Start-up of the week: XtremePush

9 Mar 2015

XtremePush co-founders Tommy Kearns and Dr Kevin Collins

Our start-up of the week is XtremePush, an app analytics and engagement platform that was recently one of the finalists at Accenture’s inaugural FinTech Innovation Lab in Dublin.

“Our software analyses in-app interactions to understand how the end user is interacting with the application,” explained XtremePush co-founder and CEO Tommy Kearns.

“Based on in-app history we allow brands to segment, target, and automate engagement campaigns during the customer’s user journey with app notifications and in-app messaging.

“Additionally we layer location technology on top of user analytics using iBeacon and Geo Fencing to allow brands to engage users ‘on location’ to heighten the average revenue per customer. A good example of this was Leinster Rugby using our iBeacon and engagement technology in the RDS to drive seat upgrades during games,” he said.

The market

As Kearns explains it XtremePush address the question of what happens after somebody downloads an app.

“A lot of businesses make the mistake of only considering app promotion and don’t think about how to monitise and retain those users who download the app. We address that exact issue.

“Across the board seven out of 10 app downloads will result in deletion after 30 days, so understanding what consumers do when they first use the application, and then utilising actionable analytics to make evidenced based decisions of how to engage in a relevant way, is paramount to increase app retention rates.

“We are targeting brands who have applications but don’t have access to actionable analytics and can’t segment their target users,” Kearns said.

According to Forrester Research the market for mobile engagement providers will grow to US$32.4 billion by 2018.

“XtremePush will be one of the leading providers of mobile engagement ensuring that brands maximise the potential value of each download they get.”

The founders

XtremePush grew out of the leading mobile app development company – iMobile – which developed apps for Independent News & Media, Cars Ireland, Street Rugby and App King.

“From this experience arose the realisation and market opportunity for app analytics and engagement tools to help brands understand theirs users and engage them to increase the average revenue per customer.

The mix of strong business acumen from Tommy Kearns and the PhD of Dr. Kevin Collins in Computer Science has created a powerful founding team for XtremePush’s platform.

The company is led by Tommy Kearns, a proven commercial leader and entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience working in the telecoms (mostly mobile) and app space internationally. Tommy has set up and rolled out successful and scalable businesses in countries such as Jamaica, Chile and Mexico.

Dr. Kevin Collins graduated from DCU with a B.Eng in Digital Media Engineering. After graduating top of his class he was awarded a three-year postgraduate scholarship through the IRCSET Embark Initiative to study for his PhD.

Kevin is an expert in wireless communications, mobile and location-aware applications. His work has won him two of the Universities commercialisation awards; one for work with Disney Research and most recently for the indoor location solution he has developed in partnership with XtremePush – In the Zone.

The company was recently one of the finalists at Accenture’s inaugural FinTech Innovation Lab in Dublin.

The technology

“We have a software library that can be implemented in an application in about 10 minutes,” Kearns explains.

“Straight away the brand can start to see how users interact with the app and how to optimise the user journey. Over time brands see and understand trends within their application. Our engagement module allows those brands to deliver highly relevant and targeted call-to-actions to enhance the customer experience or increase sales through the application.”

XtremePush worked with Leinster Rugby and a US technology partner to implement seat-upgrading technology in their app.

“Using our iBeacon technology Leinster can understand which seats their users are in and our engagement module allows Leinster Rugby to engage with their fans to alert them to the opportunity of a potential pitch side seat upgrading opportunity through app notifications.

“Additionally Leinster uses our app analytics to understand what their users are doing inside the application and to keep their fans up-to-date with squad updates etc. ROI can be easily measured on the XtremePush platform to understand exactly how much additional revenue each campaign generated.”

Kearns said the ultimate goal is to become the “go to” guys for app analytics and mobile marketing automation.

“The majority of apps can’t communicate with their users in a highly relevant way because they don’t understand what type of user they are. We bridge that gap and allow brands to maximise their average revenue per user.”

High profile customer wins with zero marketing spend

So far XtremePush has relied on clever use of technology as well as hard work and determined selling to get to the point it is currently at.

“It’s a hot market so there’s lots of competition but we have a unique offering utilising both in-app analytics and location technology to create a highly contextualised CRM experience for the end user.

“With virtually no marketing spend to date we have acquired more than 300 customers, a number of which are high profile such as Leinster Rugby, IRFU,, Total Produce. We also have enterprise clients in the UK, the US and South America.

“We are currently finalising our first funding round and we will move to a second funding round towards the end of 2015.

“In a competitive market it’s hard to be seen and heard. We’ve utilised the brands we have on board currently to prove our technology with strong use cases focusing on the ROI for the end businesses which has delivered great success.”

Get to the customers first and build an MVP around that

Activity rather than aspiration appears to be the guiding principle at XtremePush, which has very quickly built a customer base in tandem with building a product.

Kearns says the start-up scene in Ireland is electric but the support of large multinationals like Twitter and Google also opens doors.

“The scene is fantastic. We’ve been involved with a number of organisations. We are a HPSU (high potential start-up) Enterprise Ireland client which has opened a number of doors internationally for us.

“We’ve also participated the Dublin Beta events and most recently we were selected by Accenture Ireland to be mentored on the FinTech Innovation Labs Dublin programme which gives us direct access to the pillar financial institutions in Ireland.

“We’ve also received great assistance from multi national  companies like Google and Twitter.”

His advice to other start-ups is get to the customers first. “Get your first customers and build your minimal viable product around that customer base to prove that it works and it’s a valuable business proposition.

“Once you’ve got a product that will delight your customers you can go anywhere in the world with it.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years