21-year-old Kiip CEO, Brian Wong, raised $11 million funding for his mobile game and app ad network, this summer.What he didn’t tell everyone was that one of the major backers — and now partners — was Digital Garage, the Japanese tech company responsible for bringing Twitter to Japan.
Kiip, which works with huge clients including Pepsi and Disney, aims to give ads a makeover by transforming them into “rewards” that users can claim during natural pauses in an app. (Like when they beat a level in a game or have finished reading an article). This partnership with Digital Garage means that Kiip will launch in Japan as early as the beginning of 2013.
“It seemed like a natural fit,” Wong told Business Insider. “Culturally, people in Japan understand what advertising looks like on phones, and gaming is a key part of how they use their phones. Digital Garage obviously rose to the top really quickly based on how they helped Twitter rise in Japan.”
Although the U.S. is anticipated to spend the most on mobile advertising this year, Japan previously held that title.
Digital Garage, which also recently invested in Path, helped Wong understand the unique opportunities in the mobile-centric Japanese market. Digital Garage was also key in identifying potential competitors for Kiip, and provided a credible and trustworthy name that would bring Wong’s company into the landscape.
“We already have traffic around the world,” Wong said. So new international opportunities, “it’s like found money for us.”
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