A group of prominent Seattle angel investors are putting some of their cash behind Sparq, the mobile marketing upstart which operates under the name MYSKYNET.
Backers in the $651,000 angel round include former Facebook general counsel Rudy Gadre; aQunative co-founder Mike Galgon; and investor Chris Ackerley. The company, led by former Expedia and Microsoft engineer Jesse Chor, is developing “app detection technology” that helps boost mobile downloads. In one instance, Chor said that a customer saw 45 percent boost in conversions after installing Sparq.
“The Sparq platform removes common friction and barriers to purchase by detecting if an app is already installed on a mobile device. If the app is there,the SPARQ platform eliminates the need to login to a mobile site and delivers the customer quickly to the place in the app where they want to go. This leads to more purchases, more games being played and more activity on the apps,” says Chor.
Brands using the technology include Expedia, Zynga and WildTangent.
The company initially started in the QR code arena, but has since pivoted in what Chor calls a natural progression.
“When we started with the QR Code business we knew that mobile phones had different abilities and platforms and marketers shouldn’t have to care about that,” he says. “So we built and filed for many IP patents around the notion of detecting what apps are installed and what to do when it is and isn’t. So many of our QR customers started asking to use our services to improve mobile / multi-platform conversions and get analytics behind it without the QR Code.”
Sparq employs more than 10 people, and it plans to boost hiring with the new funds.
Other companies in the mobile marketing arena include HasOffers, which just scored $9.4 million from Accel Partners, Founder’s Co-op and others as well as TechStars Seattle grad and Google Ventures-backed Apptentive, which provides developers with in-app feedback tools.
In addition to the funding, Sparq has named former aQuantive vet Jim Watson as COO. It also has added former Microsoft vice president of game publishing Ed Fries to the advisory board.