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How Button Pushed Its Way Into the Midst of Uber and Foursquare

Xconomy New York — 

“There should be more connectivity in the app world,” says Button CEO and co-founder Michael Jaconi. “We’re trying to solve that.”

On Monday, his New York-based startup announced its software was being used in a partnership that gives people the ability to book Uber cars through Foursquare. Just about a year old, Button’s software is a kind of bridge that allows a feature from one app to appear as a “button” within a third party’s app.

In particular, Button wants to be the connection between apps that are part of daily spending habits such as dining, travel, and deliveries, Jaconi says.

This is an example of “deep linking” in mobile, he says, which links content and functions between different apps. For example, with Button’s software in the mix, an Uber button will appear in the Foursquare app if users discover a place they want to visit and need a ride to the location.

Jaconi says this is the highest-profile connection so far for his company. Founded to tap into the spread of mobile commerce, he says, Button brings something he believes was missing from the equation.
“One of the coolest parts of the Internet is connectiveness,” Jaconi says. “In the app world there is none of that.”

By that he means connecting people through mobile to things they want, when they want them. That is where Button comes in, he says, by integrating on top of apps that want to link to services or products. “In Foursquare, there’s no greater example than consumers looking at a restaurant or venue, and they want to go,” he says. “Now with a touch of a button, they can have an Uber take them there.”

Until recently, most apps had one function they could perform really well, but didn’t do anything else significant, Jaconi says. For Foursquare, it’s local discovery. For Uber, it’s about hailing a car.

Button cuts down on the time it takes for third parties to connect their apps with each other, he says, and opens up other possibilities in mobile commerce. “Companies are looking for interesting ways to monetize and to engage consumers,” Jaconi says.

So far Button has raised more than $14 million in funding from such investors as Greycroft Partners, Atlas Venture, VaynerRSE, Redpoint Ventures, and DCM Ventures. The startup has a staff of 20, Jaconi says, and is looking to expand. “We’ve doubled in the past six months,” he says. “We’re planning to continue growing; the core focus is on scaling the product and engineering team.”