There’s something to say about the pioneers in a certain field. It shows brilliance and courage among other things, but unfortunately someone comes along and improves on the first product leaving the pioneers in the dust. For CRM and mobile marketing this is not the case. Appboy, the early CRM company has continued to stay atop the competition for a top notch CRM platform. Big names such as Tinder, Urban Outfitters, and Domino’s are committed clients, which only furthers the case for Appboy’s greatness.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Mark Ghermezian and discussed where the mobile market is going as well as their newest round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Appboy raised a $20 million Series C financing round led by Battery Ventures. The round included participation from all of the company’s previous investors, including: IDG Ventures, InterWest Partners, Rally Ventures, Laurel Touby, and Michael Lazerow.
Tell us about your product or service.
Appboy is CRM and Mobile Marketing Automation technology. We’ve been providing these services since 2011, making us a true pioneer in the space. In that time, we have achieved tremendous scale as the mobile economy has continued to explode. Today, Appboy stores and maintains over 420 million active users across our global customer base, with over 100 billion real time events processed through our platform each month. That data is used to power billions of personalized messages each and every month across push, in-app, in-browser, email, wearables, and other emerging platforms.
Appboy currently works with many of the leading brands in mobile, including SoundCloud, Etermax, Dots, Wallapop, and more. We also work with many traditional marketers who are increasingly shifting their marketing investments towards mobile, including Domino’s, 1-800-Flowers, USA Today and more. Each of these brands leverages Appboy to empower their marketing team to create, automate, and optimize highly targeted and personalized lifecycle marketing campaigns and programs that drive real business results and ROI.
What inspired you to start the company?
From day one, Appboy was built as a mobile-first CRM and our vision remains the same today. It’s our DNA. Our goal is to empower brands to build better relationships with their customers through the technology and thought leadership we provide.
Appboy has been mobile from day one, while incumbent solutions were built on legacy email and web technologies, and treat mobile as a bolt on; as just another vehicle to message customers. 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.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting mobile-first marketers and global enterprise brands.
It’s no secret that there’s an explosion of mobile — people are spending 4.7 hours per day on their devices on average. With customers in control of the messages that brands send more than ever before, brands need a technology that helps them better understand their customers and their behaviors so they can engage effectively. A solution such as Appboy allows marketers to do that. The Global Marketing Automation Software market is forecasted to grow from $3.65 billion in 2014 to $5.5 billion in 2019, at a CAGR of 8.55%. And Technaviouis is projecting a CAGR of 9.29% over the same time frame, indicating an even larger market.
What’s your business model?
How does the strategic direction of the company change now given this funding?
The direction doesn’t change; it’s amplified. This funding will enable us to build on the momentum we have built since our Series B, and separate from the noise in the marketing technology sector. We plan to use the funds to fast track our growth worldwide, and further develop products that allow marketers to provide utility, value, and relevance with every customer interaction in our increasingly connected world.
What was the funding process like?
Battery Ventures is the number one SaaS investor, and we were humbled that after meeting with everyone in the space, they chose Appboy as the dominant market leader in mobile marketing engagement automation. Battery has a track record of of choosing market leaders like Marketo, Sprinklr, and Optimizely, as evidenced by their portfolio.
We were also fortunate enough to have all previous investors participating in this round. It’s a testament to our success, and speaks to how much they believe in Appboy, our product and our vision.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Appboy has been mobile and focused on CRM from day one. Incumbent solutions were built on legacy email and web technologies, and they treat mobile as a bolt on – just another vehicle to message customers.
Our goal is to empower brands to build better relationships with their customers through the technology and thought leadership we provide. That’s our vision, and where we think the signal vs. noise is for marketers in today’s market. This funding will help us continue to capture the lion’s share of the business in this space as we provide a solution that legacy players in the space simply do not have the ability to provide.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Appboy has made a number of rapid advancements recently, including securing new customers such as Domino’s, SoundCloud and Tinder across the globe; expanding its global footprint with a new UK office, EU data center and the addition of EMEA GM Daniel Head; adding key executives from Google, Salesforce, and Quartz (qz.com); and wrapping up its best quarter to date with five consecutive quarters of record bookings and 3X, year-over-year growth in revenue.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Keep your head down, focus on your team, your culture, and creating an amazing product.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re constantly looking at emerging technology to asses new trends that may gain traction. Our efforts in the coming months will continue to focus on the marketer. We are planning to launch new products across channels and platforms, as well as continue to focus on artificial intelligence, automation and ease of use. This empowers marketers to capture the “who, what, when, and where” aspects of lifecycle marketing, and helps brands connect with their customers wherever and whenever.