All things mobile have been a huge headline grabber as of late. Mobile payments will total $670 billion by 2015, mobile ads are on track to become a $4 billion industry by 2015, and PayPal projects that it will process roughly $3 billion in mobile payments in 2011. So it makes sense that mobile companies—particularly mobile payments and mobile ad companies—are coming out with their own funding announcements. On Thursday, mobile payments company Zong was acquired by eBay, and today, mobile advertising company Kickanotch Mobile announced its $500K seed round led by six angel investors.
Kickanotch isn’t your average Silicon Valley startup. Based out of Roeland Park, Kansas, the company originally got its start as Scanlutions in early 2010, at which time it offered mobile marketing solutions for text messaging and QR codes. But the company gradually evolved as founder Andy Lynn saw the value in offering clients a wider range of functionality—specifically when it came to monetization.
“At the end of the year I don’t want to be an ad spend, I want to make a company money,” said Lynn. “Why not forego the upfront profit, go into it as a partnership, and create longer term revenue so everyone has a great upside potential?”
And that is where Kickanotch differs from other players in the mobile marketing industry. Monetization is key. The company doesn’t just help businesses get mobile, but helps them implement sales and marketing strategies. “It allows all of our media clients create their own little ad networks,” explained Lynn.
The company allows media and corporations to design their own applications and features, including their own mobile ads, daily deal alerts, social media integration, access to content, QR code technologies, banner advertising management, CPC/CPM analytics tracking, and lead generation.
And the company’s strategy appears to be working. Since Q4 2010, Kickanotch has grown more than 850% and has signed more than 50 clients, including Firefly, the Kansas City Business Journal, Harrahs Casino and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and more.
“The paradigm has shifted,” said Lynn. “More people are accessing the internet and content on a mobile device than a pc and desktop, within two years that’s all it’s going to be.”
The company plans to use the new funds to develop its technology, add more features, and hire more staff.