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Embrace, which has a suite of tools to enable mobile developers to build better games and apps, has raised $20 million in funding.
Based in Culver City, California, the company was started by CEO Eric Futoran, who was previously one of the cofounders of Scopely, which Savvy Gaming Group bought for $4.9 billion this year.
NEA led the round with participation from Greycroft, AV8 (Allianz), and Eniac. The funding will be used to drive continued product innovation to help mobile teams build the best experiences, said Futoran in an interview with GamesBeat. The funding was an “up” round.
Embrace is focused on the “builders” of mobile experiences. It offers mobile teams, especially their engineers, insight into all the variables, across hardware, software, networks, and UX, that shape each and every end-user’s mobile experiences, empowering them to identify and prioritize the user impact of any issue.
“We help mobile engineers build better experiences. So the vision hasn’t changed,” Futoran said. “There are too many tool sets that need a common language, a common solution. So that’s what we are with our whole experience engineering solution.”
Giving engineers insights
When Embrace started, it focused on core problems, like giving engineers the ability to replicate bugs and see exactly the point where an app or game failed or otherwise quit. Now it has expanded to include all of the things that a developer needs to improve and ship a game more easily.
Embrace gives mobile teams, especially their engineers, a unique insight into all the variables, across hardware, software, networks and UX, that shape each and every end-user’s mobile experiences. This
level of insight empowers teams to identify and prioritize the user impact of any issue; this level of detail empowers engineers to instantly resolve issues; this level of understanding shifts a team’s focus from reactive bug solving to surfacing the highest ROI opportunities to improve performance.
“Sitting at the intersection of mobile technology and pop culture, Cameo must consistently move at lightning speed,” said Dom Scandinaro, senior vice president of engineering & data at Cameo, in a statement. “Embrace has fundamentally changed how we manage our mobile app so we can quickly identify issues and in turn continue to create flawless, personalized fan experiences.”
The company had similar praises from Chris To, vice president of technology at GOAT. He said his company remained 99.99% crash-free during a record traffic period.
And Chris Lavender, vice president of software engineering at Hatch, said in a statement, “Embrace helps our team ensure that our app experience is as simple and soothing as our real-world products. As a company dedicated to rest and wellbeing, it’s crucial that the mobile experience we provide is smooth,
calming, and easily connects users to their dream machine devices. Embrace gives us the insights and confidence to continually deliver on this promise.”
Futoran was a cofounder at Scopely in 2011. At Scopely, Futoran handled a lot of internal functions while cofounder Walter Driver, now co-CEO, handled a lot of external matters. Futoran left about six years ago, and one of the things he did was sign a licensing deal with Hasbro on the Monopoly property. The game launched recently after six years of work.
While at Scopely, Futoran felt like mobile gaming was in its early innings. Games would break, and it was no surprise when teams were working with many different datasets with no unified language for the entire team. So at Embrace, he set out to build that, starting at the end of 2016.
The lack of cohesion across the industry was the “perfect condition to build my company,” he said.
There are tools for crash reporting, but there wasn’t a whole chain of tools to help larger engineering teams. The tools emerged in pieces. This is true across mobile games and other devices like point-of-sale screens at Taco Bell.
“If you don’t have the rest of the picture if you don’t have all that data, you can’t proactively identify where user experiences break down,” Futoran said.
Embrace has doubled its employee headcount in 18 months. Besides Culver City, the company has additional offices in Palo Alto, Buenos Aires and London. It has about 115 people.
The company recently added Andrew Tunall as vice president and head of product. He previously was vice president of product at New Relic, where he led observability.
“A lot of monitoring and observability tools are fire alarms and insurance. They tell you when things are on fire, and engineers hope they don’t have to use them. We see adoption of Embrace by mobile engineers is around eight times that of tools built for Ops,” said Tunall, in a statement. “This means your engineers are more proactive in discovering user-impacting issues before bad app store reviews or support emails get sent, and you create a culture of building for user delight rather than fire-fighting.”
The company has grown its customer base by 130% from a year ago and counts as its customers The New York Times, Yum Brands, Discover, Marriott, Yahoo and other premier brands as clients.
“Embrace has an impressive client roster, including companies like Discover, Marriott, and the New York Times, reflecting how invaluable they’ve become for the mobile success of the biggest brands in the world,” said Aaron Jacobson, partner at NEA, in a statement. “Usage of mobile apps is growing rapidly, and a massive part of the market segment is still operating on legacy tools. There’s a huge gap between what providers in the observability space are delivering, and what mobile engineers want and need to really delight their users.”
The company noted that consumers spent a record $33.9 billion on purchases in mobile apps in Q1 2023 alone. Beyond mobile apps, a massive amount of spend now occurs on point-of-sale systems (tablets), workforce productivity devices, automotive telemetry and infotainment, and more.
Anuj Jaiswal also joined Embrace as vice president of R&D. Previously at VMware via the acquisition of Arkin, he drove the business line to 150% year-over-year revenue growth. With two decades of leading R&D teams, Jaiswal brings focus on growth, product design, and engineering excellence.
Embrace also added Dan Wright, previously COO of AppDynamics and CEO of DataRobot, as the newest member of its board of directors. Wright brings a unique combination of AI and APM expertise to augment Embrace’s strategic plans to continue to grow into the mission-critical toolset for the entire mobile team.
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