SessionM Banks $12M to Expand in Enterprise Mobile Marketing

SessionM, a mobile marketing startup based in Boston, is on a hot streak. The latest win came Tuesday, when the company announced it has raised a $12 million funding round. The round brings the total SessionM has raised to $38.5 million since it was founded in 2011.

Causeway Media Partners led the round. The firm is a growth equity investment firm founded by Wyc Grousbeck, the principal owner of the Boston Celtics. NTT Docomo Capital and Commerce Ventures, both new investors, and prior investors Highland Capital Partners, CRV (formerly Charles River Ventures), and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers joined the round.

SessionM makes software used for mobile marketing campaigns. The startup’s approach isn’t focused on delivering ads, though. Instead it manages engagement and loyalty programs. SessionM’s customers install its software as part of their apps and users can opt in to loyalty campaigns SessionM runs. App users are rewarded with points that can be redeemed for real-world rewards such as gift cards or coupons. Their “mPoints” accumulate across multiple apps that incorporate SessionM’s software.

The idea is that SessionM offers app users something more than pop-up mobile ads that they ignore and might get annoyed at. The reward program encourages people to keep using the app—ideally every day—and the increased engagement means app makers can make much more through ad sales.

SessionM offers an in-house creative team to create content, such as videos, branded games, and polls. It also has audience targeting, acquisition, and analysis software.

The company claims more than 1,500 app developer clients. It also says it manages more than 1,500 loyalty programs and reaches 100 million-plus mobile devices a month. Its clients include media companies such as the Weather Company, which is the parent company of the Weather Channel, sports teams and leagues such as the hometown New England Patriots and Nascar, and mobile app developers such as Zynga.

“Big brands now know that mobile is the central point for customer engagement and isn’t just about apps,” SessionM CEO and co-founder Lars Albright said in a release. “With the SessionM mobile enterprise platform, they’re now able to act accordingly across the whole consumer experience to better engage, message, and target their most valuable consumers.”

The latest funding will allow SessionM to roll out its new enterprise solutions faster and execute on a growing number of major multi-year deals, the company said in a release. The company’s goal is to reach more global Fortune 500 companies.

SessionM said annual revenue has doubled each of the past three years as it has booked eight consecutive quarters of double-digit sequential growth. Albright told Bloomberg he expects annual revenue to double again this year to $50 million.

Albright has a successful track record in mobile marketing. He co-founded and was a senior vice president of Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company Apple bought in 2010 for a reported $275 million. Apple incorporated the Quattro team into its iAd mobile advertising unit and Albright was a member of the iAd executive team.


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