Mobile Intelligence Startup Quettra Comes Out Of Stealth, Raises $2.9M Seed Round

Quettra, a mobile advertising startup founded by the former head of search and discovery for Google’s Play Store Ankit Jain, today announced that it has raised a $2.9 million seed round.

Investors include CrunchFund (which was founded by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington), Data Collective, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Miramar Digital Ventures and SV Angel, as well as angel investors Amitt Mahajan, Anthony Ha (the director at Google, not our writer), Anna Patterson, Carol Sands, Greg Badros and others. In addition, China’s Sungy Mobile Limited (the company behind the GO Launcher and Locker Android apps) joined as a strategic investor.


The Quettra team.

Sadly, Quettra isn’t quite ready to talk about the details of its product yet. As Jain told me, however, the idea for the service was born out of what he learned about the mobile ecosystem during his time at Google. “Seeing apps grow was exciting,” he told me. “But it showed me a set of problems that are fundamental to the way the mobile ecosystem works.” Specifically, he argues that only Google, Apple and Facebook really understand their users in a mobile-first way. The rest of the ecosystem does not. By moving to mobile, online advertisers have lost their understanding of the user.

On the web, he said, advertisers have now had more than fifteen years to innovate on top of the web platform. On mobile, however, users only spend ten to twenty percent of their time in a browser, where they can be tracked through cookies. The rest of the time, they spend in apps and there, it’s hard to understand a user holistically, especially across different apps.

“Mobile everything is changing so fast, and Quettra has some great technology to help developers understand the rapid evolution happening there, and a fantastic team so they’re sure to be lighting the way for others,” said Quettra angel investor Greg Badros in in a statement today.

Understanding mobile users is what Quettra’s first product is going to tackle, it seems, but Jain wasn’t ready to talk about how exactly the company plans to do this just yet. What he did say, however, was that he believes this is just the first step for his company. To fix mobile advertising — and that’s really what Quettra is trying to do — you have to first understand more about the user.

“Publishers don’t want to show as many ads as they do, but the click-through rate is low, they have no choice,” Jain told me. If ad networks understood their mobile users better, publishers could show fewer ads and still get the same or higher payouts.

That’s the first problem the company is tackling now. After that, you have to find the right ad for the user and then present that ad in a format that makes sense in this context.

The company currently has six full-time engineers on staff and they all have a deep background in mobile. Jain tells me he started working on this project a few months ago and the company is now ready for some early tests.