18-20 March 2018, Berlin

with the main Summit 19-20 March

Navigation

DIS USA Tour 2017

12 - 17 November 2017 | San Francisco & Seattle

Immersive, in-depth and meaningful learning
experiences for senior media

Tour dates

Sunday 12 - Friday 17 November 2017

  • Sunday, 12 November 2017 - Seattle
    Individual arrivals, 3 nights in Seattle

  • Wednesday, 15 November 2017 - San Francisco
    Flight to San Francisco, 2 nights in San Francisco

Confirmed meetings

Company Profiles

Below are the companies that are confirmed for the DI Tour Autumn 2017. More confirmations will be announced soon! Please click on the following company names to learn more about each organisation and who we're meeting with.

Seattle

Algorithmia | Element Data | Geekwire | Madrona Venture Group | Microsoft | Pixvana | Synapse

San Francisco

Airbnb | Contextly | Facebook | Google | LinkedIn | Matter VC | Slack | Thunkable | Twitch | Volumetric Studio by Microsoft

Potential meetings

Company Profiles

In total, we will have 15-18 meetings on the autumn 2017 DI Tour. Apart from confirmed meetings, we are also in discussion with the following companies to add them to the agenda (check back to this page regularly for updates on new ones confirmed).

Seattle

DB Best Technologies | Mobilewalla

San Francisco

Buzzfeed News | Recode | StatsBot

Seattle

ALGORITHMIA
algorithmia.com

The company
With Algorithmia’s cloud based approach, developers can turn algorithms into scalable web services with a single click and generate revenue. Companies and application developers can discover, test and integrate algorithms into their own applications with under 10 lines of code by accessing Algorithmia's universal API. THe company currently has 45,000 developers on its open platform and a catalog of 3,500 algorithms, functions and machine-learning models. Googlle recently invested more than $ 10 million into the startup as part its

Some of Algorithmia's microservices such as Outlier Detection (flagging unusual data points) or Summarizer (creating a text summary by extracting key topic sentences) can be utilized directly from Google Spreadsheets. In July 2017, Algorithmia introduced Face Recognition, a trainable model that is hosted on Algorithmia. This model enables clients to train an algorithm to recognize people with high accuracy in images without the need of a huge dataset.

Meeting with
Diego Oppenheimer, founder and CEO

Relevance
Algorithmia's cloud based service enables other companies to easily make use of recent machine learning advances. Publishers can easily utilize AI tools and algorithms without having to worry about the logistics of back-end operations.

Link
Techcrunch: Algorithmia raises $10.5M Series A round led by Google’s new AI fund

Video
The Operating System for AI – Diego Oppenheimer, CEO of Algorithmia

DB Best Technologies
dbbest.com

The Company
DB Best Technologies is an award-winning Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, AWS Certified Partner, and Google Cloud Partner. They developed a state-of-the-art database migration technology, which was subsequently acquired by the Microsoft SQL Server group in 2005 and became a foundation for Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant product line. With a solid background in database technologies DB Best has been delivering cross-platform data and application management solutions for the past 15 years. Originally a startup, they never ceased growing and innovating. Today DB Best has offices in six countries and more than 340 certified architects and developers providing services to over 1500 Tier 1 customers worldwide.

Meeting with
Alisa Goldenberg, Senior Manager Marketing and Strategic Partnerships

Relevance
DB Best’s managed data services and cloud solutions development helps media companies manage and seamlessly integrate their data sets across devices and platforms.

Video
DB Best YouTube channel

 

ELEMENT DATA
elementdata.com

The company
Element Data Inc. is creating an artificial intelligence, machine learning based technology platform called Decision Insights Computation Engine, known as DICE, that provides unprecedented insights into the why of human decision-making and uncovers the factors that drive predictable outcomes. DICE does this by tapping into options, criteria, biases, and conditions that form the basis for any given decision and all considered alternatives. It is then delivered in a detailed compilation of analytics and psychographic and demographic insights – allowing individuals and organizations to influence their larger decisions.

Meeting with
Cyrus Krohn, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Element Data. Cyrus Krohn has been a cutting-edge communicator, digital innovator and new media executive for over 20 years. Krohn’s professional experiences include producing live television shows for CNN, pioneering new media businesses for Microsoft, and creating start-up companies pushing technology boundaries. He sold his prior start-up, Crowdverb, to the world’s largest communication services group, WPP. In 2013 Krohn was named as one of the top 50 digital political strategists in the United States.

Relevance
Using artificial intelligence for big data analytics and streamlining decision processes is a huge trend in the US media landscape.

