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Breakout Companies MEMO #6- OneSignal

Ankit Kumar Singh
Aug 16, 2019 · 6 min read

“If you join a company, my general advice is to join a company on a breakout trajectory.” — Sam Altman, President at Y Combinator

In this sixth edition of Breakout Jobs, we are profiling OneSignal, the market leader Push Notification Solutions for mobile applications and websites.

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What is a Breakout Job?

A Breakout Job is that one role that helps you get discovered. The best examples which hit my mind are Andrew Chen at Uber and Erik Torenberg at Product Hunt.

What is OneSignal?

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OneSignal makes it easy for developers to add personalized mobile push notifications or web push notifications to their apps.

Motivation

The company started out as a Y Combinator-backed mobile developer called Hiptic Games. It was as a game developer that they first became frustrated with existing push notification tools — so Hiptic built its own system, which eventually became the company’s main focus.

The company started with a plan where developers won’t have to pay anything until they’re delivering notifications to 8 million devices.

Funding

  1. OneSignal has raised a total of $34M in funding over 3 rounds.
  2. The company previously started as a startup building games and graduated out of YC 2011 batch.
  3. OneSignal then made a pivot to Push Notifications and raised $7M in Series A led by SignalFire.
  4. Last month, the company raised its most recent round of $25M to further boost its growth.

Further Funding Risk

The company has grown strength to strength since its Pivot and given the momentum it carries right now especially in the growth period the company is going through right now.

Taking these factors into consideration, getting further funding doesn’t seem to be an issue.

The Team

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Source

Leadership

  1. George Deglin: Co-founder and CEO at OneSignal. Previously co-founder and CTO at Uversity. Studied at UC Berkeley.
  2. Long Vo: Co-Founder and COO. Previously founder of Gaia Interactive; Studied at UC Berkeley.
  3. Joe Wilm: CTO at OneSignal. Previously Senior Software Engineer at Weeby.co, Software Engineer at Lockheed Martin.
  4. Josh Wetzel: CRO at OneSignal, Previously, Sr. Director of Sales and Marketing at eBay, EVP at Bazaarvoice; Director of BD at CBSi.
  5. Zack Hendlin: Leads Product at OneSignal. Previously PM at Facebook; Senior PM at LinkedIn. Graduate of UC Berkeley & MIT.
  6. Lydia Fayal: Leads Business Development & Marketing. Previously founder and CEO at AdmitSee, CMO at Schoold. Graduate of Johns Hopkins & UPenn.
  7. Jonathan Tillingston: Leads Finance. Previously VP of Finance at Kahuna; Founder and President of Executive Outcome.
  8. Lee Munroe: Leads Design at OneSignal. First Design Hire at Mailgun; Product Design Manager at Mesosphere.
  9. Matt Foley: Leads Field Sales at OneSignal. Previously VP of Sales at Origami Logic (now Intuit); Senior seller at Gigya & Sprinklr.
  10. Bryan Smith, VP of Engineering at OneSignal. Previously Senior Director of Engineering at Symphony.com

The company is very highly rated by its employees as an excellent place to work at.

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Source

Strengths

  1. Growth: OneSignal has grown rapidly after its launch as an intelligent push notification company and is currently used by over 700k Developers around the world. In fact, the company recently crossed a milestone by delivering more than 5 Billion Push Notifications in a day — a 67% increase from 3 Billion in a day in September 2018. [Source]

2. Market Dominance: OneSignal truly dominates the market for push notifications with more SDK integrations than all other push platforms combined.

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The product is used by 71% of all websites on the internet with web push notifications. (SOURCE: Builtwith)

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One other remarkable stat:

The product reaches 40% of all smartphone users in the world.

The company recently partnered with Microsoft to make it easy to get SQL-like analytics on notification performance, comprehensive views of customer paths through your app, and much more. This will allow Microsoft Visual Studio App developers to easily use OneSignal as a messaging solution across their digital consumer experiences.

Now with $25M in the bank and an exclusive partnership with Microsoft as their app center push provider, OneSignal will likely further increase its dominance.

Marquee Clients

The company hosts a number of marquee companies ranging from Product Hunt to Zynga to The Princeton Review who use its services.

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You can read all the Case Studies here:

Weaknesses

If we take company’s dominance into consideration, there’s nothing to worry about. However, one thing which we are seeing of late is how many people are getting tired of push notifications. OneSignal’s focus of sending “relevant” and “timely” notifications should help app developers overcome the noise, but at the end of the day, it’s up to app developers to implement these features.

Email platforms have had several notable exits, including the recent acquisition of Sendgrid by Twilio, which is valued at nearly $3B. As for push? It’s yet to be seen what the ultimate market value of OneSignal could be… We’re guessing big, but how big is the question?

Competitors

  1. Braze: Launched in 2011; raised $175M in funding; private
  2. Leanplum: Launched 2012; raised $98M in funding; private
  3. Airship: Launched 2009; raised $100M in funding; private

Notable Points

  1. Scale: One thing that is astounding is how so many people still don’t know about the OneSignal brand. The company serves more than 125M users daily — that is unheard of outside companies like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. We believe that OneSignal is an underrated company for this reason, which has strong potential to grow its public awareness.
  2. Focus on Developers: Similar to Stripe, OneSignal puts developers first. The company has focused on Developers from Day 1. This bottoms-up approach works very well in new markets.
  3. Product Releases: The rate at which OneSignal ships products is astounding — almost every month their newsletter features multiple product launches. They recently launched email and in-app messaging, to establish an omni-channel marketing platform.

The Spectrum

Thoughts of Prism Labs

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