We’re no strangers to mobile marketing automation (MMA) here at VentureBeat. It is the technology that Urban Outfitters uses to know that you bought a jacket and boots in-store yesterday, and how the publisher behind Subway Surfer finds ways to make you play a little bit longer.
When VB Insight surveyed 375 mobile developers with over 900 million monthly average users to find the best mobile marketing automation platforms, Appboy was shown to have one of the most feature-rich MMA solutions available.
And today, Appboy announced that it has raised $20 million in Series C financing, which the company says it will use to “further develop products that allow marketers to provide utility, value, and relevance with every customer interaction in our increasingly connected world.”
I asked Mark Ghermezian, CEO at Appboy, how — in addition to research and development — the new funds will be used.
“We’ll plan to use the funds to fast-track our growth worldwide,” Ghermezian said. “Appboy views the world differently. We believe that customer interactions will increasingly take place on mobile and other connected devices, and that brands who want to build meaningful relationships with their customers will be much better served investing in a mobile-first marketing automation and CRM technology platform that was built to harness that customer interaction data in real time, and make it actionable for the data-driven marketer.”
Ghermezian is bullish on Appboy’s prospects of success, too.
“We have the ingredients — market leadership, team, growth, and customers — to provide a full-stack CRM for marketers,” Ghermezian said. “We’ll use the funds to further develop products that allow mobile marketers to provide utility, value, and relevance with every customer interaction in our increasingly connected world.”
Appboy recently opened a UK office and EU data center, appointing Daniel Head as its EMEA GM, which Ghermezian says is a response to market forces.
“Our business has been thriving in EMEA for the past four years, and earlier this year we opened a new office in London to deepen our ability to provide localized service and support to customers,” Ghermezian said. “Some of our most strategic customers are based in EMEA, and with our recent expansion and new funding, we’re perfectly positioned to expand further into the region while supporting the continued success of our existing customers.”
Appboy bills itself as “the world’s most complete marketing automation solution for apps,” and — according to VB Insight’s research — that slogan has some basis in fact. In that case, what is there that Appboy could add to its MMA offering?
“Our goal is to scale with our clients, but also empower them with the solutions they need before they even know they need them,” Ghermezian said. “We’re constantly looking at emerging technology and new trends that may gain traction, and carefully assessing their market need. In the coming months, our efforts will continue to focus on the marketer.”
That means keeping pace with all the new marketing channels that are opening up as we head into a world that may see AI, chatbots, and wearable devices become mainstream.
“We’ll launch additional products across channels and platforms, as well as continued focus on AI, automation and ease of use to capture the ‘who, what, when, and where’ aspects of life cycle marketing to help brands connect with their customers — wherever, whenever,” Ghermezian said.
So what is the future for mobile app engagement in the world’s fastest-moving and most competitive marketplace? While stories of $100,000 in-app messages are inspiring, they aren’t the norm. According to Ghermezian, reaction times and multichannel communications are critical.
“It’s never been just about push notifications; it’s been about moving at the speed of mobile, digesting data and humanizing it for the marketers, building scale, and creating a product that fits the needs of the marketer in our ever-connected world,” Ghermezian said. “We started with mobile, and we’ve expanded to offer a robust multichannel offering across platforms.”
The round is led by Battery Ventures, with all previous investors participating, and brings Appboy’s total funding to just over $45 million.