Link
Seattle startup wants you to make up your mind (and its software will help)

Video
Krohn spoke at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City, 2013 on the topic of understanding human emotion through digital signals.

Cyrus Krohn | GOP 2.0 - Experimentation in Action

 

GEEKWIRE
geekwire.com

The company
Geekwire is a technology website focussed on tech and startup news in the Seattle’s booming tech region. Geekwire delivers breaking news and inside perspectives, a newsletter, a radio show, and a podcast. It organizes an array of industry events and meetups and has installed a successful membership model. Geekwire’s users are mainly entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and communicators.

Meeting with
Co-founder and partner John Cook

Relevance
Geekwire has successfully built a media empire from a niche website. One of its most successful line extensions is its event business. Geekwire is not only a competent expert voice in the technology world, it is also infused by technology and knows how to use it.

Link
GeekWire profitable after only two years

Video
Interview with John Cook

 

MADRONA VENTURE GROUP
madrona.com

The company
Madrona Venture Group is the Seattle metropolitan region’s largest and most influential venture capital firm. The company has been investing in early-stage technology companies in the Pacific Northwest since 1995. The firm invests across the information technology spectrum, including consumer Internet, commercial software and services, digital media and advertising, networking and infrastructure, and wireless. Madrona currently manages a portfolio worth nearly $1 billion and was an early investor in Amazon.

Meeting with
Alice Ryder, Director of Investor Relations and Business Development

Relevance

Madrona Ventures will give publishers deep insights into why and when this venture capitalist invests into media-relevant startups. Three of those startups (Algorithmia, MobileWalla, Pixvana) will join us for a two-hour session.

Link
The mighty Madrona: Why one VC firm is so critical to Seattle (and why that’s a little scary)

 

MICROSOFT

Our visit at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond will be focused mainly on the topics artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, cloud technology and the culture of innovation in a large company.

Meeting with
Tony Emerson and Rainer Kellerhals will be welcoming us at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond. As a keynote speaker, we are hoping to confirm James Whittaker. At Microsoft, he carries the titles “Technical Evangelist” and “Distinguished Engineer”. He was instrumental in developing the Bing information platform and is now mainly occupied with analyzing the implications of the internet of things and artificial intelligence.

We have also approached Elad Ziklik as potential speaker. Group Manager, Azure Machine Learning Applications at Microsoft. His specialties are product and engineering leadership, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and bots.

Relevance
In Microsoft’s “Digital Living Room” (Microsoft Envisioning Center) we will experience future media usage scenarios. Click here for further information.

Link
Video with James Whittaker
Microsoft Cognitive Services

MOBILEWALLA
mobilewalla.com

The company
Mobilewalla is a leader in mobile audience computation technology. It has pioneered audience measurement in mobileapps by applying groundbreaking data science techniques on the industry's largest volumetric database of mobile app data.
Mobilewalla provides audience measurement and deep analytics services for mobile app consumers, developers and advertisers. At the core, Mobilewalla is a big data analytics company that provides demographic, behavioural and affinity profiles across two million iOS and Android apps. Mobilewalla's approach is not to buy the cheapest media to maximize click through rates. Its bidding algorithms are optimized for audience and actions, seeking quality inventory, not quantity. Anindya Datta, the CEO and Chairman of Mobilewalla, is widely regarded as a front-running technologist, leader and innovator, with core contributions to the state of the art in large-scale data management and Internet technologies.

Meeting with
Founder and CEO Anindya Datta

Relevance

Mobilewalla shows publishers how to maximise the value of their mobile advertising invertory without ruining the mobile experience for their users.

Link
Time: A critical dimension of understanding mobile consumers

 

PIXVANA
pixvana.com

The company
Software startup Pixvana provides a virtual reality and augmented reality video processing and delivery platform for media and entertainment applications. It’s cloud-based software that allows people to edit videos for virtual-reality headsets.
Pixvana’s Spin Studio platform lets VR developers stitch, edit, finish, publish, and play back in one seamless platform. The cloud-based, integrated platform makes it easier and less expensive for VR professionals to create immersive experiences and enables creators to share any VR video with a variety of audiences.

Meeting with
Forest Key, CEO and Co-Founder

Relevance
Pixvana provides front- and backend services that make VR affordable for smaller media budgets.

Link
Seattle startup Pixvana makes it possible for anyone to create virtual reality videos

Video
Pixvana VR Video Lab: Field of View Adaptive Streaming

SYNAPSE
synapse.com

The company
Synapse is a product development and consultancy firm with a 150 employees Synapse combines expertise in the deveopment of hardware and software, driving innovation, introducing innovative devices and accelerating advances in technology. Synapse takes concepts through the whole process from ideas to engineering development, manufacturing through introduction in the market. In 2016, Synapse was acquired by Cambridge Consultants, a UK-based product development and consultancy.

Synapse was involved in developing the Steam Valve VR hardware, the San Francisco 49ers Connected Stadium, Microsoft Human Interface Designs, the Nike+ Fuelband, Panasonic Inflight Entertainment and many more groundbreaking devices and Systems.

Meeting with
Redwood Stephens, president of Synapse and Cambridge Consultants’ US West operations. Before joining Synapse, Redwood worked as COO at Exbiblio, developing technologies and business process that connect paper and digital mediums. He holds four issued and eight pending patents.

Relevance
Synapse connects software and hardware and the digital and virtual world with the physical world around us. This innovative comapny works with publishers that foray into AI, VR, locations-based services and many more technologies.

Link
Synapse hardware development firm acquired by Cambridge Consultants

 

San Francisco

AIRBNB
airbnb.com | airbnbmag.com

The company

Airbnb is to the hotel industry what Uber is to transportation and logisitics - a serious disruptor that keeps expanding into more industries. Publishing is one of its next domains. Founded in 2008 als a startup offering “Air Bed and Breakfast” in a few private apartments in San Francisco, Airbnb has since evolved into a hospitality giant with more than two million listings on its worldwide platform. It is worth more than 30 billion dollars (more than Hilton und Hyatt combined).

Lately, has Airbnb has been offering much more than just rooms for private travellers. Airbnb provides the platform for managed experiences and business trips. It’s “Places” platform with restaurant reviews and other local tipps from the insider perspective of hosts is a potent competitor for services like Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. ANd Airbnb now publishes a high class glossy ttavel magazine in partnership with publisher Hearst.

Meeting with
Madeline Moore, Experience Designer and Project Specialist in the Art Department, which created the new Airbnb magazine. Prior to Airbnb Madeline Moore has worked as an independent art designer for many clients in the magazine world such as Artsy, Atlanta Magazine, People of Print, SF Moma, and Quotation Magazine.

Relevance
Collaborations between innovative tech companies and legacy media companies are an interesting model. Hearst Magazine’s Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles describes the partnership as follows: “Airbnb is a travel disrupter, and with Airbnbmag, we will disrupt the travel-magazine category with a publication unlike any other on newsstands today. […] There is a new travel consumer whose needs and interests weren’t being served in the current media landscape.”

Link
Hearst Magazines' New Airbnbmag Encourages Readers to Be at Home in the World

BUZZFEED NEWS
buzzfeed.com

The company
In the US, Buzzfeed has been much more than a viral engine for listicles and cat videos. Buzzfeed is a global empire with its own film studios. It concentrates on mobile, video und viral content. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in New York, the enterprise has been profitable since 2013. Its main source of revenue has been, since the beginnings, native advertising. Buzzfeed opened its 8th bureau in 2014 in San Francisco which by now has more than 20 employees. In San Francisco Buzzfeed focuses mainly on technology and investigative reporting.

Meeting with
Buzzfeed San Francisco Bureau Chief Mat Honan

Relevance
Buzzfeed is famous for being a pioneer of social sharing news with a sucessful mix of entertainment and information. Buzzfeed has always stuck to its principle of being profitable first before investing in new fields and more premium content.

Link
Wired's Mat Honan Hired to Run New BuzzFeed Silicon Valley Bureau

CONTEXTLY
contextly.com

The company
Contextly is an engagement platform for publishers. The plattform utilizes artifical intelligence to show relevant content to users of websites, newsletters, apps und messenger bots without surfacing inferior links. In 2012, Contextly belonged to the first cohort of startups that graduated from the incubator program Matter VC. Contextly now has more than 1,000 clients. Among them are publishers such as Make, Gatehouse Media und AH Belo Corporation (Dallas Morning News) and the public TV network PBS.

Meeting with
Ryan Singel, co-founder and CEO. Before founding Contextly, Ryan Singel was a reporter for Wired magazine for 10 years. His beat was the internet, startups and tech innovation. Furthermore, he developed search enginges and databases.

Relevance
Premium audience engagement ist often expensive and time consuming. Contextly shows how algorithms can be used without turning websites into graveyards of inferior links.

Link
Contextly Review - Build A Loyal Audience Through Engagement Tools?

