Venture capital activity in AdTech reached $514 million in the last month across eleven funding rounds, signaling a strong foundation for 2016 as VCs begin to click open their purses.

The list of investments follows. 

My tendency is to caution VCs on the viability of many of the business models represented here.  As I click on the links to the funded sites, I find myself awash in homogenized, dull, often boring, sometimes confusing presentations of their offerings.

If a site is the face of its business, VCs need to take a hard look at their investments in businesses they are not qualified to vet.

Blippar has raised $54 million in a Series D funding led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad with participation from existing investors.
ZoomData has raised $25 million in a Series C round led by Goldman Sachs with participation from other investors.
Qubit has raised $40 million i a Series C funding led by Goldman Sachs with participation from other investors.
SproutSocial has raised $42 million in a Series C round led by Goldman Sachs with participation from other investors.
DataRobot has raised $33 million in a Series B funding led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from other investors.
Fuze has raised $112 million in a Series E round from Summit Partners.
Geofeedia has raised $17 million in a Series B funding led by Silversmith Capital Partners with participation from existing investors.
Hired has raised $40 million in a Series C round led by Lumia Capital with participation from other investors.
Snagajob has raised $100 million in a Series D funding led by Rho Acceleration with participation from other investors.
Curalate has raised $27.5 million in a Series C round led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from other investors.
YourMechanic has raised $24 million in a Series B funding led by SoftBank Capital with participation from other investors.


What follows is not only a security breach by hackers, it's a breach of faith and what I would consider negligence by the company and investigators that allowed this to go on for almost four months without alerting those affected.

21st Century Oncology, based in Fort Myers, Fla., operates 145 cancer treatment centers in the United States and 36 in Latin America.

The company, 21st Century Oncology Holdings is warning 2.2 million patients that health data and Social Security numbers were stolen from its computer network.

The breach, which was revealed on March 4, occurred last November and included the theft of patient names, Social Security numbers, physicians’ names, diagnoses and treatment information, and insurance information.

21st Century Oncology said it had to delay notifying patients until after an FBI investigation concluded in November. According to the hospital, intruders gained access to its computer network in October.

In a statement, 21st Century Oncology said, there is no indication patients’ actual medical records were accessed. “Upon learning of the intrusion, we immediately hired a leading forensics firm to support our investigation, assess our systems and bolster security,” said the hospital in a statement.

James Chappell, Digital Shadows’ CTO and co-founder, said hackers were most likely targeting personal identifiable information for resale on black markets. “The circumstances in these patients’ lives were already pretty tough,” Chappell said. “I’m surprised 21st Century Oncology weren’t better stewards of their patients’ data given their circumstances.”

“21st Century Oncology’s response really misses the mark,” said Ted Harrington, executive partner with Independent Security Evaluators, in an email interview. “They note in their statement that no medical records were lost. But patient names, Social Security numbers and other data were. These are some of the most important aspects of the medical record.”

21st Century Oncology is one of several hospitals have been increasingly targeted by criminals. Last month, the Los Angeles-based Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid $17,000 in Bit-Coin to attackers that locked down access to the hospital’s electronic medical records system and other computer systems using crypto-ransomware.

Independent Security Evaluators concludes that hospitals desperately need to shore up their cyber defenses and are vulnerable to attack.

A good way to measure the health of the ad industry is to track the number of Mergers and Acquisitions taking place.

The good folks at GM Ryan International issue a monthly round up of M&A activity in the Media, Ad-Tech and ad world.  There were twenty-four acquisitions in March, pointing to healthy industry activity.

Although low to mid-market M&A activity could be losing a bit of steam this year, as cheap bank financing tightens dictated by fed activity, private equity firms appear to be sitting on capital they raised in the last two years.

The powder is dry.  Let's see what happens during this election year.

Nielsen acquires Pointlogic.
Outbrain acquires Revee.
Clickable acquires TalkWheel.
SugarCRM acquires Contastic.
Sprinklr acquires Postano.
Google acquires Pie.
YouTube acquires BandPage.
Amazon acquires Emvantage.
ASICS acquires RunKeeper.
Web.com acquires Yodle.
Amazon acquires NICE.
Everalbum acquires Pout.
Time Inc. acquires Viant.
Microsoft acquires Groove.
Merkle acquires dbg.
Apple acquires LegbaCore.
Microsoft acquires SwiftKey.

The Internal Revenue Service today issued an alert to payroll and human resources professionals to beware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees.
The IRS has learned this scheme — part of the surge in phishing emails seen this year — already has claimed several victims as payroll and human resources offices mistakenly email payroll data including Forms W-2 that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals posing as company executives.

“This is a new twist on an old scheme using the cover of the tax season and W-2 filings to try tricking people into sharing personal data. Now the criminals are focusing their schemes on company payroll departments,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

“If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.”

IRS Criminal Investigation already is reviewing several cases in which people have been tricked into sharing SSNs with what turned out to be cybercriminals. Criminals using personal information stolen elsewhere seek to monetize data, including by filing fraudulent tax returns for refunds.

This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” email. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.

The following are some of the details contained in the e-mails:
  • Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.
  • Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).
  • I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.
The IRS recently renewed a wider consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season and other reports of scams targeting others in a wider tax community.

The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industry are engaged in a public awareness campaign — Taxes. Security. Together. — to encourage everyone to do more to protect personal, financial and tax data. See IRS.gov/taxessecuritytogether or Publication 4524 for additional steps you can take to protect yourself.