Episode #440: How Urban Airship plans on becoming a part of the mobile plumbing – with CEO Scott Kveton

Episode #440

If you’ve followed me through UNTETHER for a while you’ll know of this guest, Scott Kveton – founder and CEO of Urban Airship. This is the third time on for Scott and it has been pretty amazing to document the growth and maturation his company has gone through since we first met in early 2011. You may have also heard that his company has just raised $25 million in funding. We did this episode days before that was announced.

So what’s new here? Start with the growth: Scott’s team has grown from 20 employees to over 120 and he anticipates it will double in size this year. They have acquired Tello (another UNTETHER.tv alumnus) and rolled out their Passbook service. They currently manage 1 billion devices through their network, have sent out 40 billion messages and gather 1 terabyte of data each and every single day. They have, in Scott’s words, become part of the piping and plumbing of the mobile world.

Scott let’s us in on what their plans are for Passbook (he see’s it as a gateway for many of his customers) and similar products on other platforms. He also talks about the power just-in-time contextual messages have over influence citing Walgreens and Starbucks as two great examples of success.

I feel very privileged to get a glimpse inside a company like Urban Airship as they have built themselves up to where they are. For you aspiring mobile entrepreneurs take note of how this company has arrived where they are but know that Scott doesn’t – and won’t – ever rest (he, like many good leaders, has a healthy dose of paranoia). Mobile world domination is in his sights and that’s what we cover on the episode.

In case you missed the other episodes

How did Urban Airship grow revenue 600% in 1 year – with CEO Scott Kveton

How did Urban Airship grow revenue 600% in 1 year – with CEO Scott Kveton


Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. Urban Airship – the last year from 20 employees to 120 2:00
2. How have you managed the change inside of Urban Airship during this process 3:30
3. How was your transition as a leader during this change 5:25
4. How does your board of directors move Urban Airship forward 7:05
5. How is Portland as a place to grow a business 9:30
6. What has shifted for Urban Airship during the last 12 months 12:00
7. Why acquire Tello? 14:00
8. How important is Apple’s Passbook technology and similar offerings? 16:25
9. Is this an early adopter technology today? 20:10
10. Can Passes influence new spend by consumers? 21:45
11. Starbucks example using Urban Airship for their “pick of the week” 23:40
12. How does Urban Airship influence buyers 24:45
13. Are the number of interactions in mobile overwhelming for brands? 27:00
14. Are CMO’s getting the shift from broadcast advertising to mass one-to-one customized messaging 28:50
15. Where are marketers moving money from to spend with Urban Airship 30:40
16. How does Urban Airship leverage location to be effective for customers and consumers 32:40
17. How important is data collection through mobile and what can it influence? 35:00
18. What does the company look like if it wants to do everything in your plan 37:40
19. How do you know what the next big step to take is for Urban Airship 39:20
20. What does this coming year look like for Urban Airship 41:35
21. Are you going for another round of financing? 42:40
22. Are you satisfied where Urban Airship is at this moment? 44:00

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About Scott Kveton
Scott Kveton Urban AirshipScott Kveton is the CEO of Urban Airship, a mobile services platform provider in Portland, Oregon. He is widely recognized as an expert on mobile app strategy and cloud infrastructure. He speaks frequently on app monetization, engagement and the developer ecosystems around the various mobile platforms.

Under Kveton’s leadership, Urban Airship has added customers, employees and accolades at a rapid pace. The company powers some of the most successful brands in mobile, including ESPN, Tapulous, Groupon, dictionary.com, msnbc.com and Newsweek. Urban Airship’s flagship offerings—push notifications and in-app purchase—help apps gain success by increasing user engagement and delivering a path to monetization. As of March, the venture-backed start-up has delivered billions of push notifications across the Apple, Android and Blackberry platforms while enabling more millions of in-app mobile transactions.

Prior to co-founding Urban Airship, Kveton had more than a dozen years of experience building technology, developing business strategy and leading engineering teams with companies including Amazon.com, Rulespace, JanRain and Vidoop. He also co-founded the Open Source Lab (OSL) at Oregon State University. OSL was instrumental in helping several open source projects grow into mainstream usage, including the Mozilla Foundation, the Linux Kernel and Drupal. In recognition of his work at OSL and with the OpenID Foundation, Scott was named Red Herring’s list of ’25 Titans in waiting’ in early 2007 and Information Week’s ‘Change Agents’ in December 2005.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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