In the latest episode of AdExchanger Talks, mParticle CEO Michael Katz talks about the vision behind mParticle, a three-year-old startup that consolidates data feeds in the fragmented app ecosystem. He describes it as an "API of APIs."
That vision can be summed up this way: Brands rely on an ever-expanding set of technologies to serve their customers across browsers, mobile apps and connected TVs. The proliferation of these technologies – analytics tools, ad buying tools, marketing automation tools, customer service tools and so on – has created an integration headache afflicting companies ranging from pure-play app developers to traditional media companies and retail establishments.
MParticle cures the headache by unifying SDKs from all those providers under a single platform and customer login. "You leave a lot of opportunity and money on the table by not integrating and orchestrating data flow across all of your partners," Katz said.
In the three years since launching, mParticle's customer wins have included Airbnb, Spotify, SoulCycle, NBCUniversal, EA, Chick-fil-A and Venmo. The unique variety of those customers suggests the pain point mParticle was founded to address is widely felt.
In Katz's view, mParticle is the first company to emerge in a "third wave" of data platforms.
He says the first wave started in the late ’80s, leveraging point-of-sale retail data to power direct mail offers. The second wave was born on the web, led by tag managers and DMPs that captured anonymous cookie data and exported the resulting audience segments to ad servers.
In the third wave, Katz says consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices, and specifically in apps, where data capture works very differently from the desktop internet. Surprise: This just happens to be mParticle's sweet spot.
"We represent that next wave of data platform that allows you to deal with the complexities that are core to running a successful brand given today's realities," he said.
Also in this episode: Lessons from Katz's last startup, Interclick (sold to Yahoo in 2011 for $270 million), what it's like to work with VC heavy hitters like Google Ventures and the future of consumer app experiences.