M-Commerce Startup Branding Brand Goes From Bootstrapped To $7.5M Series A, Brings In Former GNC, Dick’s Sporting Goods Head As President

Branding Brand, a startup powering the mobile commerce for sites and mobile apps from – you guessed it – big-name brands, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding and has now brought in Jeffrey R. Hennion as President. Hennion is the former head of e-commerce at GNC and Dick’s Sporting Goods, and will be helping Branding Brand manage its global marketing and e-commerce functions.

The Series A round, announced last week, was led by Insight Venture Partners, and saw participation from CrunchFund and Eastern Advisors. It’s the first outside investment for the company, which had been completely bootstrapped until now. The additional capital will be used to fund customer acquisition, technology development, and operations, the company reports.

The Pittsburgh-based company was founded in 2008 by three friends from Carnegie Mellon University, Joey Rahimi, Christopher Mason, and Christina Koshzow. The team launched its mobile platform at the end of 2009, which focuses on allowing brands to extend their presence to smartphones, tablets and in-store. Today, it’s grown to become the largest m-commerce provider to the Internet Retailer Top 500 and now has over 100 employees, up from 10 just two years ago.

Consumers may not know of Branding Brand by name, but they’ve surely interacted with some of its products. Branding Brand powers the sites and apps for American Eagle Outfitters, Anthropologie, The Children’s Place, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Drugstore.com, Eastern Mountain Sports, GNC, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, Steve Madden, Timberland, Tumi, and West Marine. Because of its access to the m-commerce operations of these major companies, it has alos been able to provide us with high-level views of trends in the space. For example, in June, the company revealed data that showed that, despite an increase in social media-powered visits to brand’s mobile websites, conversions were actually coming down – and in particular Pinterest conversions were very weak.

Hennion is joining the company during a rapid growth period. “It is a unique time given the pace of innovation in mobile commerce and cross-channel integration,” he said, “and Branding Brand has rapidly emerged as the clear platform leader in this space.”