Mobile marketing tech startup Tenjin has raised $2.5 million from China’s NetEase Capital.
The San Francisco company combines analytics, attribution, and ad network data aggregation into a single dashboard for its customers, which include mobile app and game makers. It takes feeds from different providers and pulls them all together in order to simplify mobile marketing, said Christopher Farm, cofounder and CEO at Tenjin.
“We are building standardized marketing infrastructure for app developers and marketers so they can understand the return on investment (ROI) for each of the campaigns they run for user acquisition,” Farm said.
The company is fighting “SDK fatigue,” a problem that bedevils programmers at mobile game companies, as they are required to integrate an average of 17.5 different SDKs into a single app. Tenjin tries to combine mobile marketing features that are normally handled by separate companies, such as Localytics, AppsFlyer, and Singular.
Farm and his cofounder, Amir Manji, previously worked together at Tapjoy. At that company and others, they came to see that there wasn’t an easy way to figure out the ROI for campaigns. If app makers know how much revenue a user generates in a lifetime (lifetime value), then they know how much they can spend acquiring that user.
“The way people handle this is multiple different solutions, like an attribution partner (Tune, Kochava, Adjust, or AppsFlyer), an analytics partner (Mixpanel or Amplitude), and will manually aggregate spend data from networks they buy from (Tapjoy or Facebook),” Farm said.
They get all this data from these reports and generate an Excel spreadsheet. From that, they can see the math. We built a solution at the intersection of all of these things and help them understand the marketing ROI better. It’s a very logical thing to have, but it’s surprising that nothing exists to tie it all together in one solution. We tie it all together from the partners, or we do it ourselves. You can get it all in one place.
Larger companies have the internal business intelligence infrastructure to handle this type of work, but smaller companies typically don’t. Tenjin gives its customers direct and configurable access to the data infrastructure, powering their dashboard as if it were their own. This allows developers to become more sophisticated, as their user acquisition efforts can scale without their needing to build anything.
“We are trying to build this infrastructure for everybody, so they can get the same level of granularity, the same level of detail that the larger incumbents have,” Farm said. “We partner with both the third-party companies as well as the ad networks.”
Tune is a rival, and it says it already has a suite that serves as a one-stop shop, with features such as attribution, deeplinking, in-app analytics, app store analytics, and mobile web analytics.
The funding comes from NetEase Capital, the venture arm of Chinese game publisher NetEase, as well as from angel investors Herman Yang and Waikit Lau. Previous funding came from Y Combinator, Lightbank, and angel investors Eric Wu and David King.
The company was founded in August, 2015. It went through the Y Combinator incubator in 2014, and its customers include Yelp, Natural Motion, Playdots, N3twork, and KLab.
“Tenjin is solving a very common and frustrating problem that plagues app marketers of every size: getting access to the data they need in order to run smarter, more effective campaigns,” said Yang, a startup advisor and early employee at Admob (acquired by Google), in a statement. “Large app developers have been building internal warehouses for a long time, but Tenjin will level the playing field for those developers who don’t have marketing infrastructure yet.”
The company has processed over $100 million in ad spend and nearly $25 million in ad revenue in less than a year. It currently processes over 300 million events each month. Tenjin is integrated with more than 70 advertising and media partners, with more being added every week. The company currently has seven employees and is in the process of hiring more.