Yozio Raises $7M Series A To Help Apps Gain Users Through Organic Channels

Yozio, which helps developers acquire more mobile users without spending tons of money on app-install ads, will expand its growth platform after landing a $7 million Series A. The round was led by Foundation Capital, with participation from firms including Illuminate Ventures, Webb Investment Network, and AME Cloud Ventures.

This brings Yozio’s total raised so far to $8.6 million. In addition to product development, the Oakland-based company plans to hire more people for its engineering, sales, marketing, and business development teams. Ashu Garg, general partner at Foundation Capital, will join Yozio’s board.

The company also launched Yozio Deep Link Drill Down, a new feature on its analytics dashboard that gives companies information about in-app conversion rates through deep linking.

App-install ads (like Facebook’s Suggested Apps) are a key source of revenue for Facebook, Google, and Twitter, but they are expensive. Yozio helps developers take advantage of free growth channels, like SMS, email, and social media shares, by giving them insight into what campaigns result in conversions. The startup claims that its growth platform, which is used by Pinterest, Etsy, and Airbnb to acquire more mobile app users, has produced more than 75 million mobile app installs.

Before launching Yozio, founder and chief executive Lei Sun was a growth engineer at Yahoo Frontpage and Netflix. Cookies and hyperlinks make analyzing and improving user acquisition on the web relatively straightforward. It’s more challenging for mobile developers to get users through organic channels, however, since traditional web marketing tools don’t give them enough information about what convinces people to download and use an app.

“With the advent of siloed mobile apps, growth managers had a new challenge: links no longer carried data so running growth experiments was impossible,” Sun said in an email. “They could no longer see which channels, campaigns, and triggers produced the highest quality app users.”

In particular, mobile fragmentation is a major challenge and Yozio focuses on letting app developers target growth and see analytics for different combinations of operating systems, app stores, and mobile browsers. Sun says mobile deep linking is the future for companies that want to acquire more mobile users. For one thing, deep linking reduces the number of steps users need to take in order to not only download an app, but also find the content they want.

“Consider this: Alice is in the Zappos app and shares a link to a pair of shoes she likes with her friend Mary via SMS, but Mary doesn’t have the Zappos app. So she goes to the App Store and installs the Zappos app in order to view Alice’s shoes. But upon opening it, she doesn’t see Alice’s shoes. Instead, she sees the generic Zappos home screen and is forced to find Alice’s shoes on her own,” said Sun.

“By deep linking, Alice’s unique link would take Mary to the Zappos app and, after installation, bring her directly to Alice’s shoes.”

Yozio claims that its tools helped Airbnb increase organic Android downloads by 300 percent in one month; Pinterest boost iPhone more than double app download rates; and Washio increase their referral campaign install rate to 25 percent from less than one percent.

The company competes for developer attention with tech titans Google, Facebook, and Apple. Sun says Yozio’s advantage is streamlining analytics and solving the fragmentation created by different platforms. Google, for example, only offers attribution and deep linking for apps installed through Google Play and Chrome, which means developers don’t get the same insight for downloads through other Android stores, web browsers, or Twitter and Facebook’s mobile apps.

“The innovation by Google and Facebook is mostly focused on driving advertising revenue, so organic growth takes a backseat,” he added. “Yozio solves both the fragmentation issues created by platform competition and helps companies to grow without expensive advertising.”