Flurry: Mobile Analytics & the App Economy
Doug: Three reasons: the market, Flurry's leadership position in that market, and their executive team.
Clearly, there is a tremendous market potential here. The use of mobile applications has exploded in the past year. Apple's App Store alone has seen more than three billion downloads — and the market is just getting started. There is an obvious need for a service that can help developers understand how their applications are being used and, by leveraging that powerful data, effectively monetize their applications.
Flurry is far and away the dominant analytics player in the market, with software on more than 45 million mobile devices. They are integrated into 10,000+ applications and have established strategic relationships with comScore, AT&T and T-Mobile.
All this has been possible because of the diverse skills and passionate execution of the team at Flurry.
Q: What is the current state of the mobile market?
Doug: In 2010, I'd say we're in "Mobile 1.0" — we're really at the early stages of true mobile computing. The key ingredients for the market have only recently come together: penetration of 3G networks and an iconic new device — the iPhone — that have spurred rapid adoption by users and further innovation in the space.
The introduction of the iPhone a couple years back was the equivalent of the Netscape Web browser emerging in the mid-1990s. But the mobile market is growing even faster. Smartphones are on track to outsell PC's in just a couple of years.
Q: How is InterWest approaching venture capital investing in the mobile market?
Doug: InterWest has invested across the entire spectrum of mobile startups from infrastructure providers to application developers. On the infrastructure side, Venturi Wireless is helping to increase wireless network performance, Quantance enables longer battery life for mobile devices and Pelican Imaging is seeking to improve mobile devices themselves, with superior, lower-cost cameras and video cameras.
On the application side, Epocrates has become the leading mobile application provider for physicians, monetizing both through subscriptions and highly targeted messages from pharmaceutical advertisers to the physicians.
Q: What about your investing background make you and Flurry a good match?
Doug: For the past few years, I've spent much of my time investing in the areas of digital media, online advertising and marketing innovation. Some of the companies I've worked with that are relevant to Flurry include Marketo (marketing automation), INVIDI Technologies (addressable television advertising) and Brand.net (online advertising for Brand advertisers).
That said, there is one portfolio company in particular, Tapjoy, which may have the most in common with Flurry. Both Tapjoy and Flurry are trying to answer a similar question: How do you monetize a wildly popular new computing environment? For Tapjoy, that environment is social media. For Flurry, of course, it's smartphone apps.