Kiip Raises $11 Million for Mobile Rewards Platform

By Devon Glenn 

Kiip has raised $11 million in Series B funding from Relay Ventures, with participation from previous investors Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and True Ventures. The news was “exciting for maybe 5 minutes,” said Kiip founder Brian Wong, but now he has work to do. Going forward, the entrepreneur will need to “stock up on amazing talent” and increase marketing efforts in order to establish the mobile rewards platform as a consumer brand.

Kiip pairs advertisers with developers to reward players for their achievements. The app started out with games and has expanded into other verticals. With fitness apps like LoloFit, MapMyRUN, and Nexercise, for instance, people can earn tangible rewards like bottles of water for running a certain number of miles.

While not everyone chooses to redeem the rewards, Wong said the redemption rate for first-timers is between 18 and 22 percent. Once the users cash in that first reward, the redemption rate goes up to 50 percent. “When people have a chance to experience Kiip,” Wong said, “they trust it.”

Wong had said in a previous interview that customers were keeping their own lists of Kiip-enabled apps, which he attributed to the abundance of “scammy” rewards in the mobile space that didn’t work as advertised. The entrepreneur started working to establish Kiip as a consumer-facing rewards system rather than a white label product.

With the additional funds, Kiip will be able to release a new app called “Kiipsake” that does just that.  A preview on the company’s website shows what the app will look like when it’s released later this month.

From there, Wong said the company will continue to move the platform beyond games to reward other “moments” as well. “On your phone, you do many things,” he explained, like reading magazines, finding recipes, and checking items off your to-do list. “These things all add up to moments.”

Wong made headlines in 2010 when, at the age of 19, he raised $300,000 in funding for his mobile advertising startup from True Ventures and other angel investors. In April 2011, Kiip raised another $4 million in a funding round led by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.

Wong said Relay Ventures has “new way of disrupting business models” that will fit right in with the company’s vision. Kevin Talbot, managing director at Relay Ventures, will also join Kiip’s board of directors.