Careers at Branch
Branch Metrics’ mission is to help developers grow their business through deep linking and allow users to discover relevant content inside mobile apps.
Alex Austin was pursuing a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. While in his program he got invited to join a startup. He accepted and began working full-time while also attending school. He completed his degree two years later; unfortunately, the company ultimately failed, with John blaming certain leadership decisions. He decided he would launch a firm of his own.
Having learned to develop mobile software at the startup, he planned to make consumer apps the focus of his new venture. As a backup in case it failed, he also enrolled in business school at Stanford. While there he met fellow engineers Mike Molinet, Mada Seghete, and Dmitri Gaskin, who were also entrepreneurial. He convinced them to join him in building his product over the summer.
The group members spent the first year of school creating a photobook printing app, and officially launched it at the beginning of the second year. They soon realized that apps faced a problem with user acquisition – namely, unlike with websites, it was impossible to link to them for sharing purposes. They developed a linking tool to address this problem, and saw usage of the app explode.
The app ended up generating a $1 million in revenues. After graduating the team entered an incubator with it, and witnessed strong demand for its linking tool among the companies there. The group decided to sell the app and focus on the tool, forming a company to promote it called Branch Metrics in 2014. Developers now use it to link to everything in apps from articles to videos.
Benefits at Branch
Business model of Branch
Branch Metrics has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offering at developers of mid-tier and long-tail apps.
Branch Metrics offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, performance, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. It bills its solution as the only deep linking platform that supports all current mobile app platforms and standards, including iOS, Android, Web App Banner, Cordova/Ionic, Unity, Titanium, Xamarin, AIR, and React Native. Its offering maintains all link creation/analytics functionalities, making it suitable for all use/edge cases.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. Its solution matches at 100% accuracy if a user has clicked on a Branch link previously. It claims that its deep linking technology improves app performance, with 1.8x signups, 2.0x engagement, and 1.9x retention. High-profile examples of positive outcomes with its product include the following:
- Bento used Branch Metrics‘ solution to create deep linked emails that increased engagement with their app by 100%
- Gigtown used Branch Metrics‘ solution to provide its users with referral capabilities, resulting in a 6.5x increase in sharing and 41% increase in one-day retention
- HotelTonight used Branch Metrics’ solution to place Branch links in ads, resulting in a 16% decrease in cost-per-install and an 18% increase in install-to-booking rate
- Yummly used Branch Metrics’ solution to implement app-to-app sharing with Instacart, resulting in 28% more items added to shopping lists and 35% higher retention
- Vango used Branch Metrics’ solution to deploy deep linked content sharing, resulting in a 2.5x increase in conversions and a 2x increase in retention
The company reduces risk through responsiveness. Its distributed, service-oriented architecture is monitored 24/7 by a group of people who can react to problems in seconds. It also offers enterprise-level service agreements to guarantee that customers‘ links will work when they need them most.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its performance. It bills itself as the largest deep linking network, serving over 1.7 billion users across thousands of mobile apps. These include prominent eCommerce apps such as Ticketmaster and Jet, digital content apps such as Buzzfeed, We Heart It, and Fox Sports, real estate apps and travel apps such as Home Away and Redfin, social apps such as Dubsmash, Pinterest, and Coffee Meets Bagel, and games by developers such as Zynga. Lastly, it has won a number of honors, including first place in the GSMA Mobile World Congress Startup Innovation Competition (2015) and a Strictly Mobile Innovation Award (2015).
Branch Metrics’ main channel is its website, through which customers sign up for a free account; that said, it also maintains a direct sales team.
The company promotes its offering through its social media pages; “Mobile Growth” Meetup group events where it invites marketers and app developers to share best practices and solutions; and the “Branch Ambassadors Program“, through which it invites mobile growth experts to promote the company and deep linking in general.
Branch Metrics’ customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features a “Resources” section that includes numerous self-help tools, including case studies, eBooks, data sheets, infographics, webinars, and podcasts. The site also provides answers to frequently asked questions.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of e-mail support, as well as live technical and non-technical workshops hosted by the firm that demonstate best practices. There is also a community element in the form of a peer forum.
Branch Metrics’ business model entails designing and developing software for its customers.
Branch Metrics maintains the following types of strategic partnerships:
- App Development & Marketing - Marketing and mobile development agencies that can assist apps in adding Branch to their growth stack, as well as build new product and marketing strategies around contextual deep linking. Specific partners are Somo Global, Prolific Interactive, Dom & Tom, Yeti CGI, Yodel Mobile, Carrot, FDV Solutions, PredictSpring, Mavin Digital, and Ladder Digital.
- Measurement Platforms - In-app analytics and attribution platforms that can integrate Branch's deep link event data into apps‘ measurement initiatives. Specific partners are Apptimize, Localytics, Amplitude, Adjust, and Appboy.
- Growth Tools - App marketing platforms that leverage Branch's contextual deep links for programs such as engagement campaigns, email campaigns, A/B testing, push messaging, and more. Specific partners include mParticle, Segment, Referral Saasquatch, LeanPlum, Apptimize, and Localytics.
Partners receive education and tools for integrating contextual deep linking into their products.
In addition to these partnerships, Branch Metrics also maintains a referral program through which it invites third parties to refer developers to its offering. Once the new customers have integrated the Branch SDK, the company sends the referring party promotional gifts such as branded T-shirts.
Branch Metrics’ main resources are its human resources, who include the engineering employees that design and develop its software, the sales staff that promote it, and the customer service staff that provide support.
As a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $53.1 million from 12 investors as of January 2015.
Branch Metrics has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation.
Its biggest cost driver is likely product development, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of product development and sales/marketing, both fixed costs.
Branch Metrics has two revenue streams:
Usage Fees – Fees the company charges for one-off uses of its software; they fall into the following categories:
- Data Integrations – Price per event is $.0025/per event forwarded
- Deep-Linked E-mail – Price per click is $.02/per click
Subscription Fees – Fees the company charges for monthly access to its Journeys Web-to-App Tool, which enables app installs. They range in amount from $59 per month for 20,000 monthly mobile web visits to $6,999 per month for 20 million+ monthly mobile web visits.
info: Alex earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Santa Clara University, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and MBA at Stanford. He previously served as the CEO of Kindred Prints, the Founder of Cogwheel Labs, and as a Failure Analysis Engineer at MiaSole.
info: Mada earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Cornell University and a Master’s in Design from Stanford University. She previously served as the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Kindred Prints and worked at Deloitte and Siemens.
info: Mike earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Bucknell University and an MBA at Stanford. He previously spent five years in a product development role at 3M, where he acquired 10 patents.
info: Dmitri enrolled in Stanford University with plans to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering but left to obtain a role on the management team of Branch Metrics. He has significant experience writing code.
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