Marketing TechnologyMartech news roundup: Apple moves toward smart homes, LinkedIn Live, Affinity funding

Martech news roundup: Apple moves toward smart homes, LinkedIn Live, Affinity funding

Roundup of top news in martech from the week of Feb 11–Feb 19, 2019.

In our roundup of last week’s martech news, we highlight:

  • Apple buys PullString, the voice tech startup behind Talking Barbie
  • And Apple just hired the former CEO of smart lock company, Otto
  • LinkedIn rolls out video streaming, LinkedIn Live, beta version and invite-only
  • Affinity raises $26.5 million for relationship intelligence platform

Top stories in marketing technology last week:

Apple buys PullString, the voice tech startup behind Talking Barbie

What it is

Apple announced that it will acquire PullString. The company helps build engaging voice apps, and offers tools around voice experience and voice-enabled technology.

They are most well-known for powered toys such as Talking Barbie, and the company was founded by former Pixar execs in 2011.

Why it matters

Apple has lagged behind Google and Amazon in the smart-home race. This acquisition will help them push ahead with their voice-enabled technology.

And Apple just hired the former CEO of smart lock company, Otto

What it is

On Saturday, CNBC broke the news that Apple had hired a man named Sam Jadallah. Jadallah was CEO of Otto, a company that made smart locks, and which shut down about a year ago.

His LinkedIn profile now simply says he’s “Working on Home at Apple.”

Why it matters

Again, Apple looks to be gearing up for the smart-home fight against Google and Amazon. Who will connect your living room?

LinkedIn rolls out video streaming, LinkedIn Live, beta version and invite-only

What it is

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has hopped on the online video streaming bandwagon. They announced the beta version of LinkedIn Live, which will work similarly to live streaming on Facebook and Twitter.

They haven’t announced an exact date of when they’ll expand the feature to all users.

For now, it’s available on an invite-only basis.

Here’s an example of what it will look like on LinkedIn, from one of the beta users. (Example sourced from Social Media Examiner.)

Why it matters

LinkedIn’s Director of Product Management told TechCrunch: “Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking.”

He also said, “Live has been the most requested feature.”

Further proof of how much video resonates with consumers.

Affinity raises $26.5 million for relationship intelligence platform

What it is

Affinity is a San Francisco-based relationship intelligence platform. They just raised $26.5 million Series B funding, bringing their total funding to $40.5 million.

The company was founded in 2014 by two Stanford grads.

Why it matters

Affinity differentiates itself against most sales management tools in that it’s fully automatic. It runs on machine learning in lieu of manual data entry. They take data from emails, calendars, and other third-party websites, and analyze it with natural language processing (NLP) to auto-populate a pipeline.

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