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1Mby1M Deal Radar 2015: Twin Prime, Redwood City, CA

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 2nd 2015

Mobile devices have increasingly emerged as the primary way to gain access to content. The average person spends more than three hours per day on a mobile device and 86% of it is spent on apps. But the sad reality is that mobile apps are at least three times slower than their desktop version. Not only does it hamper user experience, but it also results in loss of revenue — a 1% decline for every 100 milliseconds of delay. To solve this mobile performance challenge, Twin Prime was founded in 2013 by CEO Kartik Chandrayana and CTO Satish Raghunath.

Kartik and Satish have PhDs in Computer Engineering, with an emphasis on networking technologies, and together they bring to the company over 30 years of networking, software design, and experience with large data sets. Previously, Karthik led engineering teams at Blue Coat Systems and Cisco Systems where he focused on industry-leading R&D on storage networking, WAN optimization, and high-speed TCP among other areas.

Satish has more than 15 years of experience in network software design at leading networking companies including Juniper Networks and Nortel Networks. At Juniper Networks, he was instrumental in improving router technology and contributing to the development of a cross-company services platform. At Nortel Networks, Satish researched and prototyped several networking technologies to make networks application-aware.

The main value proposition of Twin Prime is that it is the only company that solves all the variables that impact the mobile app experience and is the only acceleration solution that addresses the problems introduced by mobile networks. It offers a simple frictionless service that can be deployed within minutes to dramatically enhance the user experience for mobile apps.

CDNs typically try to bring the data as close as possible to the edge of the network, relying on caching and compression techniques to optimize performance but neglect the last mile where 70% to 90% of mobile latency resides. CDN 2.0 start-ups such as Instart Logic and Fastly are primarily focused on website optimization and not mobile apps. Other startups working on mobile app acceleration include Kwicr and PacketZoom, but they are built on User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and are only focused on eliminating packet losses. This made sense when 2G and 3G networks were prevalent and packet losses were significant, but has become a minor issue with the advent of HSPA/LTE/next generation technologies.

Unlike these solutions, Twin Prime focuses on the complete set of last mile issues, to develop optimization strategies for every end-user based on their real-time mobile context. Its proprietary Global Location and Context-based Acceleration Strategy (GLAS) technology conducts automated hypothesis testing for each user session, and then automatically selects and deploys customized optimization strategies to improve content delivery for that session.

Twin Prime gained early traction through its beta program. One of its early clients was Frontback, a popular photo sharing social networking mobile app with a global presence. After Twin Prime was installed on their app, Frontback users experienced 56% faster speeds worldwide, and as a result spent 52% more time in the app and consumed 70% more content. Frontback’s users now view up to 5 extra images per session on an average.

Twin Prime now has tens of millions of monthly active users across m-commerce, travel, hospitality, and social media verticals. Pricing is based on the number of monthly active devices in an organization. It’s a tiered model, with per unit flexibility built in for high growth organizations.

The mobile acceleration market is expected to grow from $0.4 billion in 2012 to $3.36 billion by 2018 growing at 42% CAGR. Using a detailed bottom-up analysis, they looked at revenue and growth rates for the Mobile Advertising, m-Commerce, and Consumer Apps markets, which would benefit from increased content delivery speeds and enhanced app performance. This represents a mobile economy of $300 billion in 2015, growing at over 30% CAGR.

Twin Prime came out of stealth mode in March 2015 when they announced a $9.5M Series A funding round from top-tier venture firms including DFJ and True Ventures. They plan to use the funds to accelerate their product development, marketing, and sales efforts. They are currently generating revenue, with many customers in different stages of the sales funnel.

Twin Prime says they have been extremely vigilant with their hiring policy — “Never compromise, and only hire the best”. They now have over 20 employees and each member of the team brings a deep set of experiences in mobile, networking, and SaaS technologies, with most having experience in early stage startups. Some key examples include their head of product who was the first product manager at Appcelerator and helped Adobe Systems move into the SaaS space, their director of sales who was the first rep at Riverbed Technology, and their head of marketing who launched the first Android phone.

Over the next twelve months, Twin Prime plans to go live with more customers across multiple geographies, generate more case studies with these customers, and more importantly, educate the market about fast mobile apps and the positive effect they have on user engagement, conversion, and ultimately revenue. At some point, they say they will look at additional financing opportunities to further capitalize on the growth in the mobile acceleration market. They say they are focused on solving the mobile performance problem rather than on an exit strategy.

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar 2015

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