Mobile Marketing Automation Startup Snags $11.6 Million In Series B

LeanplumfundingMobile-first doesn’t mean mobile-only. That’s the thinking at mobile marketing automation company Leanplum.

“You want to design a journey for customers that they find useful,” said Momchil Kyurkchiev, CEO and co-founder of Leanplum. The company announced $11.6 million in Series B on Wednesday, led by Kleiner Perkins and with participation from Shasta Ventures, bringing the company’s total funding to $17.2 million.

According to Kyurkchiev, an ex-Google senior software engineer who spent roughly five years focused on YouTube ad monetization, Leanplum is planning to use some of the money to double its current headcount of 33 before the end of the year.

A portion of the cash will go toward marketing and sales hires as well as bringing on more engineering and product talent.

Speaking of product, Leanplum, whose clients include StumbleUpon and Tesco, also added to its suite on Wednesday a visual campaign planning tool called Lifecycle Engine.

Mobile app campaigns comprise dozens of contextual messages, from onboarding and engagement to conversion and reengagement.

Leanplum proposes to help advertisers create and test timelines designed to reach people at the optimal moment and through the optimal channel, similar to Google’s recent micro-moments concepts.

Say a user has opted out of receiving push notifications – which is entirely possible, considering research from Localytics, which found that more than half of users disable push on iOS – and prefers to be messaged via email instead. Leanplum is hooked into several third-party email service providers, including Marketo, to give the marketer that option.

Leanplum can also track to see whether a message was opened or not, which might have an impact on whether the advertiser wants to send another message or hold off.

Some apps, especially in the travel vertical – Leanplum counts Expedia and Ola Cabs, India’s answer to Uber, as clients – use the tool to develop a rule-based taxonomy centered on creating personalized messages related to time.

In the case of travel, all the advertiser needs to know is the traveler’s departure date in order to orchestrate and plot a lifecycle-based timeline.

If a user is planning to fly from New York to San Francisco, for example, it might make sense for a travel app to send a message with local weather conditions several days before the flight, with tips on what to pack. A message at SFO with info about ground transportation would make sense upon landing, as would a message with details on tourist attractions the day after that.

“All of those are different messages, but they’re also all part of the same campaign,” Kyurkchiev said.

In addition to a planned hiring spree, Leanplum, which is headquartered in San Francisco, has its eye on potential international expansion, as a good number of its clients are based in India, South America, the UK and several other European countries. Leanplum already maintains an engineering office in Bulgaria and a sales outpost in London.

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