New York Times: Mr. Coffee


How one San Francisco man turned his jones for java into a booming business.

Ten years ago, James Freeman was roasting his own coffee beans on a baking pan in his Oakland, Calif., kitchen. Today the former clarinet player and owner of Blue Bottle outposts in the Bay Area and Brooklyn (Williamsburg, naturally) is the leader of the artisanal Japanese-style, slow-drip brewing movement. Using organic, shade-grown beans that are sold within 48 hours of roasting, Freeman and his wife, Caitlin, a pastry chef, are converting customers one perfectly brewed cup of joe at a time. About his cult status among the caffeinated, he maintains an aw-shucks attitude. ‘‘I got burned out on the music playing,’’ he said. ‘‘This was my wacky Plan B.’

’Read More: Edible Selby: Blue Bottle

Halogen Media Group Merges with YouCast

Deal helps brands and agencies reach influencers with paid and earned media at scale

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF—APRIL 27, 2011—Halogen Media Group today announced that it has merged with New York-based YouCast, a social advertising and technology firm. YouCast will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halogen. Co-founders John Eaton and Jonathan Cohen will remain in their current roles as President and chairman/chief development officer, respectively. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Marketers and agencies are increasingly looking for solutions that reach influencers, integrate paid and earned media, and do it all at scale,” said Halogen CEO Greg Shove. “We’ve excelled at reaching influencers with premium paid media at Halogen, but the earned media component needed strengthening. YouCast’s track record, technology, and team quickly emerged as the perfect fit.”

Managing and activating influencers on the authentic and social web is the next great marketing imperative for brands, and it will be accomplished with a combination of technology, media solutions and strong analytics. Together, YouCast and Halogen will work to expand and refine influencer media offerings across paid and earned media channels to help brands succeed in today’s influence-driven marketplace.

Over the last three years, YouCast has implemented high-profile earned and social media initiatives for clients like PepsiCo, GE, Turner Entertainment and the NBA. “John and I have always been passionate about bringing the rigor of paid media analytics to the earned media channel; this merger amplifies our ability to realize this vision,” said Jonathan Cohen, chairman and chief development officer of YouCast. “We think one of the measures of success for a paid media campaign will be the volume of social currency created by that campaign. Our merger with YouCast enables Halogen to deliver social currency results from branded display campaigns,” said Greg Shove.  The deal presents significant opportunities for Fortune 500 brands in search of influencer marketing solutions at scale. The combined companies will also serve agencies seeking to partner with a media technology and services firm that offers authentic publisher reach and a tech platform that can quantify the value of their social activation spending.

About YouCast

YouCast is an influencer relationship management company that delivers brand-sponsored social activation at scale. The firm has a network of tens of thousands of influential web publishers and technology solutions that allow companies to efficiently manage influencer relations and build custom influencer networks at scale. The company’s platform allows it to cultivate brand ambassadors and reward them for their advocacy, thus driving reach and amplification even higher. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halogen Media Group and is based in New York City.

About Halogen Media Group

Halogen is a fast-growing media technology and services firm that operates at the nexus of the rapidly evolving advertising and media industries. Halogen curates highly engaged and influential online audiences, and facilitates the megaphone of social influence among these audiences with a compelling mix of paid and earned campaigns. The company has offices in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.

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Amy Janzen for Halogen

Akademos Names John Squires Chief Executive Officer; Kohlberg Ventures Completes Additional Financing

(Norwalk, CT) April 13, 2011 – Akademos today announced that John Squires has been named Chief Executive Officer and that Kohlberg Ventures has increased its stake in the company, bringing its total investment to $5M.

Squires joins the company during a period of explosive growth. In the past year, 44 new schools have selected Akademos as their full-service digital bookstore and marketplace. The company’s student enrollment base has grown by more than 140%.

“John is the perfect leader for Akademos at this time,” said founding CEO Brian Jacobs. “His extensive publishing management and technology experience, especially in the field of emerging digital platforms, will provide us the resources we need to continue to expand our premiere digital services platform for schools.” Jacobs will remain active in the company as president, continuing to work with schools and helping to realize the vision for the company.

“In speaking to Akademos customers, it is clear that Brian has built a fabulous company with superior technology and customer relationships,” said Squires. “I’m delighted to join Akademos to help Brian and his team serve more learning institutions with unique and cost-efficient learning tools that lower the cost of educational materials for both students and the schools that serve them.”

In addition to the selection of Squires as CEO, Kohlberg Ventures will provide additional investment financing to fuel growth. “We’ve continued our investment in Akademos because we believe in the extraordinary opportunity to serve schools with efficient and innovative digital learning solutions,” said Bill Youstra, Partner at Kohlberg Ventures. “We’re delighted by the company’s growth and the market’s response to Akademos’ services.”

Squires was previously the founder of Next Issue Media, the digital publishing consortium joined by Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc. Next Issue Media brought these companies together to develop publishing solutions for tablet reading devices. Prior to Next Issue Media, Squires served as executive vice president at Time Inc., where he was responsible for leading digital operations and overseeing Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Money and Golf magazines.

About Akademos

Akademos offers a turnkey virtual bookstore and marketplace for small and midsized schools. Its advanced technology, comprehensive supply-chain solution, and commitment to responsive personal service make it a leader in providing affordable course materials and digital learning tools for schools. Students can choose new, used, marketplace, rental, and eBooks while schools can reduce costs and enjoy greater operating efficiency. Akademos delivers the right course materials, at an affordable price, on time. Learn more at