Palo Alto-based Branch Metrics, one of the many companies focused on developing better mobile deep linking technology - that is, links that point users to specific pages within mobile applications themselves - is announcing today the close of its $15 million Series A round of funding, led by existing investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and TriplePoint Capital President Ben Narasin, who invested personally. Also participating in the round were Pejman Mar Ventures, Zach Coelius, Cowboy Ventures, and the firm TriplePoint Capital. We understand that the additional funding values the company at $75 million, post-money. To date, Branch Metrics has raised $17.75 million, including its seed round which just closed this past fall. The company wasn't out seeking new investment, but rather had investors coming to it instead, following its rapid growth. In September 2014, the company had signed up some 30 app developers who were using its deep links with their own applications, and had another 30 in the works. Today, Branch Metrics says it added just that many new customers in the past week alone, and now has close to 500 apps live on its service, with a few hundred more in progress. These developers, which include names like iHeartRadio, Instacart, Coffee Meets Bagel, HotelTonight and more, have created over 20 million links to pages inside their apps, and the company expects that number to grow to more than 100 million over the next few months. What makes the product compelling is how its deep link technology works. There are a number of other companies developing similar tools for linking to pages inside apps, including URX, Deeplink.me, Quixey, Tapstream, Appsfire and more. But Branch Metrics' links can deliver users to a specific page in the app after a new user installs the app for the first time. Many other solutions, on the other hand, only work when a user already has the app installed on their mobile device, and only points the user to a download from the app store when they don't. And when that newly downloaded app is opened, it simply displays the app's main page, as the context is lost. Branch's links are different, and carry the user through the deep-linked content after the install. The shortened links can also be fully tracked, allowing customers to measure clicks, installs and other down funnel actions. Explains co-founder Alex Austin, Branch Metrics' customers are drawn to the service because its links can help them track their organic growth. The app publishers were never before able to track and measure things like their referral programs, their invite link clicks or sharing features, for example. Focusing on user acquisition and growth is Branch Metrics' main focus, he notes, not getting users to re-engage with apps they already have installed. "We've popularized deep linking by making it relevant for growth," Austin adds. This is an area where there's a huge pain point in the mobile app industry, as the number of new app releases every month shows no sign of slowing. There were 40,000 new apps submitted to the app store last month, for example, and the top stores today have over a million apps each. Branch Metrics will use its funding to improve its current product, including its online analytics dashboard which offers insights to app makers as to which channels to focus on, how to improve app features and more. "We're effectively trying to productize the growth hacker," says Austin. "We want to replace that role in the company with our dashboard." Today, Branch Metrics' deep linking technology is being provided free to its customers, as the company believes the only way to make it the standard in the industry is to make it something of an open community tool. Its business model, instead, includes a long-term vision for helping its customers get their apps discovered through some sort of consumer-facing service. Austin declines to offer more details on this, only saying that this service, which is still a couple of years out, will "take the world through the same evolution that they saw in the 90's with web content." Branch Metrics, today a team of 13 full time, plans to grow to 45 or 50 by year-end.
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