Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Vurve Launches "Advertising on Autopilot"

You know how the Internet is supposed to make things measurable and accountable, and, thus, democratized? There’s still a lot to be done. Vurve today is coming out of stealth to try to make that premise more true when it comes to small-business advertising on Google, Facebook, shopping engines and the like. (The idea is to figure out what’s actually working, and do more of it.)

Vurve (formerly called Palaran) is almost all automated (customers have to put in about 15 minutes per week, the company says), and to start it is focused on e-commerce businesses. The company figures out what combination of search, display, remarketing, social and shopping engine advertising will be most effective on a dynamic basis.

A partnership with Shopify gives Vurve access to more than 10,000 stores, and it is also available through an integration with Yahoo. Customers spend a minimum of $200 per month. Vurve has also scored preferred access to Google and Facebook’s APIs so it can create its ads more easily. As you can see in the image above, the company does a neat job of illustrating where every sale actually comes from.

Vurve founder and CEO Amit Kumar said that though he doesn’t see much direct competition now, he expects there to be a demand-side platform-style gold rush for optimization and data mining. “Anyone can do this; it’s not voodoo science,” he said. Vurve has had a year in stealth to get its product ready and also has a strong team. Kumar previously worked on Yahoo SearchMonkey, and was also at Dapper, which was acquired by Yahoo last month. Vurve recently hired Kent Brewster, formerly a well-known Yahoo engineer, who apparently “singlehandedly” built the Netflix iPhone app.

Vurve raised $1.2 million from True Ventures and is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik