Branch Metrics raises $35M funding led by Founders Fund, looks to deepen its roots in India
Branch Metrics, the deep linking solution for app developers and marketers today announced that it has raised $35 million in Series B funding. This round was led by Founders Fund with participation from all existing investors, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Pejman Mar Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Zach Coelius, and Ben Narasin, and new investor Madrona Venture Group. This round takes the total venture funding amount for Branch to $53 million.
Story so far
Branch Metrics was founded by Alex Austin, Mada Seghete, Mike Molinet and Dmitri Gaskin. In early 2014, they were working together on Kindred Prints, a photobook printing app and were frustrated by the limitations imposed by app stores on user acquisition.
Looking for a workaround, they developed an in-house solution that could help them in user acquisition through links that passed data through installs to help grow the Kindred user base. They saw a big opportunity here as almost all developers were also trying to accelerate their growth. So, they sold Kindred and started Branch to work on it(user acquisition solution) full time.
The product got a good number of early users and they managed to raise $18 million in multiple rounds from New Enterprise Associates, Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, TriplePoint Capital and others.
During the last year, Branch has built deep linking technology that major companies and mobile app developers including Pinterest, Redfin, HotelTonight, Buzzfeed, and Jet use to make app content more easily shared and discovered. Branch claims that they are now used in over 5,000 apps and in-effect improving the user experience for over one billion users. When clicked, deep links take consumers directly to the correct content for an installed app, and, if the app is not installed, it takes them to the right place even after a detour through an app store.
Without deep linking, consumers experience a start and stop experience that discourages downloads and creates barriers that reduce engagement and user retention. Branch claims that they have been able to help app developers double user engagement, reduce acquisition costs by 30 percent, and obtain nearly double the retention rate. Alex, CEO and co-founder of Branch said
There is a good reason why people spend 85 percent of their time on mobile in apps — they offer superior user experiences and unique content, however, the process of finding these apps in overcrowded app stores and generic install ads is painful for both consumers and app developers.
Since setting up an Indian office in October 2015, Branch has been able to integrate themselves in about 1000 apps, such as Snapdeal, Goibibo, Cleartrip and Dailyhunt.
Globally the company claims to be handling more than 25 billion API calls per month, up from 780 million last January, with 1.6 billion deep links created by partners(up from 20 million last February). Branch credits some of their success to their 10,000-person mobile growth community brought together by meetups, lunch and learns, hackathons, and workshops that they have held in 50 cities around the world
How does it work?
Branch enables app developers and marketers to move away from paid install campaigns to new, lower cost marketing channels for mobile apps such as email, SMS, and social marketing campaigns. With their solution, marketers can create content campaigns that span across all their channels and link directly to app content, allowing more effective campaigns and lower customer acquisition costs.
Branch makes discovering apps and app content easier through its free deep linking, attribution, and analytics SDK and API. They also make app content searchable, shareable, and easier to integrate into marketing channels like email, SMS, and advertising. Branch supports all existing deep linking and mobile search technologies like Facebook App Links, Twitter App Cards, Google App Indexing, Apple Universal Links, and Spotlight Search.
Branch will use this funding to further accelerate the adoption of its deep linking technology and to create the next generation of app and app content discovery products unlocked by deep linking.
As part of Branch’s fundraising, Scott Nolan, partner at Founders Fund, will join the board of directors. Scott said,
Branch has become the standard for linking in the mobile ecosystem. For a company that is just over a year old, that is an incredible achievement made possible by superior technology and relentless execution.
In the coming months, Branch is also looking to increase their team size in India to support more Indian apps. A spokesperson for the company told YourStory that though Branch currently doesn't have a revenue model in place they plan to launch a 'discoverability product' in the future to focus on revenue. But added that their current services will continue to be free for their users.
Branch currently aims to solve the app discoverability issues that both startups and enterprises face while trying to stand out from the other competing apps on the different App stores. Globally, there are other players like Deeplink.me, Quixey and Appsfire who are also working on deep linking technology.
Related read: Things you need to know about mobile app deep linking
India is estimated to reach 314 million mobile internet users by 2017, according to a recent report by IAMAI and KPMG. 94 per cent of users access the internet through their mobile phones in urban India and 90 per cent of those who use mobiles to access the internet, consider it their primary device for browsing, states another report.
So going forward as more of India's population comes online, it will be one of the biggest markets for Branch Metrics to tap into. With India (and global)team and backing from marquee investors like Founders Fund, Branch Metrics has the opportunity and the necessary firepower to plant its roots firmly in the markets which they believe have the highest potential for growth.