At some point all the apps on your phone will be linked to one another, which will mean greater opportunity for customer acquisition and engagement over time. At least, that’s the idea behind Button, a startup that wants to help developers make more money from their apps by creating deeper connections between them. To do that, the company has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Redpoint Ventures.
Button believes that by understanding a user’s intent it can offer more meaningful interactions between a whole bunch of different commerce-based apps. One example co-founder and CEO Michael Jaconi likes to use is that, if Button knows you’ve booked a restaurant reservation on Resy, it can notify you when it’s time to leave and offer to book you an Uber to help you get there.
To enable that type of interaction, however, Button needs to provide a connection between those apps. That’s what it hopes to do with its DeepLink Commerce Platform, which is already being used by some clients like Uber to facilitate partnerships with other app makers.
Last year, Uber announced it was opening up its API to let third-party partners connect with it. By providing an easy way to enable deep linking between apps, Button thinks it can open up new revenue opportunities for app makers.
“The borders between apps are being broken down, but the system is broken today,” Button co-founder and CEO Michael Jaconi told me by phone.
What’s more important than just providing a connection between apps is understanding when it makes sense to push consumers from one app to another. That’s where intent comes in, and how Button thinks it can smartly engage with customers when it knows there’s a high probability that they will need one service or another.
By acting as middleman, Button hopes to increase sales for direct commerce apps, while boosting monetization for those that send customers their way. In the Uber-Resy example above, Button would receive a small cut after a customer booked a car, and some of that revenue would be passed on to Resy for making the referral.
In other words, rather than monetize through mobile install ads that get a customer to download an app once, Button thinks it can drive continued engagement with apps that consumers were already using. It’s a big idea, and one Button thinks it has the team to execute on.
Button was founded by a bunch of guys who have experience in the mobile and payments space. That includes former Rakuten executive officer Jaconi, former Google Wallet and BrainTree/Venmo exec Mike Dudas, former Venmo mobile head Chris Maddern, ex-Rocket Internet exec and Lazada GM Tanner Hackett, and former AKQA engineer Siddhartha Dabral, as well as their finance guy Stephen Milbank.
It currently has 10 employees working on the problem, but to continue hiring Button has raised $12 million in funding led by Redpoint. Other participating investors include Greycroft, DCM, and VaynerRSE, as well as Slow Ventures and NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern. Along with the funding, Redpoint’s Chris Moore will be joining the company’s board.