Kiip is a mobile advertising network that enables brands and companies to prompt consumers for commercial offers on virtual achievements. Kiip was co-founded by Brian Wong, Courtney Guertin, and Amadeus Demarzi in 2010 and has received $15.4 million in total funding to date from Relay Ventures, Interpublic Group, Hummer Winblad, American Express Ventures, Digital Garage, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, CrossLink Capital, and others.
Wong received the initial inspiration for Kiip on an airplane as he observed his fellow passengers on their iPads. He noticed that many passengers were playing games, and felt that the games' advertisements took up screen space without adding any real value. Wong wanted to leverage key moments of achievement—such as level ups and high scores—with a targeted, relevant rewards program that enabled brands to reach consumers when they were most engaged.
In July 2010, Wong teamed with his fellow former Digg employees Courtney Guertin and their mutual friend Amadeus Demarzi to found Kiip. Kiip raised $300,000 in seed capital from True Ventures, Vast Ventures, Paige Craig, Rohan Oza, Keith Belling, Joe Stump, and Chris Redlitz. In subsequent A and B rounds, Kiip has raised a combined $15.4 million in from Relay Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Interpublic Group, American Express Ventures, Digital Garage, Crosslink Capital, True Ventures, Venture51, Transmedia Capital, Verizon Ventures, and others. At the age of 19, Wong became the second youngest company leader to ever receive funding from a venture capital firm. Nick D'Aloisio currently holds the title for youngest person to receive venture capital funding at the age of 15.
Kiip is currently active on more than 1,100 apps played on 75 million devices, sends out reward notices for over 500 million moments monthly, and gives out 11 rewards per second. The company has offices in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Vancouver, London, Bogota and Tokyo.
Kiip is increasingly expanding beyond mobile games into mobile fitness apps like MapMyRun, Nexercise, LoloFit, Gym-Pact and others. In August 2014, Kiip announced a partnership with RunKeeper to reward users' workouts with fitness-based, healthy rewards and sponsored song downloads. The company has also integrated with productivity apps, including Any.do and Finish 2.0. Kiip is also integrated with the Yahoo! Japan app, the first time Yahoo! Japan has integrated a third-party service into its app.
The company has established strategic partnerships with more than 115 major brands, including 7-Eleven, Amazon, American Apparel, Campbell’s, Ford, Hasbro, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods), Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Sony Music, Unilever, Verizon and Wrigley.
For two years running, Kiip has held the Build Fund, a contest for independent developers to receive $10,000 in cash and $5,000 in services from sponsors. Kiip received over 300 applications for the contest in 2013.
The company's platform integrates real-world rewards to mobile users on both iOS and Android. Instead of digital rewards, Kiip provides consumers with tangible rewards from premium brands and companies. As an example, a free bottle of Propel Fitness Water is offered by Pepsi inside the Nexercise and Sworkit apps for every eight miles run by a user.
The 'Achievement Moment'
Kiip’s rewards platforms is designed for in-game engagement, and allows brands and companies to reward a mobile gamer at the "achievement moment." Wong states that Kiip "baked into our model the ability for a brand to reciprocate in these 'moments' so that a consumer feels appreciated in that instance where they’ve actively accomplished something. Whether it be the 10-mile run they just tracked on Nexercise, or the 1-million-point high score they hit—the brand can participate in that 'moment' while enabling someone to choose to engage with them if they wish, but with a reward."
Kiip has been listed by Fast Company as one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world in 2013 and by Forbes as one of the 4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List. Kiip was also named to the Dow Jones' FasTech50 List