Video
Speaker Ryan Singel

 

FACEBOOK

We will visit Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. In 2017, the focus of our visit will be live video, 360 video, integration of Oculus and virtual reality, Facebook’s strategies against fake news and hate speech. Speakers will be announced as soon as possible.

GOOGLE

A visit to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View ist confirmed, speakers will be confirmed as soon as possible. These discussion topics are of particular interest:

  • Google Home, voice recognition and zvoice controlled computing - which role can publishers expect to play in a new voice controlled user surface and how should they prepare for the audio controlled internet?
  • Google Assistant and AI
  • Virtual reality platform for Android
  • Waymo, autnonomous driving and  sensors - how will media content fit into an environment when the car is autonomous and the driver has free use of his mind and his hands?
  • Google News

LINKED IN
linkedin.com

The company
The business network LinkedIn has more than 500 million members in over 200 countries. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. LinkedIn is working continously towards its goal to be much more than an address book and a network of business contacts. It is striving to be more attractive through aggregating relevant content. LinkedIn publishes more than 100,000 business articles per week. The platform is evolving into an innovative publisher and furthermore into a data specialist. With its new personalized statistics (“My Network”), LinkedIn is striving to further prolong the duration of visits to its platform. LinkedIn sells enriched data sets to third parties such as recruiters.

Meeting with
Christian Byza (Senior Product Manager). A few years ago, he moved from Germany into Silicon Valley and has been head of content partnerships and strategies since then. He speaks German, knows both worlds and can explain LinkedIn’s strategy for media partnerships from a transatlantic perspective.

Relevance
LinkedIn efficiently utilizes Big Data to create more relevance in connecting its users and showing personalized content in user feeds. It proves that relevant sets of aggregated data are an asset that can be monetized though sales to third parties.

Link
LinkedIn hits 500M member milestone for its social network for the working world

 

MATTER VC
matter.vc

The company
Matter VC is a venture capital firm und incubator. Founded in 2012, Matter has incubated 50 Startups through investments and its five month intensive program at its headquarters in San Francisco and its newer incubator in New York. Via a rigorous application program, Matter seeks startups that are a good fit for each other and complement each other. Design Thinking is the common thread through the whole program. Matter VC is specialized in media relevant startups and strives to work towards an informed and networked civic society (“Media that Matters”). Matter cooperates with the news agency AP and the public radio station KQED. Several Startups that graduated from the Matter program have been acquired by larger companies, e.g. Zeega by Buzzfeed, Huzza by Kickstarter and Parlio by Quora.

Meeting with
Founder and CEO Corey Ford

Relevance
Matter VC was the model for the Next Media Accelerator in Hamburg. To learn from Matter means to learn how to employ the principles of design thinking (openness and constant feedback, rapid prototyping and market entry, rapid iteration) for media innovation and media startups.

Video

Matter.VC Incubated


RECODE
recode.net

The company
Recode is a technology news website that focuses on the business of Silicon Valley. It was founded by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in January 2014 after they left Dow Jones and the similar website they had previously co-founded, AllThingsD. Recode and Code are wholly owned by Vox Media, a company with an audience of 170 million worldwide over It has eight media brands such as The Verge and vox.com.

Meeting with
Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode, host of the Recode Decode podcast and co-executive producer of the Code Conference. Kara Swisher has extensive experience covering the technology industry for Recode, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and as an author of several technology books. Kara Swisher is rewowned as an extremley well connected and outspoken critic and a fiercely independent voice in the tech scene.

Relevance
Recode is not the largest, but, arguably, the most influential website covering technology news. It not only often has breaking industry news first but also gets them right and serves a balanced mix of news and opinion. Its signature Code Conferences consistently signs up top league speakers and is, again arguably, the most prestigious series of tech conferences in the U.S. Recode proves how to own a niche and turn it into a valuable vertical.


SLACK
slack.com

The company
Slack is a team communication application providing services such as real-time messaging, archiving and search. It was started by Stewart Butterfield who previously founded Flickr. It offers one-on-one messaging, private groups, persistent chat rooms, and direct messaging as well as group chats organized by topic. All content inside Slack is searchable from one search box and it integrates with a number of third-party services, including Google Docs, Dropbox, Heroku, Crashlytics, GitHub, Zendesk, and Giphy. Slack is one of the fastest-rising startups ever. It has received more than 500 million dollars in equity funding and is valuated at 5 billion dollars.

Meeting with
N.N.

