Urban Airship, a Portland, Oregon mobile infrastructure company focused on push notifications and in-app sales as a service, has quadrupled its war-chest with a $15.1 million Series C round of funding, the company is announcing tonight. New investors Salesforce and Verizon join existing investors True Ventures and Foundry Group as participants in the latest round.
Airship has now raised more than $20 million in financing. Last week the company announced it has acquired geolocation data provider SimpleGeo in an all-stock deal reportedly worth $3.5 million. Those two companies together, along with their new backers Verizon and Salesforce, plus the forward-looking portfolios of True and Foundry, point toward a future based on mobile user engagement, analytics, rich geolocation data, marketing, sales, lead generation, CRM, network services, developer services and probably some other crazy things.
Widely-admired investor Brad Feld of Foundry Group spoke to a group of entrepreneurs assembled last week when he and partner Jason Mendelson visited the Urban Airship office in Portland. Feld said he hasn't looked at a business plan or a resume in 15 years, but that he invests in products and teams that target themes that he and his co-investors find interesting. The two hinted that they would be in Portland a lot more over the next year, presumably because they were on site to help negotiate the large new round of funding.
Foundry invests in about 10 to 12 businesses a year, Feld said, and he urged the up-and-coming Portland tech community to think in terms of a 20 year plan. The firm focuses on 7 different categories of investments they believe will have long term significance; Urban Airship is listed under the company's Protocols theme.
"The way humans interact with computers 20 years from now will make the way we interact with them today look silly," the firm's website says. Speaking about Foundry's investment in Makerbot, Feld said last week that he firmly believes machines will be self-replicating 20 years from today.
Presumably those self-replicating robots will need to send and receive push notifications, too.
New Airship investors Salesforce were most recently in the news for making a large investment in cloud storage firm Box.net Verizon has reportedly been making an unusually large number of investments in startups this year. True Ventures invested in Urban Airship's first round, along with A and B round participants Founders Co-Op, in early 2010.