A tech startup in downtown Oakland, a few floors above the Oakland Tribune, hopes to provide tools that can accelerate how other startups develop their audiences.
Lei Sun, the founder and CEO of Yozio, explained that, “Yozio is a platform for quickly optimizing mobile apps.” He added, “We help apps grow… we don’t do apps directly.”
Sun met recently with Live Work Oakland at his favorite downtown coffee shop, Mi Tierra, at Broadway and 19th Street. He moved his business to Oakland last September and is happy he did. “My co-founder and I found out what the rent prices were here and we said, Wow! “.
Sun, who has worked on the Yahoo
Front Page team and Netflix
, was previously offered jobs as co-founder or CTO at many startups. He soon realized there were common problems developing customers at each of the startups he interviewed at and that led to the development of Yozio.
“They had to hire people like me to help with the site optimization,” Sun explained. He and his friends met and realized that this was “…not so different from what we had been doing at Yahoo …a scientific optimization process.”
Yozio provides tools that gives mobile apps a boost in their marketing cycle and with far less trial and error. “We are productizing the best growth practices… and making it available to all mobile developers,” Sun added. “With Yozio, we use predictive modeling and you can directly optimize based on our recommendations. We also have tools to help track user activations for mobile apps.”
Building this for a new company, Sun explained, ” …could cost you many times as much in effort. Using Yozio, (our customer) Pinterest
was able to double their daily iPhone app downloads in 30 days for one important customer channel.” Sun said the cost of customer acquisition at another company was cut to less than half using Yozio.
“The technologies and process we’ve built were very powerful. they allowed us to understand our users, and how their demographics and behaviors affects our business on a whole new level. Unlike traditional A/B testing, with these tools we have a very good idea of which hypotheses would yield the highest potential ROI. We are able to dynamically personalize user experience, ask much better questions, prioritize better, and get results in way fewer iteration cycles.”, said Sun.
“It’s even more important to have these tools for mobile apps”, Sun told LWOAK, “as your release cycle now involves the app store submission and approval process, and it takes time for your users to update the app on their mobile phone. You no longer have the ability to release code 30 times a day, and it’s vital to have dynamic personalization, user insight and predictive capabilities.”
Nick Greenfield, VP of Marketing and Growth @ Washio
Yozio is also used by mobile startup Washio which wants to make its on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning service ubiquitous in cities across the U.S. Now available in San Francisco and Los Angeles, they are hoping to expand aggressively into the East Bay and other cities.
Nick Greenfield, who is the VP of Marketing & Growth at Washio, looks to Yozio to gain insight into what referral tactics actually bring in customers and create loyalty. Using Yozio helps him understand what key user behavior signals are correlated to “converting” customers.
“Lei and company are constantly iterating on their product, so what you see today won’t even come close to matching what they’ll have tomorrow..”
Heart of the East Bay
Sun and his partners moved to Oakland in Sept 2013 and fell in love with the city. “I find the streets are cleaner and less congested [than in SF] and people here are really nice. And we couldn’t even rent a little room in SF for what we spend on 3 rooms here …”
He would encourage other startup companies to come to Oakland. “There is a big stigma around Oakland that is just not true,” he said. ” Oakland is in the heart of the East Bay, and its very easy to get from other cities. You can find Afghani and Turkish food as well as Chinese and Japanese food in walking distance…. Its amazing!”