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Swrve's New CEO: Christopher Dean, Former Skype and Urban Airship Exec

The mobile testing firm wants more non-gaming clients.

Courtesy Swrve

Mobile testing company Swrve said today that it had appointed a new CEO, Christopher Dean, who until recently was the chief revenue officer at push notification marketing firm Urban Airship; before joining Urban Airship in early 2012 he spent three years at Skype.

Swrve’s current CEO, co-founder Hugh Reynolds, will become chief strategy officer, focusing on relations with some of the company’s top customers. In his new role, Dean is tasked with broadening Swrve’s horizons beyond gaming, where at least 90 percent of its clientele is now.

Swrve’s pitch to those customers is that by not testing what works and what doesn’t in an app, and by not targeting specific groups of users with the right type of notifications, they are leaving engagement (and money) on the table. For instance, back in April the company released a study that found 66 percent of mobile games players quit after the first 24 hours, which it claimed was linked to poor optimization.

In an interview with Re/code, Dean stressed that a non-gaming initiative does not mean backing off of gaming. Swrve first began exploring how to apply its knowledge of mobile games usage to other verticals about six months ago, Reynolds added.

“Urban Airship has a chunk of its business in the gaming space,” Dean said. “There are different behaviors of users, but some consistency across verticals: How many users opt in to notifications, how many react, how many allow you to track their location.”

He also pointed out that the gaming world may be more “sophisticated” than other segments of the mobile market. Although some businesses, like Uber, are savvy mobile-first operations, others — like the mobile efforts of brick and mortar retailers — may be less open to adopting marketing technology, he said.

To that end, one of his main goals will be making Swrve’s tools easier to use for less savvy mobile marketing managers, and reassuring them that the back-end “is not going to melt.” Currently, the company handles 100 million monthly active users and three billion “events” — data points like notifications and in-app item sales — per day.

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