Relevance
Slack has almost a cult following in Silicon Valley. It started out as an intra-company messaging service, but is now so much more. It has evolved into a full suite of multimedia messaging options that publishers have been using and building upon, not only for their workflow but also for engaging their audiences in innovative ways. The New York Times used Slack to build an election bot last year and the Washington Post built a reader community around gender pay gap issues. Quartz uses Slack for breaking news and is now planning to unveil a suite of Slack-based tools designed to simplify the process of creating bots to follow certain pages or data. This tool suite will be open to other publishers.

Link
Background information

STATSBOT
statsbot.com

The company
StatsBot helps companies to analyse metrics such as Google Analytics. Its „Software as a Service“ (SaaS) utilizes algorithms that can translate code into natural language and vice versa. StatsBot provides data in real time that can be used by media companies to facilitate routines and streamline conferences. Data queries via StatsBot can be integrated into the messenger platform Slack. One of the most popular use cases of StatsBot are physical or virtual meetings in which the algorithm plays the role of an assistant providing data. One of the stakeholders of StatsBot is the New Yorker Incubator Betaworks.

Meeting with
Founder Mike Melanin

Relevance
StatsBot is an excellent example for artificial intelligence that doesn’t make humans superfluous but augments human intelligence. StatsBot’s algorithms take on assistant jobs and provide data in real time for more efficient work routines in publishing companies.

Link
Statsbot helps businesses pull their data into Slack

Video
Founding team

 

 

THUNKABLE
thunkable.com

The company
Thunkable is a drag and drop platform for native mobile applications that don’t require coding skills. The startup spawned form an MIT workshop. Its plattform has an impressive tool box with premium design elements und a lean user interface. Thunkable enables users to integrate maps, sensors, and aspects of artificial intelligence such as speech and image recognition into apps. They can then be monetised via Thunkable’s own advertising platform. An engaged community of users enriches the plattform with their own tips and ideas.

Meeting with
Founder and CEO Arun Saigal

Relevance
Not every mobile publisher needs to invent the wheel all over again in order to stay up to date with his mobile publishing needs. A well designed and customizable ready-made solution is in many cases good enough even for professional publishers.

Link
MIT Project Becomes Thunkable Drag-&-Drop Mobile Dev Tool

Video
The Thunkable Story by CEO Arun Saigal

 

TWITCH
twitch.tv

The company
Founded in 2011 and acquired by Amazon in 2014, Twitch is social video for gamers. It is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers where almost 400 million monthloy active users (MAU) gather every month to broadcast, watch and talk about video games (the second largest platform - YouTube - has 116,000 MAU according to Streamlabs). Twitch’s video platform is the backbone of both live and on-demand distribution for the entire video game ecosystem. This includes game developers, publishers, media outlets, events, user generated content, and the entire esports scene. Twitch uses advanced data sciences which foster its clustering viewers to understand the different types of viewing habits in aggregate. Twitch Founder and CEO Emmett Shear is also co-founder of Justin.tv and a part-time partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator, where he advises fledgling startups on product and strategy.

Meeting with
Founder and CEO Emmett Shear or other executive manager

Relevance
Authenticity is increasingly becoming the benchmark for which millennials are judging (media) brands. Twitch offers an optional subscription model that allows viewers to directly support both the Twitch community and their favorite streamers. This model could be extended to many different industries and can be employed by publishers. In the case of millennials, content needs to be authentic, personalized, real-time and interactive, and Twitch scores big when it comes to engaging the elusive millennial male. (Advertising Age)

Link
What Twitch Can Teach Brands About Marketing to Millennials 

Video
Emmett Shear, Twitch CEO and Founder - How Twitch is Transforming TV

 

VOLUMETRIC STUDIO

Microsoft’s (brand new and still nameless) volumetric studio serves to augment real with virtual 3D-footage, e.g. for usage in apps or Windows 10 PCs that can process AR. The studio is equipped with 106 3D-Kameras. Clients can use AR footage for training puprposes or to increase user engagement. The Studio operates platform-neutral. AR content can be viewed with Microsoft’s own Hololens AR headset (which is currently only available for businesses and developers) or with third party AR headsets.

Video
Microsoft HoloLens: Actiongram Beta feat. George Takei


Please note that the program is subject to change.

 

For further information and reservation you can contact Jennifer Panse:

 

Jennifer Panse
VDZ Akademie
Haus der Presse
Markgrafenstraße 15
10969 Berlin
Telefon: +49 30 72 62 98 – 113
E-Mail: j.panse@vdz-akademie.de

Copyright © 2017 Digital Innovators' Summit. All rights reserved.