Awe.sm: Platform and Application Evolution
by Ryan McIntyre
As we discussed when we invested in awe.sm, the company fits comfortably into our Glue and Protocol themes, and the company caught our eye because several of our portfolio companies, including Topspin Media and StockTwits, were creating value from its technology platform. Companies with developer-facing products are compelling to us, as evidenced by our investments in companies like SendGrid, Urban Airship, MongoLab, and Chute.
But beyond awe.sm’s usage as a developer tool to empower sophisticated social sharing and analytics in third-party applications, the company constantly found itself fielding inbound interest from brands and marketers living in the world of social media marketing. These end-users wanted to know the ROI of their social activity, but they did not want to wade into the developer side of the pool to unlock the benefit of awe.sm’s powerful tools.
awe.sm for marketers meets this demand head-on. It’s built on awe.sm’s platform but with features and pricing for brands and agencies. It’s now possible to see the ROI of social media marketing without any engineering help: What did each post get me? What works? Why?
Beyond announcing a great new product launch from one of portfolio companies, we think this also illustrates a common evolutionary process many of our platform-focused companies have experienced: as their initial platform gains adoption and distribution, opportunities to build more focused applications and use-cases on the platform emerge from users inside and outside the company.
We’ve seen this happen with SendGrid’s transactional email platform and the email marketing / newsletter solutions built upon their infrastructure, we’ve seen it with Urban Airship’s push messaging platform and their location targeting and digital wallet applications, and we’ve seen it with Lijit’s publisher-focused audience analytics tools and the advertising services that emerged from the broad publisher adoption their products enjoyed.