Connecting the mobile app ecosystem with Branch founder Mada Seghete
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Connecting the mobile app ecosystem with Branch founder Mada Seghete

Over the next several weeks, we will continue sharing our series of conversations with founders and technologists at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. To hear more, subscribe to all those conversations on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify, or via RSS on your podcast app of choice.

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The next iteration of the Internet is about creating more seamless connections as users move between devices and channels, and fast-growing startup Branch is right in the middle of the action. With that in mind, we spoke with Mada Seghete, founder of Branch and head of strategy and market development, during the Web Summit conference in Lisbon.

Mada started Branch as an answer to the challenges companies face in tracking their customers’ mobile journeys. To do so, the startup provides a mobile measurement and deep-linking platform for app developers.

During this episode of the What’s NEXT podcast, Samsung NEXT’s Tracy Hinds speaks with Mada about how Branch helps companies track their customers, her inspiration for the business, and how she wants to help other founders overcome their challenges.

Connecting a fragmented mobile world
Branch is a mobile-linking platform that helps connect and measure user experiences across devices and platforms. The end goal is to create more engaged users for Branch’s customers.

“We think of ourselves as a mobile growth platform,” Mada says. “We help take your users to the right place. And because you can do that, we help you build a lot of growth, campaigns, and growth features in your app.”

Mada points to Airbnb as one example of how companies use Branch. Before adopting the platform, Airbnb couldn’t necessarily determine the type of device its customers were using to search for and share listings, whether they even have the company’s app, or how they arrived at the content.

Branch helps identify users so that an Airbnb serves up the right content at the right time. Moreover, the technology enables companies to track an individual’s journey from email, social, or shared link to the website or app — regardless of the type of device they’re using.

Integrating customer data
The fragmentation of customer experiences can frustrate users and businesses alike. “It’s an industry problem because every single app creates their own browser,” Mada said. The browsers don’t connect with each other, so companies can’t track the same user across channels and devices.

Mada experienced this fragmentation problem first-hand when she was running her first startup, a photo book-printing app called Kindred. The company had two key customer markets — teenagers and moms — that were very different from each other. But when someone came to Kindred from a mobile ad, there was no way to know if they were a mom or teenager.

Mada and her Kindred co-founders began looking for solutions and realized that connecting and tracking mobile users was a bigger problem to solve. “I think what gave us a competitive advantage in the early days (of Branch) was the fact that we had lived the problem,” she says.

Maintaining culture
Branch is now a fast-growing startup with more than 400 employees. When Mada thinks about what defines success for the startup, she believes it’s ultimately making the mobile ecosystem easier for brands and users.

Mada is also focused on developing new markets for Branch and maintaining a cohesive culture across the company’s multiple locations and growing employee base.

Looking ahead, Mada wants to help other founders better navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship. “People talk so much about fundraising and less about depression and loneliness and the things you end up going through as a founder,” she says

Mada says some of big challenges faced by startup companies. These include everything from competitive pressure to stakeholder egos, which can cause stress for entrepreneurs.

By dealing with issues head-on, Mada believes that founders will be better prepared to handle some of the stressful surprises that are part of the startup life. “And eventually you’ll able to … smash them,” she says.

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