Sometimes the best journeys are the ones into the unknown. I remember catching up with Bob Moul after he had left Dell late last year. He had spent a lot of time focusing on Philadelphia’s startup tech scene, passionately working with the Mayor’s offices and programs like DreamIt. The one area Bob kept coming back to was mobile – as a new frontier, a new challenge, and potentially a new opportunity.
He met Scott Wasserman, founder/CTO of AppRenaissance, and joined on as CEO. It was a talented team of mobile developers building custom mobile apps for companies. While the apps they built were really solid, to say it’s not an obvious venture investment was an understatement. But we loved Bob and the great work he had done at Boomi (sold to DELL in November 2010), and were going to partner with him in whatever area he found interesting. “Don’t worry, by working closely with customers we’ll find the product opportunity in here,” he said. That was a few months ago.
Well, today I am thrilled to announce they found that product far more quickly than I anticipated. Artisan aims to bring to the mobile app world the deep set of tools and infrastructure that exist on the web today. The initial product is an A/B/n testing software, which allows companies to target specific users with a different look and feel, without requiring coding changes and resubmission to the app store. Simple examples could be showing a Platinum color app for holders of an American Express Platinum card, while Gold for others, and Blue for those on that product. One could test how button placements affect conversion. Or explore user flows within an app. Again, all areas marketers understand well, have done on the web, now available on mobile!
The best thing is that the platform will extend to a lot of different areas, ranging from advertising to personalization. Lots more to come here, but I think Bob’s vision of building a large public software company out of Philadelphia is much closer to reality. I’m delighted to partner with the team and sure as heck we took that journey into the unknown!