Manny Anekal Jumps to MediaSpike

Gaming vet departs Kiip after a year

Manny Anekal has been named the chief revenue officer for MediaSpike, a startup focused on mobile in-game advertising.

Anekal is one of the most seasoned veterans in the still-nascent world of inserting brands into video games, whether on consoles, the Web, on social networks or on mobile devices. Most recently, Anekal was COO of Kiip, one of a handful of startups looking to bring a rewards-based ad model to mobile games.

Previously, Anekal helped usher Zynga into the in-game ad business during its brief heyday. Anekal spearheaded deals that saw brands such as McDonalds and Farmers Insurance weave their way into games like FarmVille. Prior to Zynga, Anekal logged time at Massive Inc., an in-game advertising pioneer that was eventually acquired and then shuttered by Massive.

MediaSpike, backed by Google Ventures, aims to make the practice of inserting brand images into games less custom and more scalable. For example, the company recently weaved Pepsi vending machines into the virtual world Gaia. According to Anekal, companies like Gaia can use MediaSpike's technology to swap out such creative with ease so that a Pepsi vending machine can morph dynamically, much like a display ad.

"Once they tag objects in a game, that's all they need to do," said Anekal. "It could be Pepsi one day, Doritios one day, The Hunger Games another. And there's no coding and no analytics. Before, this process involved a lot of heavy lifing. This is scalable."

Currently, MediaSpike is focusing on mid-tier and long-tail mobile games. "But we're talking to all the big players," said Anekal.