Where it's based: San Francisco
When it was founded: 2013
Why it's Fierce: At first glance it appears to be a relatively simple technology--but what URX really believes it is doing is helping people find what they're looking for in the new mobile app world.
"A lot of the core functionality of the Web didn't translate" into the mobile world, explained John Milinovich, co-founder and CEO of URX. Specifically, the ability to create a link from one location to another--a function handled by URLs on the Web today--isn't readily available in the mobile app industry. While a link to the location of an app in an app store is relatively easy to come by, a link to the data inside a mobile app is another story. "Links just don't work the way that you would expect them to on your devices," Milinovich said.
It's that problem that's driving URX.
URX is one of a small but growing number of companies pushing the concept of "deep linking" inside mobile apps. As Milinovich explains, if a smartphone user clicks on a link inside a LinkedIn email for a particular person or topic, that link often sends the user into the main screen of the LinkedIn app--not to the location the user actually wanted to go. The result is frustration at the gulf between the Web world and the mobile world. But, by applying URX's solution (which is just adding "urx.io/" to the beginning of a link along with a similarly coded destination) a Web link can take a user directly to a specific location inside an app.
URX is backed by $15.1 million in funding from a range of luminaries in the venture capital space including Google Ventures and Accel Partners. The company is working with Spotify, HotelTonight and other customers to get its deep linking technology accepted by a wide range of mobile app providers. URX's basic technology is free to use, but the company charges for premium services and for pre-determined traffic volumes to its links (prices that are custom to each customer). "We want everybody to be using this," Milinovich said.
What's next: Milinovich said that URX is currently working to educate the market about how its technology can help both users and mobile app companies. And Milinovich hinted that the urx.io/ deep links currently sold through URX are just the first step in the company's efforts to make the mobile space more interconnected--like the Internet.