February 7, 2013, 12:06 PM

Mobile marketer Urban Airship lands $25 million in funding

The push notification vendor has raised $46.6 million to date.

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Urban Airship, a mobile technology vendor that specializes in push messaging, has secured $25 million in funding from August Capital, as well as existing investors Foundry Group, Intel Capital, True Ventures and Verizon. August Capital led the financing with its co-founder John Johnston joining Urban Airship’s board of directors. The investment brings the total raised by Urban Airship to $46.6 million and follows on the heels of the company’s acquisition of Tello Inc.’s PassTools, which creates passes for Apple Inc.’s Passbook mobile wallet.

Push messages are short notes sent from an app that are displayed on a smartphone screen even if the app is not open. Retailers with apps and push message programs ask app users to opt in to receive push messages. Urban Airship can also send push messages via its PassTools Passbook app passes.

Urban Airship will use the funding, it says, to accelerate business in three areas: making advances in its high-performance and location push messaging platforms; capitalizing on digital wallet and Apple Passbook opportunities; and driving international expansion. In 2012 Urban Airship grew revenue more than 400% and doubled its staff, the company says.

“The pace of smartphone and tablet adoption is faster than any other technology, and Urban Airship has proven its ability to offer organizations the type of precision-targeting necessary to reach mobile consumers in relevant and meaningful ways,” says John Johnston, co-founder and partner of August Capital. “We’re enthusiastic for the team’s vision for the future.”

In a study of its clients in aggregate, Urban Airship says push messaging doubles app user retention and quadruples app engagement levels. Clients include Walgreen Co., Groupon, shopkick, ESPN and Accuweather. Walgreens has seen increased follow-through by consumers in refilling prescriptions because of push notifications, the retailer says.

“We achieved massive growth in 2012, quadrupling both push volumes and revenue, and this infusion will allow us to set a new pace of innovation in helping brands achieve their goals,” says Scott Kveton, co-founder and CEO of Urban Airship.

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