Hello Tello, Welcome Aboard

Today, we are extremely excited to announce that we have acquired Tello, Inc., which launched PassTools, a leading Apple® Passbook® management service that makes it easy for businesses to create and manage passes. The vision for this move is pretty much the same thing we’ve already done for push messaging—make passes easier for businesses to adopt and easier for consumers to use. Today, as the Tello team becomes Airshippers, we’ll embark on our next steps of creating the perfect pass—passes that offer enhanced functionality using everything we offer.

Acquisitions are hard, and we know that. Almost exactly a year ago, we acquired SimpleGeo to connect location with push messaging. We kept the SimpleGeo team, made their San Francisco home base our second office location, and then went on to launch a fully integrated solution that goes far beyond the current state of location-based marketing.

With Tello, we’re up-to-bat again with the same game plan, keeping the team and their Palo Alto office, and kicking-off our efforts to make Apple Passbook an even more amazing opportunity for businesses to engage mobile consumers. What is different, and what will make 2013 bigger and better than 2012, is that this acquisition lets us work with companies who want to dip their toes into the mobile waters but have not yet invested in building a mobile app.

The pace of mobile device adoption is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and by every measure—from media time spent to mobile influenced sales—if your business depends on customer relationships, mobile is where you need to be. Companies are waking up to this reality and the tidal wave of budget and investment is still taking shape.

Of course, where to begin the mobile journey is the first question all businesses face; and it’s not easily answered.

As a push messaging provider for mobile apps, our bias may suggest that it all starts with an app. The truth is that apps’ are closer to the pinnacle of mobile customer relationship efforts, given their rich interactivity, purpose-built value and ability to leverage location-based services and push messaging to reach out and tap consumers on the shoulder when and where it’s most important.

Building a world-class app can be expensive and take time, especially considering the variety of mobile platforms. Apps also require a deeper level of strategic thinking to ensure the app fills a customer need that will keep it on deck of today’s most competitive real estate—the smartphone screen. Clearly consumers dig apps, and the effort they require is balanced by the massive opportunity they unlock.

However, for those that are just beginning the mobile journey, it can be much easier to suggest that mobile optimized web sites are the first step. They enable a business to tap into local searches and meet consumers’ on-the-go needs, but the problem is that you’re then stuck with a transactional model with Google as the middleman versus a channel for two-way interaction.

We are impressed with the vision of Apple’s Passbook and think we can lend a significant hand in growing its impact. It has only taken a couple months for Passbook to gain significant adoption for a multitude of uses. We’d like to make it dead simple for any business to hop onboard, and be able to deliver living, breathing passes in the form of coupons, loyalty cards or event tickets onto smartphones. Passes enable virtually any business to easily get into the mobile game as they figure out their long-term play.

So checkout PassTools today and watch this space to see some exciting things coming soon. As we like to say, aboard the mobile Airship, you’d better be sure to buckle up as the ride is always exciting.

Welcome to the family, Tello team, investors and customers. It is going to be an exciting year together.