerously unhealthy ingredients found in processed pet foods, 60% of dogs in the U.S. are obese, with diabetes and cancer rates amongst pets continually on the rise. In the past 10 years, the total number of dogs diagnosed has increased by 900%. These staggering statistics are due, in large part, to a history of negligent state-imposed legislation, loosely enforced regulations, and a profit-driven approach to mass manufacturing. 

Founded in October of 2016, Ollie produces and delivers healthy dog food directly to your door, using human grade ingredients and smart technology to design custom diets for your pet. Assembling a team of trained nutritionists, tech specialists, and manufacturers – Ollie aims to not only reverse a looming stigma surrounding the industry, but to establish an adoptable model of trust and transparency with pet parents.

Read the full article published in Forbes.