Apps that mysteriously crash is annoying for users and even more so for the software engineers that built the app that are often flying blind in the app ecosystem. Existing mobile app architecture hasn’t readily provided the means to effectively track and understand the causes of app crashes and technical glitches. Replicating the user experience, at the time of a crash, is often near impossible. Enter Embrace – its performance monitoring solution analyzes, tracks, and replays the details of every single user session to accurately and quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve any issues. The Culver City-based startup’s software is so effective that it typically uncovers up to 10X more issues than were previously detectable.
LA TechWatch caught up with founder Eric Futoran to learn more about how Embrace ensures that performance for mobile apps is fluid and without issues, the company’s future expansion plans into new verticals, and its recent funding round, which brings its total funding raised to $7M.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $4.5M led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital with participation from Greycroft, Vy Capital, and Miramar Ventures in addition to our previous investors.
What inspired you to start Embrace?
I was definitely inspired by my experience at Scopely where I had first-hand experience building games, and I quickly became aware of the voids that are in the mobile ecosystem.
Our primary use case when founding Embrace was from this past experience. At Scopely, I would play one of our own games and the startup screen would freeze, or there would be a core tech issue that would impact the user, and I would never know how many people were affected or if it was just me. I’d meet with our engineers and they’d simply shrug since there was no easy way to answer the question quickly.
Issues like this happen constantly and as they go unsolved, this became a great use case and opportunity for starting a company.
The primary differentiator for our platform is that we analyze and gather every user session, good or bad, and this mass of data allows us to run an automated analysis to uncover issues within the user experience that you just can’t find using other performance management tools.
Mobile technology is very temporal, unlike Web or browsers, in that you need to know what led up to a broken experience such as an incomplete purchase or an app crash. For instance, one of the worst types of errors that can happen to an app is “Application Not Responding” (ANR) because to the user it’s just a freeze. With our approach and technology, we can find what led up to each and every crash or freeze, and that’s important.
What market is Embrace targeting and how big is it?
- AppAnnie forecasts that annual worldwide app installs will grow from 205 billion in 2018 to well over 250 billion installs in 2022.
- Net new installs aren’t apps you have on your phone, like Instagram or Snap, they are apps that are in other verticals or haven’t been conceived yet.
- The average user has roughly 20 apps on their phone that they use monthly. This is a lot and it’s not the same 20 apps each month.
As the mobile ecosystem matures, users will focus more on the utilitarian apps that help them access transportation, do their job, connect at a conference, make retail purchases and more – it’s becoming easier than ever. We see these use cases and industries expanding very quickly, and then it will be all about reducing that friction with technology such as ours.
What’s your business model?
We charge on a base fixed fee per month for an app per platform, and the primary reason is that it aligns with our customers. When you offer volume-based pricing in the mobile ecosystem, it causes misalignment. As an app publisher, you shouldn’t be disincentivized to capture more data, look up one more user, add one more log, and so on. You should want to capture every data point about the user experience, and we make this possible and easy through our model.
Also, we are not a faceless company. Unlike other enterprise software or free product companies, we want to be involved in order to improve the app experience and provide as much value as possible. To help our customers be successful, we should be aligned.
This is a very different approach culturally than our competitors, and apparently, it shows. Recently, we won the business of one of the leading US companies, beating out the competition when they were willing to give their six-figure software for free because we wanted to talk with and work with them to reach their goals. We want to understand how our customers’ business works so that we can be a better partner.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Given the tenure of our leadership team, we have lots of great relationships with the investor community. Many of our seed round investors returned to us with interest in this preemptive round, and this is largely driven by the traction that we’ve driven to date as well as understanding our vision and the growth of this market.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’re planning to expand outside the core of mobile app verticals, such as eCommerce and media, and reach the larger ecosystem of app verticals that are not in the Apple and Google stores. For instance, warehouse apps, landlord and tenant apps, shelf-stocking apps for contractors, delivery service apps, like ChowNow and Clutter.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
I’d have to say that it would be Cofax, located in the Fairfax area. They have amazing doughnuts, coffee, and breakfast burritos – and they have a Dodgers theme!