72 Hours in Barcelona: Mobile World Congress 2015

Just a week has passed since Mobile World Congress, but here at Branch, we are still buzzing with excitement from our trip to Barcelona.

For us, 2015 has been largely characterized by a wild start — we raised our Series A, onboarded some amazing apps, and hosted interesting dialogues with industry leaders. One narrative, from yours truly, takes you through the adventure, first hand, and breaks down the tips you need to win at Mobile World Congress. However, from a company perspective, it’s important to reiterate some of the things that were reinforced by the conference. At Branch we found:

1.) It’s about the people.
2.) We love our community.
3.) For us, the developer experience is everything.

Let’s Start With the People

One of the best things about Mobile World Congress was the people. My role model in life always said that, “People are at the heart of everything great.” This couldn’t have been more true of the developers and partners we engaged with at MWC.

Everywhere we turned we found business executives, entrepreneurs, teachers, students, analysts and everyone in between. These individuals shared compelling stories about their own professional experiences and about the mobile ecosystem. Many came from long careers and far away places. They shared not only their personal interests in MWC, and their insights into the industry’s evolution, but they also simply talked to us about their lives.

Derrick Staten
We found great people everywhere we turned. Here, my colleague, Derrick Staten, finds a new friend in the moments after a quick coffee break. It was amazing to talk about Branch and deep linking with so many interested developers.

For an event that is largely regarded as just a mobile tech summit, it was interesting that the personal narratives of those we met, and not the exalted innovations of 2015, left the largest impression.

New Partners & a Great App Developer Community

It should also not come as a surprise that together great people create even greater communities. At MWC 2015 we had the privilege of connecting with some amazing new partners and apps which will only help strengthen our community. There are too many to acknowledge here, but here are two of our favorites.

Application Developers Alliance

Mike from the Application Developers Alliance was the first one to shake our hands and congratulate us after we won the mobile startup competition . But after a few minutes of talking we realized that we should really be congratulating him and the entire Alliance team for fostering such a genuinely impactful organization focused on developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

You see, the Application Developers Alliance is both developer-centric and innovation-focused. Through education and public service their team works to support developers in a variety of ways, and to foster relationships between thousands of people at a wide variety of companies including mobile app publishers, platforms, wireless carriers, hardware manufacturers, ad networks, enterprise tools and service providers.

Application Developers Alliance
The Application Developers Alliance takes the crown when it comes to our favorite parnters making impact in the mobile ecosystem.

It wasn’t until I returned home to the San Francisco and was able to dive deeper into their content that I truly realized what an incredible mission they are serving. They have amassed the single best source of app edification tools that exists. Through highly curated content in across publications, blogs, videos, Github repositories, and podcasts, the Alliance has given millions of people around the world access to the tools they need to press the boundaries of the mobile ecosystem. And in a world where birth is often the deciding factor in one’s education, providing these tools really makes the difference.


You could see the App Lift crew from across the Hall at MWC. Adorning bright orange hoodies, they stood out from the other partners like glowing sunkist Fantas — we were in Europe after all. It wasn’t just their colors that caught our attention, either. App Lift is a mobile-game marketing startup out of Berlin that empowers app advertisers to acquire and re-engage the best quality users at scale. In just a year after launching, they have more than 100 mega-title publishers such as King, Wooga, and Kabam.

App Lift
The App Lift team impressed us on and off the dance-floor. By day, at MWC, they spoke eloquently of their focus on the developer and their customers. By night, they teamed up with Yahoo!, Amazon and Open X to deliver an unforgettable experience.

We were lucky enough to meet many of the App Lift team at their co-sponsored after-party with Yahoo! and the thing that struck us the most was their focus on their customers. It came across in every conversation: they inherently care about making sure they are delivering the best quality users. It’s rare to find such a combination of focused priorities among young startups. They are also truly experts in their field and have some of the best mobile marketing trends takeaways from MWC 2015.

The Developer Experience Matters

The interactions we had at MWC also helped us reconfirm our deep love of the developer experience. The reality is that many companies go to MWC hoping to “sell” their product (Is hardcore selling even right anymore?!). The goal seems obvious…to maximize the number of business cards collected, hands shaken, and deals closed.

While part of our goal was certainly to productively engage with business partners, we found the most rewarding aspect of MWC was sharing great developer experiences with those we met.

To us, the Developer Experience represents the process by which we serve developers. At a high level, we want to make sure our product is delivering its core purpose. We want our links to generate flawlessy, our features to address needs pre-emptively, and our API calls to act intuitively. We are also determined to have some of the most beautiful, fluid documentation on deeplinking that exist.

But fundamentally, caring about the developer experience goes beyond just making things easier for developers — it’s empowering them to be more successful. It’s about truly empathizing with those we serve, it’s about understanding developer pain points, suffering in the trenches with them, and doing everything we possibly can to make sure our product makes their lives easier.

And at Branch the developer experience extends one bit further – we know it’s about sharing a product that just works – no frills, no excuses, no exceptions.

Ultimately, it’s the throughline of this mantra — caring about developers — that we admired so much in App Lift and the Application Developers Alliance . And it’s what drove us forward at MWC in 2015 and will continue to do so in the years to come.

Moving Past Barcelona

In closing, MWC 2015 represented one of the most exciting inflection points of the last few months at Branch. As I explain in my adventure log, we learned to be scrappy, and we found some amazing partners who are similarly focused on building an outstanding community and who are passionate about developers. So, in the end maybe we found a new mantra in Barcelona… “Dedicated developers & thriving communities are at the heart of everything great.”