Our Investment in Awe.sm

by Ryan McIntyre

We are pleased to announce that we have made our initial investment in Awe.sm.  The company provides a powerful analytics platform for social media to developers, marketers, agencies and publishers.  We first met Awe.sm’s co-founder and CEO Jonathan Strauss at the Glue Conference in 2009 and have been following the evolution of Awe.sm with interest since then.  As Awe.sm’s user adoption increased and their platform vision evolved and came into sharper focus (see today’s launch of the new awe.sm for developers platform), we decided it was time for Foundry Group to invest in Awe.sm.

For the first decade of the web’s existence, the largest single contributor of traffic to a web site was search-engine referral traffic, explaining the rise of Google and its current status as one of the pillars of the web.  Following the emergence and hyper-growth of Facebook and Twitter, a new fundamental user behavior has emerged:  sharing.  As Facebook and Twitter have grown their user base to hundreds of millions of users, referral traffic from social networks has become an equally important traffic source to most web sites.  More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month, while over six billion monthly tweets generate more than three billion clicks per month on Twitter.  Social sharing is now a critical user acquisition and engagement driver for any consumer application or site.

However, while search-engine referral traffic is relatively easy to measure, attribute and analyze, understanding how sharing behavior drives traffic is far more complex:  understanding which users and actions drive more traffic, user conversions, revenue, etc. to a site requires a social native-attribution model and detailed analytics that can be deeply integrated at the application level and integrated with third-party and proprietary conversion funnels to measure and optimize key performance indicators that are relevant to each specific application developer, marketer or publisher.

Awe.sm has built a powerful on-demand platform and toolset aimed at providing application developers, marketers and publishers with the easiest and most flexible way to harness social data in their applications.  The company’s goal is to become the key infrastructure powering quantitative performance marketing across the social sharing channel.

Awe.sm has been adopted by numerous Foundry portfolio companies including Topspin Media, Stocktwits and Big Door.  Notably, each of the customers in the Foundry Group portfolio came to Awe.sm without any help or influence from Foundry Group’s partners, and feedback from the developers who have integrated Awe.sm into their applications has been uniformly positive with respect to the flexibility and power of the platform.

Awe.sm fits firmly into our Glue and Protocol themes and is most analogous to companies like SendGrid, Gnip and Urban Airship.  With the massive (and still growing) importance of social as a channel to drive traffic, we believe that the social sharing gesture within an application will become as important a part of basic application infrastructure as email or mobile app notifications, which presents a compelling opportunity for Awe.sm to become an important developer infrastructure and analytics platform used by a huge number of application developers, marketers and publishers.

We are very excited to be working with Jonathan and the rest of the Awe.sm team, as well as our co-investors GRP Partners, Neu Venture Capital and kps+p Ventures.