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250 companies with $25 billion in investment and 55,000 employees are helping mobile developers and publishers build the right apps with the right engagement and the right monetization to win in mobile.

And, as we know in 2015, to win in mobile is to win, period.

That’s why we’ve produced the Mobile Success Landscape. It’s just the first step in collecting and categorizing the companies that are helping mobile developers and publishers to maximize their app’s success. Frankly, it’s still very new and incomplete, and there’s a lot we need to add to it (you can help — add companies here). And, owe a debt of gratitude to Emergence Capital‘s mobile enabler’s landscape, which inspired this:


Above: Mobile Success Landscape (click for full version)

What we’re seeing already, however, is an emerging picture of hundreds of companies in six categories — analytics, mobile marketing automation, monetization, user acquisition, APIs, and development — that is allowing us to surface some interesting insights about where the lion’s share of investment dollars are going. Where the hottest startups are.


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And … how the pick sellers in this most recent gold rush are growing fast.

For instance, we can already tell, thanks to VB Profiles, that analytics was the hottest investment space in 2014-2015, with a total investment by venture capitalists of almost $600 million. And that engagement, or mobile marketing automation, was second at $340 million, narrowly trailed by API-level tool companies.

If fact, you can track the companies yourself, or get the free e-book with all the details.

mobile investment heatwave

The number of companies in the Mobile Success Landscape has doubled in just the last few years as mobile has gone from nice-to-have to must-have to won’t-survive-without-it … not just for startups, but for established brands and enterprises.

Some of them are massive. Facebook, for instance, is the single most important company in the mobile user acquisition space. Twitter is working hard to replicate that very lucrative success. And some are tiny: mobile app analytics or mobile marketing automation companies that were born just a few years ago and are still very much in startup mode.

And most of them — almost eight out ten — are based right here in the U.S.:

mobile success landscape - where companies are

At VB research, we see three distinct waves of success in mobile. It’s an over-simplification, but it’s a useful one.

Wave one started with app success … for example, the company that really is a product or a series of products on mobile with a few big hits. Look at any of the app store leaderboards and you’ll still find these. They can be amazingly successful and they can be worth billions of dollars, but ultimately they’re not much more than the app.

Wave two is the development of the mobile-first enterprise. Think entire ecosystems of value built entirely on mobile. Uber is the prototypical example, where an entire iceberg of enterprise infrastructure made of product and fulfilment and marketing and algorithms lives behind an incredibly simple and small app: the tip of ice poking out of the water.

three waves of success in mobile

Facebook has morphed into this; Google is still in that process.

Wave three is traditional enterprise adding mobile, and maybe even reinventing itself around mobile. The idea is that a B2B2C brand, maybe in fashion, maybe in any other area, can have an actual personal relationship with end customers, even in situations where it was previously mediated by other parties.

Each of them have different challenges, but each has to answer that question: How to win?

To answer questions like that, we’re tracking mobile user acquisition, mobile monetization, mobile app analytics, mobile marketing automation, and much, much more.

Now we’ll be approaching it through the lens of the Mobile Success Landscape.

Note: if we’ve missed your company, or one you know of: please add it here.

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