Blog Post

App Analytics Startups Flurry & Pinch Media Merge

Mobile application analytics startups Flurry of San Francisco and Pinch Media of New York are in the process of merging their operations, according to Flurry CEO Simon Khalef. The new combined entity will be called Flurry Media and will maintain offices in both locations. Here is a breakdown of the deal and what it means.

Deal Details

Khalef explained that both companies were of roughly equal size and as such, this is a merger of equals. As part of the deal, Greg Yardley, founder of Pinch Media, will be the VP of products at the new company, which will have 20 employees in New York and San Francisco. Khalef is going to be the CEO. Pinch Media’s stockholders including FirstRound Capital and Union Square Ventures will own Flurry Media stock going forward.

Flurry started out focusing on providing mobile email on feature phones but changed its business to mobile analytics over a year ago. It’s backed by venture capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Draper Richards. The combined entity, the new Flurry, will seek fresh capital in the new year, Khalef said. “Both of us are small companies and both were seeing similar growth,” said Khalef. “We were always fighting it out amongst each other; this makes is easier.”

“They had expertise in audience and ad-optimization while we are good at e-commerce optimization,” he added. It makes perfect sense that the two companies throw in their lot together. As a combined company, Flurry and Pinch Media analytics software will be running on more than 80 percent of all iPhone, iPod touch and Android handsets and will track some 1 billion mobile application user sessions per month. These two companies’ code is integrated into more than 8,000 live applications in Apple’s App Store

Going forward, the company will leverage consumer insight gained by tracking usage on four out of every five iPhone OS devices and two out of every three Android OS devices to accelerate revenue generation for application developers, Khalef said. The new Flurry is going to be ramping up its operations and boost hiring as it tries and develop its business model.

What do I think?

I’ve been a big believer in the mobile app marketplace and always thought the big winners of this shift to mobile apps would be the guys who would either own the platform or those who would develop tools for this emerging ecosystem.  Analytics were part of that “toolset.” That was precisely our logic behind including Greg’s Pinch Media in our Mobilize 08 Startup LaunchPad. It’s good to see the company grow and merge with Flurry.

It’s smart for the two to combine at this moment, rather than wait. Instead of fighting with each other, they can quickly bulk up and become big players in this marketplace. As Khalef pointed out in a chat yesterday, “We are going to build services on top of the free analytics services and that is a clear value proposition.” Agreed.

If they continue at their current pace, the new company can easily become a 800-lb gorilla in the app analytics space. That would make it even more attractive, both as an investment and as an acquisition target. Anyone from Microsoft (s MSFT) to Nielsen to comScore can be a ultimate buyer for these guys. However, if the company continues to develop e-commerce and advertising products that leverage all the data it collects, then it can become a much bigger player –- like the Omniture of the mobile world.

15 Responses to “App Analytics Startups Flurry & Pinch Media Merge”

  1. Anonymous

    This growing market is starting to segment itself. Players like Flurry/Pinch are focusing on highly aggregated data and analytics while at Localytics we provide premium app developers the extra tools they need — including deep, real-time analytics and full access to their data.


  2. DistortedLoop

    I abhor these companies and their inclusion in my mobile device applications. They essentially amount to spyware, as their is no way to opt-out of them tracking what you’re doing, often without your knowledge, and then reporting it back to some mothership. Is it the fact that they have venture capitalist backing the reason that sites like gigaohm don’t call them out for being what they really are, corporate spyware?

    • If that is indeed the case, then the issue is

      1. why are app developers bundling them into the “apps.”
      2. they are no different than admob.
      3. their methodology is no different than google analytics which are on millions of sites as well.

      The most important part is that the app developers can kick them out anytime. So if there is someone who should be the focus of your ire, then it has to be app developers.

      Just wondering out loud

      • DistortedLoop

        Obviously, app developers bundle this stuff in for multiple reasons; all of course related to ways to increase revenues. Whichever justification they use (learn more about user habits, etc), that’s what it boils down to.

        I don’t hear so much about Admob, but if they’re doing the same thing, covertly sending data about my usage habits back to some mother ship, along with some method of tying it back to me or my device, then I’m not very fond of them, either.

        Don’t even get me started on Google, Om! ;-) I think in the future people will regret just how much of their privacy they gave up to this company in the name of convenience and personalized/relevant targeted ads.

        Your point about focusing my ire on the developers rather than the analytics is specious, and jumps to an inaccurate assumption. It assumes that I don’t hold developers who use these services in the same negative light. I do, if they don’t give me a way to opt out. Just for the sake of argument, with your logic, if I think abortion should be illegal, I should only be angry with the women getting abortions, not the doctors who perform them. If I think marijuana should be illegal, I should only be angry with the people who smoke it, not the people who grow and sell it. If I think guns should be illegal, I should only be upset with those who buy guns, not those who make them.

        In all of those highly politically charged scenarios, if you’re opposed to the primary thesis, of course you should be opposed to both the supplier and user of the thing you disapprove of. It’s the same with these analytics companies.

        My primary concern is that as a user, you generally don’t know that the data is even being collected, what data is actually being collected, how easily it is traced back to you as a unique entity, and most importantly, that there is usually NO way to opt out and no notification that it’s being done. This stuff should be opt-in…