18 September 2014

Mobile marketing automation firm Swrve raises $10M

Mobile marketing automation startup Swrve has raised $10 million to fuel its sales, marketing, and engineering expansion.

The second round of funding is one of the first tasks accomplished by Christopher Dean, who became chief executive of San Francisco-based Swrve three months ago. Swrve combines elements of an ad network, analytics solution, user engagement engine, and user acquisition tool.

Swrve has made itself useful to both gamemakers and mobile-app companies. It has broadened its customer base to more than 100 firms, Dean said in an interview with GamesBeat. It now has more than 500 million unique device identities, and it processes more than 3 billion events every day. Some customers include Activision, Warner Brothers, Beamly, Electronic Arts, and Tagged.

Those companies use Swrve to find out data about their best users, what their preferences are, and how to get them engaged with a game. It offers multivariate testing of options, a dashboard for easier analysis, and an ability to personalize the user’s experience with an app in real-time.

Acero Capital led the round. All existing investors, including Atlantic Bridge and Intel Capital, participated in the round. Acero general partner Rami Elkhatib has joined Swrve’s board.

Dean is a former Urban Airship and Skype executive. He said Swrve’s customer base has grown more than 300 percent in the past year, and its nongame app customers have grown 10 times. To deal with that growth, Dean said the company will add another 25 employees this year. A year ago, Swrve had 30 employees.

“As our conventional understanding of ‘e-commerce’ becomes increasingly obsolete and more and more consumers conduct business via mobile devices, it is platforms like Swrve that will control and grow the consumer relationship,” said Dean. “Our vision is to orchestrate the messages and content around data and increase the retention of users to make them lifelong customers. We are moving to nontechnical customers in a wide variety of markets, and this capital will enable us to reach them quickly and efficiently.”

“After a deep dive in the mobile marketing automation space, we found that Swrve is in a league of its own,” said Elkhatib in a statement. “Its mobile-first platform provides a complete vision for personalizing and optimizing every step between consumers and the brands they love. And more than 100 brands have signed on in the last 18 months. With this kind of momentum, I’m looking forward to working with Christopher and the Swrve team to build a global leader in the fast growing $15 billion mobile marketing automation market.”

Robert Rose, an analyst for Digital Clarity Group, said mobile-app marketing automation is getting more and more competitive.

“Every mobile-app company will need to quickly evolve this skill to help them get ahead, retain users, and separate themselves from the 1.2 million apps currently in the market,” Rose said.

Swrve has raised $22 million to date. The backers in previous rounds included Intel Capital, SV Angel, the founders of Mochi Media (Jameson Hsu and Bob Ippolito), as well as two co-founders of Playfish, Sami Lababidi and Shukri Shammas. Other investors included the AIB Seed Capital Fund Limited Partnership, the Bank of Ireland Start-up Accelerator Fund, the AIB Seed Capital Fund, Enterprise Ireland, and other angel investors.

Reynolds and Steven Collins founded the company in 2010. It has a headquarters in San Francisco and offices in Dublin, Ireland. Altogether, it has 50 employees.