Investors Vote with Their Wallets for Messaging App Startups

September 21, 2016 - 2 minutes read

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Messaging was a theme for the past three years of mobile app development, even before bots came into the picture. While SMS has long been scheduled to go the way of the dinosaurs, the ecosystem has gotten more complex rather than more streamlined. Between Slack, Messenger, Google Hangouts, and dozens more, group messaging is one of the stickiest problems in mobile communication. Can app developers solve this problem, without throwing more fuel onto the fire? According to venture capital trends, the answer is a firm “yes.”

This past week, a startup called Mobilize raised an encouraging $6.5 million from a variety of VC firms and angel investors. Mobilize’s goal is slightly different from other mobile communication startups that have popped up in the past year, and probably a sign of what’s at stake for newer startups in the field. Rather than trying to be the next Messenger or Slack, Mobilize aims to act as an organizer and catch-all communications app. You can think of it as a rol-a-dex with superpowers. Many of the features bleed over into the realm of relationship manager tools like HelpScout, but with more of an open-ended use case.

Mobilize, and the money venture capitalists are willing to put behind it, is exciting to New York City app developers for several reasons. First, because it shows that there’s room in the messaging ecosystem for “umbrella” apps that connect similar services. Second, it shows that investors are prepared to back mobile app developers entering the field, crowded though it may be.

Whoever untangles the messy problem of mobile messaging is sure to find big rewards. Keeping track of ten different messaging platforms creates enormous friction. Solutions to that friction will be welcome from developers, users, and teams alike.

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