Graeme Thickins on Tech

Reflections & analysis about innovation, technology & startups, with a focus on Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes

DoApp Has Been Acquired by Newscycle Solutions

DoApp logoDoApp has gone and done it — and, yes, it’s cool.

The highly successful Minnesota mobile startup has been acquired by Newscycle Solutions, a 500-employee Bloomington MN-based firm that “develops and delivers software technology to empower the global news media industry.” DoApp has developed more than 1,500 mobile apps for the news publishing and broadcast industries.  All DoApp employees will join Newscycle. The acquisition closed on June 10, 2016; the price was not announced.

DoApp was founded in early 2008 by former Google employee Joe Sriver and a small team. It has been entirely self-funded and profitable for six years. Newscycle Solutions is made up four merged companies and is owned by Vista Equity Partners, based in San Francisco, which was the most active firm in the M&A business last year. (Within the past two weeks alone, it acquired Marketo and Ping Identity, deals valued collectively at $2.4 billion.) Continue reading

TruScribe Summons Kickstarter to Get You ‘Talking’

TruScribe-crowdsourcingThought you’d heard it all on Kickstarter? Well, how many times have you run into a project there that’s about launching a language? You read that right. Get your credit cards out, startup and crowdfunding lovers: here’s your chance to say you were there back in ’16 when history was made.

But here’s the deal: you gotta tell a lot of your friends, because the folks at TruScribe have set a pretty hefty goal for this one: it’s $100k.  Of course, that’s befitting the ginormous implications here — I mean, how often do you get to impact the entire freaking global community, with that single audacious goal to allow everyone on the planet to communicate visually? This is big stuff, people!! What’s a lousy little 100 Grover Clevelands?

TruScribe, as you’ll recall, is a whiteboard video animation company that was cofounded in Minnesota. (I TruGlyph-logowrote about them here on back in 2014.) A large part of its staff is in Madison WI, but Minneapolis became its headquarters a while back, with great new digs at International Market Square. It was named the 253rd fastest-growing company on the Inc. 5000 list in 2015, which was understandably touted far and wide. (As a point of reference, crazy-fast-growing LeadPages of Minneapolis was #220.) In February 2016, TruScribe announced the first part of its new initiative to transform into a full-fledged software business, with a new iOS app called TruGlyph. (You can download the app here.)

What’s coming next you can see in their new (and very first) Kickstarter project. Here’s an excerpt from that page on what it’s all about: Continue reading

Minnesota Startup NativeX Will Be Acquired by Chinese Mobile Ad Firm Mobvista

[Note: This post first appeared on]

Ryan (left) and Rob Weber, cofounders of NativeX.

Ryan (left) and Rob Weber, cofounders of NativeX.

Minnesota’s NativeX announced today it is being acquired by Guangzhou-based Mobvista, Asia’s largest mobile advertising company. The company said the all-cash deal is valued at 160 million yuan, or 25 million US dollars. Once the transaction is completed, NativeX will become a subsidiary of Mobvista.

NativeX was founded by Minnesota twin brothers Rob and Ryan Weber and traces its beginnings to a former company they and a third brother, Aaron, founded in St. Cloud more than 15 years ago, called The firm later changed its name to W3i, then made a major transformation to mobile ad technology in early 2013, rebranding to NativeX. It specializes in monetization and advertising through proprietary native ad technology for mobile games and apps.

Mobvista also has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, New Delhi, Singapore, and San Francisco. NativeX has offices in St. Cloud (Sartell), Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Finland.

Rob Weber will continue as CEO of NativeX, and serve as a vice president of the Mobvista Group. “We currently have 40 employees in Minnesota,” said Rob, “and we’re planning for all of our current employees to stay on. Also, as part of the growth opportunity presented in light of the merger, we plan to hire additional employees at both our Sartell and Minneapolis locations.”

Rob continued: “Ryan and I are very excited with our new partnership. Strategically, it makes sense to combine forces with a strong force in Eastern markets. We are planning to stay on board in the same roles we have now.”

The full text of the press release follows:  Continue reading

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