Well, it’s been an interesting last few weeks for Urban Airship, the startup that aims to give developers a simple way to build in-app purchases and push notifications into their mobile apps.
A week ago, Urban Airship acquired Matt Galligan and Joe Stump’s SimpleGeo (the news was broken by TechCrunch Founder Mike Arrington), and today the startup has announced that it raised $15 million in series C financing from new strategic investors Verizon and Salesforce.com. Existing investors True Ventures and Foundry Group also participated in the cash round, bringing Urban Airship’s total funding to $26.1 million.
With the acquisition of SimpleGeo, Portland-based Urban Airship boosts its team to 51 and is now has a presence in the Bay Area. Not only that, but with SimpleGeo once being touted as the “Amazon Web Services” for location-based products, allowing developers to build location into their web and mobile apps and offering the infrastructure to back that up, Urban Airship can now round out its suite of offerings for mobile developers.
SimpleGeo’s assets will allow Urban airship to give its customers, which include ESPN, LivingSocial, and Gowalla the ability to more easily target their users with push notifications, as knowing where they are when they’re using their mobile apps is a huge piece to the puzzle.
Urban Airship is already facilitating over 1 billion notifications per month to users on 300 million devices, and the company has seen a huge boost thanks to the recent launch of Apple’s iOS 5, which has much-improved push notification functionality. With the launch of iOS 5, Urban Airship has seen calls to its API increase tenfold, according to CEO Scott Kveton. What’s more, the startup has seen its revenue increase 600 percent in 2011, as developers are building its tools and services into tens of thousands of mobile apps and using its back-end platform to power in-app communications with their customers.
According to Arrington, while the the $15.1 million series C round Urban Airship raised today was all in cash, the acquisition of SimpleGeo came in the form of stock, as a part of the larger round of financing. As SimpleGeo CEO Jay Adelson told Arrington (Adelson is now an advisor to Urban Airship), while his company considered both selling the company and raising a new round of company, a merger seemed the best way to go. Clearly, SimpleGeo’s investors, and those on the management team at SimpleGeo were excited by Urban Airship’s prospects going forward. And in this case, considering their strengths, this move seems to make a great deal of sense, strategically.