Unveiling Stealth Y Combinator Startup URX

URX1-1Twice a year Y Combinator shows off its most recent batch of startups at a packed-house demo day in Mountain View. The goal of these startups is to attract investor and press attention. Sometimes, though, a particular startup wants neither, and stays in stealth mode until some later date.

URX, from the last Y Combinator batch, is one of those companies. There has been no press about URX at all, until right now.

Note: CrunchFund has invested in URX, although for now the company isn’t disclosing any other information about money they’ve raised.

URX is a mobile advertising platform. But it’s not about pushing app installs (~$300 million/year just for Facebook, around $1.2 billion/year industry-wide). It’s about getting users who already have apps installed on their devices to actually use and make purchases in them via product advertisements in other apps and websites.


URX helps app developers showcase all of the products in their apps with targeted ads. The desktop equivalent of this is Google’s Product Listing Ads, which have greatly simplified ad management for e-commerce operators on the web. Deeplinks are particularly compelling for mobile commerce companies (Retail, Travel, Local, Food, Deals, etc.) that want to jump in and offer a product to one of their users in real-time.

Facebook JUST announced that they’ll be supporting ads that deeplink to other apps:

However, app discoverability is only one of the challenges of building a mobile app. Developers are also faced with the challenge of getting installed users to return and remain active within their apps. According to a study by Localytics, a Mobile Measurement Partner, 66% of app users only open apps between one and 10 times.

Facebook’s announcement is a extreme validation of this nascent market. We can expect Twitter, Google and other platforms to provide this type of mobile re-engagement ad unit as well. URX is in a good position to include this new inventory on their advertising platform.

Why is this so important? With these new ad formats, there’s no easy way for developers to manage 1,000’s of deeplink ads for their products today. URX indexes the knowledge graph of apps’ deep content, and uses machine learning to recommend relevant products to individual users.

The potential market size is tremendously large. Mobile is gobbling up an increasing percentage of total ecommerce retail sales. By 2017 eMarketer is guessing that 25% of U.S. retail ecommerce sales will occur on mobile devices, up from 15% today.

And yet…the mobile advertising market is still way behind where it should be given the tremendous growth in mobile transactions. Tens of billions of dollars behind. URX believes that product ads will raise the price floor of mobile ad inventory.

Mobile advertising is no longer just about installs and other crude first generation tools. URX is a company that is poised to introduce what’s next in mobile advertising.

URX was founded by John Milinovich, Andrew Look James Turner and Nathanael Smith. Watch the video below for more information.

15 thoughts on “Unveiling Stealth Y Combinator Startup URX

  1. Nikki Durkin says:

    Congrats! Excited to see where this goes 🙂

  2. caseyxpocketmath says:

    Excited to see them grow as well! Best of luck, John and team. 😀

  3. Looks exciting!
    Welcome back Michael, been missing your posts

  4. John Pratt says:

    It’s about time you see how difficult it is to do something of substance. Maybe now you’ll be able to differentiate between the copied and the copiers.

  5. buyer beware says:

    Do Google product ads work? What is Google Shopping? Do consumers use it?

  6. virginia says:

    Although for now the company isn’t disclosing any other information about money they’ve raised.

  7. iphonedomo says:

    Love this idea can’t wait to use

  8. iphonedomo says:

    Love the idea can’t wait to use the idea on instadate http://instadate.us

  9. harry says:

    Lets wait and watch to see how the ball rolls.

  10. harry and gary says:

    Lets wait and watch and see how the ball rolls.

  11. Michael says:

    Two questions: How does URX know that the app being deep-linked to is also installed on the phone? How does the ad get served in the app making the ad call – is it served through the typical ad server or does URX have their own network?

  12. iphone domo says:

    This is a really good idea it would be perfect along with app links for our dating app http://instadate.us

  13. iphone domo says:

    This is a great idea would be perfect with applinks on http://instadate.us

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: