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PushSpring has raised $1.5 million in capital to help mobile developers know their customers better so they can display more relevant ads inside of their applications.

The Seattle-based company, which has been operating quietly for the past year, was founded by three Seattle mobile veterans: Karl Stillner, Steve Dossick and Tyler Davidson.

Stillner, who is PushSpring’s CEO, and Dossick, who is the company’s CTO, previously worked together at Zumobi, a Seattle-based mobile ad network. Stillner also helped sell Mobiata to Expedia as a member of its management team, and Davidson, who recently left his job as VP at Amdocs to become the company’s chief revenue officer, formerly worked at Clearwire and IceBreaker, which was acquired by DeNA.

pushspring logoDavidson declined to disclose the list of angels who participated in the round, but said the individuals come from Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. The seed round remains open and could grow to as much as $1.7 million.

For the past year, Davidson said PushSpring has been building what it calls a mobile app data management platform that will collect data on mobile app users, and report that data back to its publishers, who can use it to more effectively to target advertising or send push notifications.

Over the past couple of months, the company has been testing the platform out with a number of publishers, but now with more funding, it has plans to launch with additional customers in the music streaming, gaming and travel industries.

To use PushSpring, developers must install PushSpring’s software development kit into their applications. It aggregates data about their users, and then provides anonymous information back to the app developer through the use of profiles. Examples of such profiles include fitness enthusiasts, financial news hounds or gadget lovers. The platform works on both iOS and Android.

The practice is similar to how cookies are used today on the Web for retargeting, which is a form of online advertising that allows brands to advertise to customers after they leave their website. As an example, that pair of shoes you were shopping for on Zappos — but didn’t buy — may suddenly appear in an ad when visiting CNN.

“80 percent of time spent on mobile is within apps, not browsing, and existing retargeting solutions aren’t built for the app ecosystem,” PushSpring explains on its homepage. “PushSpring tracks things like products browsed inside your app, each customer’s lifetime value, other apps they’ve got on their phones, usage frequency, geographical location, and whatever additional data about them that you’d like to track.”

Competitors in the space include San Francisco-based Flurry, a mobile analytics and advertising platform, which has a huge head start. It has raised $73.3 million in funding and claims to work with more than 125,000 developers, including Zynga, BBC Worldwide and Pinterest.

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