OneSignal raises $7M for its free push notification tools

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Push notifications are one of the main ways we connect with our apps —  but according to OneSignal CEO George Deglin, most of the tools for managing those notifications are too expensive without offering the features that developers need.

Deglin’s company started out as a Y Combinator-backed mobile developer called Hiptic Games. It was as a game developer that he said he first became frustrated with existing push notification tools — so Hiptic built its own system, which eventually became the company’s main focus.

OneSignal is announcing today that it has raised $7 million in Series A.

The company also says it’s become “the most widely used push notification delivery platform on the internet today,” pointing to data from BuiltWith and AppFigures Explorer to show that its technology is used by more websites and apps than more established, better-funded competitors.

One of the reasons for OneSignal’s popularity is that it comes at the right price — it’s free for customers if they’re willing to share their interest and transaction data with large brands and advertisers, who can then use that data for better targeting. From a privacy perspective, Deglin said it’s similar to sharing user data with an ad network.

The “vast majority” of the more than 220,000 developers who use OneSignal are on the free version, Deglin added. He also argued that focusing on the free tier forced OneSignal to make the product easy to integrate and use: “The platform is open to so many people that we can’t count on having the resources to educate them on how to use every piece of the product.”

On the product side, OneSignal allows developers to run automated campaigns to re-engage users, with features like message localization, personalization and scheduling. Next up, Deglin said he wants to add support for other messaging channels — in fact, OneSignal has already integrated with Alexa notifications.

The new funding was led by SignalFire, with the firm’s co-founder and managing partner Ilya Kirnos joining OneSignal’s board of directors.

“We started SignalFire to find companies like OneSignal that have huge traction and passionate customers,” Kirnos said in the announcement. “As soon as we discovered OneSignal, we knew we had to invest — they have the team, vision, and traction that few companies their size ever do.”

OneSignal has now raised a total of $9.5 million. Other investors include Rakuten Ventures, Safegraph CEO Auren Hoffman, Factual CEO Gil Elbaz and Drawbridge CTO Devin Guan.

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