Google Ventures has joined with a number of angel investors to bankroll Apptentive, a TechStars Seattle grad that’s developing new ways for mobile app developers to interact and communicate with users directly from within the app. The idea is that app developers can address problems almost in real time, adjusting the experience and making sure that customers remain happy.
Total funding in the round comes in at $1.2 million. The cash will be used to boost hiring at the six-person startup, with the company planning to expand in both sales and engineering.
In addition to Google Ventures, other investors in the round include former Swype CEO Mike McSherry; entrepreneur Dan Shapiro; Seattle super angel Geoff Entress; Aditi founder Pradeep Singh; and many others. Golden Venture Partners, Founder’s Co-Op and Social Leverage also participated.
“Companies are clamoring for a way to connect more deeply with their customers, particularly on mobile devices,” said founder and CEO Robi Ganguly. “At Apptentive, we believe that every company needs to be focused on earning the love of their customers.”
That’s what is happening at Urbanspoon. It has been using the Apptentive tools to get feedback on its popular restaurant directory app, saying it has helped to boost reviews. Other customers include Pirq, Decide and Yahoo.
Pricing for the Apptentive service ranges from free (for up to 10,000 active users) to more than $149 per month (for customers with more than 1 million active users).
Ganguly, a former Yahoo employee, continued in an email to GeekWire:
“We’re really focused on helping companies get more personal in connecting with their customers. This is more than just customer support, however. Our capabilities make it easy to proactively reach out, create conversations and conduct market research at the right time. We believe that the future of customer interactions requires a much more personal approach.”
Here’s Ganguly’s pitch at TechStars Demo Day earlier this year.