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Startups on Mediabrands' Radar

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Interpublic Group's Mediabrands today unveiled its latest approach to identify and possibly invest in emerging media startups that could be used to market clients' products.

The vehicle for doing so is a unit called called Velociter -- essentially a new iteration of its Greenhaus initiative that was launched in 2009 -- that will be run by Tim Hanlon, who joined the company a few months back.

Hanlon, who reports to Matt Freeman, CEO of Mediabrands Ventures, will seek to identify "game-changing" startups in the emerging media space and help to advance their efforts with the resources available at Mediabrands, the company said.

Other shops have launched similar efforts. Omnicom's OMD just unveiled vc@OMD, while Hanlon started a ventures unit with a similar mission for Publicis Groupe's Denuo (and subsequently folded into VivaKi) several years ago. Agencies including Engauge and Media Kitchen, among others, also make concerted efforts to identify new media startups with breakthrough marketing applications.

"I am continually amazed at the still-wide gulf of understanding between enterprising technology visionaries and classically trained marketers as they both -- often independently -- attempt to solve today's most intractable marketing challenges," said Hanlon, whose title is CEO and managing director at Velociter.