Emerge Tools raises $ 1.7 million to help make apps smaller

Apps tend to get bigger over time. Adding new features means adding more code, more third-party frames, and more assets like photos or videos. Resources such as fonts or support documents are duplicated and things slide through the construction process without the best optimization or compression.

Keeping apps small has benefits for users and developers, but it is not necessarily top-of-mind all the time. These are the kind of things that, depending on the size of a developer team and its priorities, can be forgotten until someone complains.

Emerge, a company out of YC’s W21 class, builds tools that help keep apps small – monitors build-to-build changes and recommends actions that can trim the required storage space.

Why keep apps small? There are a lot of reasons that Emerge co-founder Joshua Cohenzadeh points out. For example, make your iOS app too big and the App Store will suggest to your users that they wait until they are on WiFi – an opportunity for them all to lose interest (in a recent blog post, Uber said that the App Store size restrictions costs them up to 10% of the installations.) If you hope to build a worldwide user base, in the meantime, consider that many potential users may be on slower networks or pay in megabytes – so every byte counts. Plus, who has not tried to free up any space on their phone and thought “Wait, why the hell is [app x] takes up 400 MB? “

The new co-founders Josh Cohenzadeh and Noah Martin have been building things together since they were literally children. In high school, they built QuickRes, a menu bar tool for quickly changing the screen resolution on a Mac; over the years they would build a popular screenshot manager for Mac, a menu bar widget to control a Tesla and a now retired tool for A / B testing your Tinder images, as Cohenzadeh says got them on the wrong page of a cessation. -and withhold orders.

After college and stays with large companies, the two decided to stop doing what were arguably side projects (or, as Josh affectionately referred to them, “tiny little apps”) and go full time into building a startup. They set out to apply for the Y Combinator, and while brainstorming ideas, they came across research into how far users would go to transfer data in countries with limited mobile networks. This made them look at where apps were wasting data‚Ķ and the deeper they dug, the more they realized that app size was something that many teams – even within many large companies – did not consistently focus on.

“If you’re a small business, you do not have the resources to have your own performance team. You do not have the resources to do all this crazy optimization and stuff.” says Josh. “So the basis for Emerge was just … let’s standardize this.”

Emerge provides its insights in a few different ways. It can be connected to your team’s GitHub to mark app size changes as comments in each pull request; Emerge’s dashboard, meanwhile, gives you several different views of what takes up space in your app, and suggests ways to slim it down.

Emerge’s X-ray display. Image credit: Emerge

The “X-ray” view provides a quick overview of how much space is occupied by each frame or asset. If you only use one particular frame for one or two rarely used features, but it accounts for a fifth of your app’s size, is it worth it? It will also highlight files that managed to sneak into your build multiple times. “It is shocking how many companies have duplicate files, “says Josh.

The “Split” view divides it by category – how much of your app is the binary app itself, how much of it is assets like images or video, etc.

Emerge’s view of Insights. Image credit: Emerge

An “Insight” tab, meanwhile, offers the actions that can have the biggest impact on app size – such as removing binary symbols in a Swift binary, using a different image type for a given platform (such as HEIC instead of PNG on iOS). or figure out how to drop the aforementioned duplicate files.

Are you curious about what Emerge can find in your app? There is a catch: Your tools are not open to everyone yet. They currently work with each new company individually – because, as Josh tells me, most of the companies they work with require strict security reviews and legal agreements before giving tools like this any kind of access. Emerge plans to launch a “full self-service model” for smaller teams soon, he notes. Prices vary from company to company, based on criteria such as number of apps, number of builds, team size and which platforms they are built for. When it launched earlier this year, Emerge focused exclusively on iOS apps; last month, the team added support for Android apps.

Emerge recently closed a $ 1.7 million round – the first so far. Cohenzadeh tells me that the round was supported by Haystack, Matrix Partners, Y Combinator, Liquid2 Ventures and a handful of angel investors.

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