Urban Airship Raises $25 Million As It Expands Beyond The Mobile Backend

Urban Airship, the Portland-based mobile backend-as-a-service provider which has in recent months been expanding its focus beyond the backend with tools that help developers build for Apple Passbook, has raised an additional $25 million in outside funding.

According to a report from AllThingsD, the round was led by August Capital, and included participation from existing investors Foundry Group, Intel Capital, True Ventures and Verizon.

The additional financing, which brings the company’s total raise to date to $46.6 million, comes at a time when the startup is considering out to reach a broader audience beyond just mobile developers. Per the AllThingsD report, the funding is earmarked more specifically to grow the marketing team, while allowing the company more time to talk with brand advertisers. Urban Airship will also use the additional funding to grow its core business of location push-messaging and for international expansion efforts.

You could already see hints of Urban Airship’s shifting focus beyond the mobile backend in December, when the company acquired Tello, a TechCrunch Disrupt 2010 startup that had most recently offered a visual pass builder for Apple Passbook called PassTools. By January, Urban Airship had launched the PassTools API, noting that Apple Passbook served as a new means for brands to participate on mobile. Not all brands require a full mobile application, CMO Brent Hieggelke told us previously, especially those working in specific verticals like Consumer Packaged Goods. You don’t need a “potato chip” app, he explained. But you do need to get consumers buying your chips.

What these brands – and many other brands – need is a way to connect with their customers, who increasingly spend their time on mobile devices. Apple Passbook is only one means of reaching those shoppers on mobile without building a native app. In-app advertising is another, but no word yet on whether UA wants to move into the ad vertical as well (although that would eventually make sense as its efforts with brands grow.)

Urban Airship CEO Scott Kventon says the company quadrupled its push volumes and revenue during 2012. It also doubled its staff, and is on track for profitability as of Q1 2014.