Careers at Mixpanel
Mixpanel’s mission is to help the world learn from its data.
In 2008 Suhail Doshi was a computer systems engineering major at Arizona State University. A self-taught programmer, he spent much time in IRC, a popular chat forum for computer engineers and hackers. One day he received a message through the site inviting him to intern at Slide, an app widget-making company. Founded by former PayPal executive Max Levchin, Slide was one of the most buzzed-about startups at the time, with a valuation of $500 million. Doshi’s decision was easy.
As an intern, he worked independently on a wide variety of projects, and grew to love his role so much that he would stay busy past midnight on a daily basis. Levchin liked his new charge, and would listen avidly to his new business ideas and pitches. When the four-month position ended he tried to convince Doshi to leave school and join Slide full-time, but Doshi declined.
Back at his university, Doshi couldn’t stop thinking about startups. He eventually dropped out and began exploring an idea he had as an intern. At Slide, he had noticed that the company was spending more than $1 million to develop its own internal analytics software, despite the availability of options such as Google Analytics. He reasoned that the firm, like many others, wasn’t having its specific needs met by current offerings. Thus, he decided to build a solution that addressed such needs.
Doshi created a prototype for Mixpanel, a mobile and web analytics software program. It didn’t track typical metrics such as pageviews or install figures – Doshi felt these measures did not highlight a website’s actual value. Instead, it monitored customer “engagement” statistics such as the number of times a user “likes” something on Facebook or “filters” something on Instagram. Doshi sent the prototype to Levchin, who said that companies preferred to build such software themselves. Though disappointed, Doshi continued his work on Mixpanel, collaborating with classmate Tim Trefren.
By the summer of 2009 they had a vastly improved version that landed them a placement in Y Combinator (a funding program for startups) and $15,000 in seed funding. They received another boost when Levchin changed his mind and Slide became Mixpanel’s first major investor (and client). They then went on to raise capital from other investors such as Michael Birch, founder of Bebo -- a miracle given that the economic recession was in full force and interest in startups had taken a hit. Mixpanel used the funds to build the firm, and it quickly became profitable – soon generating $1 million in monthly revenues. It is now one of the quickest-growing business analytics apps.
Benefits at Mixpanel
Business model of Mixpanel
Mixpanel has a mass market business model, with no notable differences between customer segments. The company markets its offerings to all companies that want to better understand the behavior of their websites’ visitors.
Mixpanel offers three primary value propositions: innovation, convenience, and brand/status.
The company’s solution innovates analytics processes by tracking unique, useful metrics across websites/mobile apps and using the data to provide effective, targeted communications:
- Engagement – This feature measures the volume of actions – moments when a visitor engages in a powerful way the company online (e.g., “liking” something on Facebook, posting pictures on Instagram, purchasing a rental on Airbnb).
- Retention – This feature measures the frequency with which visitors return and engage with the brand. This can be used to determine the impact of content changes on customer retention.
- Funnel – This feature analyzes how visitors navigate any series of actions. It allows companies to determine the points at which customers leave, which in turn enables firms to identify problem areas and increase conversion rates.
- People – This feature analyzes visitors’ characteristics and the behavior they exhibit prior to or after signing up for something. This allows companies to better understand who they are and more effectively reengage them through the use of notifications.
- Notifications – This feature sends visitors automatic e-mails, in-app notifications, push notifications, and SMS text messages when they visit the brand. This helps generate greater activity and loyalty.
- A/B Testing – This feature enables companies to test ideas under consideration – for example, editing marketing copy or changing the color of a button. This allows them to see what’s working best.
The company’s software creates convenience by making implementation easy. It takes only 10 minutes for users to integrate completely with any site. Additional features enable ease of use. Bookmarks allow users to save frequently viewed reports, saving time, and Annotations allow users to view important events that have happened, facilitating a greater understanding of the business.
The company has established a strong brand due to the wide variety of analytics options it provides. It bills itself as “the most advanced analytics platform ever for mobile and the web“ and analyzes 48 billion actions on a monthly basis. Mixpanel has over 3,900 customers, and clients include major companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Autodesk, Hewlett-Packard, WordPress, and venmo.
Mixpanel’s main channel is its direct sales team, through which it acquires customers. The company also markets its offering through its website and social media pages.
Mixpanel’s 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 includes a “Help Center” section with answers to common questions, tutorials, informational videos, and developer documentation. That said, there is also a community component with a forum where users can get help from their peers.
Mixpanel’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its customers.
Mixpanel partners with consulting firms to help ensure its customers use the software effectively. The company has provided training to the firms and they are considered Mixpanel experts. They assist clients with implementation and usage. Its specific partners are Analytics Pros, Blast Analytics & Marketing, Brighter Collective, Cardinal Path, Empirical Path, and E-Nor.
Mixpanel’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which serves more than 3,900 customers. The company also relies on its technology staff to maintain and update the platform and its sales/marketing employees to promote it.
Lastly, as a start-up it has relied heavily on funding from investors, raising $77.02 million from eight companies as of December 2014; these investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital.
Mixpanel has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through regular service enhancement. Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of product development and administration.
Mixpanel has one revenue stream: the subscription fees it charges for usage of its service. Its pricing options are shown below. While they are monthly, there is also an annual payment option.
- Engagement Plans – These provide access to features that analyze all of the different actions customers take on a company’s website/mobile app. Companies pay monthly fees that vary by amount of data points analyzed. Prices range from $150 per month for the “Startup” level (500,000 data points) to $2,000 per month for the “Commercial” level (20,000,000 data points). Sales staff must be contacted for pricing at the “High-Volume” level (50,000,000+ data points).
- People Plans – These provide access to features that analyze specific users and allow companies to later re-engage them. Companies also pay monthly fees varying by amount of data points analyzed. Prices range from $150 per month for profiles of 50,000 people to $1,800 per month for profiles of 1 million people. Sales staff must be contacted for pricing for profile totals of 1.5 million+ people.
info: Suhail studied Computer Systems Engineering at Arizona State University before leaving to found Mixpanel. He previously worked as a Software Engineering intern at app widget-maker Slide and participated in Y Combinator in 2009.
info: Matt earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of San Diego. He previously served as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Ericsson Business Innovation and Vice President of Sales at New Relic.
info: Joe earned an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. His past positions include Project Manager at Microsoft, Senior Manager of Software Engineering at Amazon, and Director of Engineering at Twitter.
info: Adam earned a B.S. in Business Administration at the University of Oregon. His previous positions include Account Executive at ViralNinjas and Sales Development Representative and Market Development Representative at Responsys.
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