Mobile ad/reward network Kiip announced Tuesday that it has raised $11 million in a Series B round of funding led by Relay Ventures, with help from existing investors Hummer Winblad and True Ventures. The company, founded by 21-year-old Brian Wong, raised $4 million in a Series A round last year, bringing Kiip’s total to $15.3 million.
Just a little over one year old, Kiip has had an interesting progression so far. Launched as a mobile gaming ad network, the company made a name for itself by strategically offering gamers branded rewards right at the moment of achievement—when the user makes it to the next level or trounces her opponent. The rewards, averaging $5 in value, are fairly simple—things like a $5 gift card to American Apparel or a sample from Bath & Body Works.
Since then, Kiip has opened up its network to developers who have experimented with applying the mobile rewards system to other apps, such as fitness apps, education apps, content apps, social apps, and more.
That expansion is what Brian says the new capital will be used to fuel.
“We want to go beyond games to reward everyday life,” he said in an interview.
Today, there are over 400 developers and 40 brands in the Kiip network. Brands include Popchips, PepsiCo, Dr Pepper, Disney, Best Buy, and more. The network is now reaching 40 million users a month and is rewarding over 100 million “moments of happiness” a month.
The company also says that first-time users have an initial engagement rate of 18-22%, which grows to 50% for returning users. Brian explains the engagement rate as more than just click-through rate, but rather when a user actually decides to accept the rewards and submits his or her email address.
The new funds will also be used to support the launch of Kiip’s new mobile rewards “wallet,” Kiipsake. The “wallet”—an app that will allow Kiip users to store their rewards while exploring other Kiip-enabled apps—will launch July 24.
“We focused a lot on developers and brands, but we really never did anything that lets people know what Kiip is before they play the game,” said Brian. “That’s why we raised this money.”
Several other in-app advertising models have been getting some attention as of late, including Vungle, the in-app video ad company, which raised $2 million in a seed round last May, and LifeStreet Media, which raised $66 million in May as well.
Kiip launched a new campaign product called Swarm in December as a more upscale, high-stakes version of what it already offers.
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