In-App Tools Maker Apptentive Raises $5.3M from SurveyMonkey, Others

Apptentive, which makes tools to help companies communicate with customers within mobile apps, has raised $5.3 million in a Series A funding round led by online surveys company SurveyMonkey and Origin Ventures.

It marks another substantial investment attracted by a Techstars Seattle 2012 company, following the $8 million Series B round raised this summer by Bizible this summer. The 10 companies have raised a combined $28 million. Two have gone under and two—Glider and MobileDevHQ—were acquired.

Apptentive co-founder and CEO Robi Ganguly says the company’s tools allow companies to prompt users of their apps to provide ratings and reviews—key to elevating them in app stores increasingly crowded with look-alike apps. A newer feature allows two-way communication between customers and companies, without leaving the app.

Ganguly. KeithSpiroPhoto courtesy of Kendall PRess

Ganguly. KeithSpiroPhoto courtesy of Kendall PRess

“For a while, app makers relied upon email and their branded social media accounts to engage in a two-way exchange with individual customers—taking the customer out of the app experience and on to a different service, which obviously isn’t ideal for either customer or the company,” Ganguly—pictured left at an Xconomy event—says via e-mail. “What we’re seeing now is rapidly growing desire by customers to engage company reps behind the app directly, and a strong desire [of] companies to learn more about their app users and invite their feedback.”

Apptentive’s core focus on in-app surveys fit well with SurveyMonkey, which is partnering with the company in addition to making its first strategic investment, Ganguly says.

“We believe Apptentive will further change and innovate consumer feedback as companies look for mobile-specific solutions,” says SurveyMonkey senior vice president Damon Cronkey in a news release. Cronkey is joining Apptentive’s board of directors.

Earlier Apptentive investors Founders’ Co-Op and Golden Venture Partners also joined this funding round, as did company co-founders. Total investment in Apptentive stands now at $6.7 million.

The company has 14 employees in a new downtown Seattle office and plans to hire another five to 10 in both engineering and sales and marketing as soon as possible, Ganguly says.

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