Twice 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.
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.