GamesBeat

Tapjoy raises $30M for mobile app marketing business

Tapjoy has raised $30 million in a new round of funding for its app marketing and monetization business.

The company raised the money in a round led by J.P. Morgan, and which includes all existing investors. Mihir Shah, chief executive of the company, said that the company has a profitable business but it wants to ratchet up its investment on a variety of levels. The large amount of money invested in a mobile game monetization company suggests that the mobile game market is hotter than ever, compared to other categories of investment such as social, which is becoming more mature.

Tapjoy helps developers promote and distribute mobile software, in part by offering customers incentives for installing certain apps. The company suffered a well-publicized hiccup when Apple cut off one of its lucrative businesses, banning the practice of marketing apps through a pay-per-install process. Apple viewed the pay-per-install business as tantamount to developers buying their way onto Apple’s top 25 rankings of the best apps, since developers used Tapjoy to offer incentives for users to install other apps. Many developers have complained that the ban on incentive-marketing tactics has hurt their ability to launch successful apps.

In spite of Apple’s ban, however, Tapjoy has a strong business across a portfolio of businesses that market apps on mobile platforms and the web, Shah said. Besides Apple, Tapjoy has invested heavily in the Android, Windows Phone 7 and HTML5 markets, Shah said.

The fourth round of funding comes after Tapjoy raised $21 million in January. To date, Tapjoy, which combined with Offerpal last year, has raised $51 million and the combined entity has raised $71 million since 2007.

“We have been executing well in a market with lots of headroom,” Shah said. “It’s a growth round for us to let us step on the gas.”

Shah confirmed that Apple has not relented on the policy of banning pay-per-install marketing in apps on the App Store. Shah said the company has around 70 employees and hopes to double the size of the team this year. Shah said the round was oversubscribed but he declined to say the valuation. Tapjoy has 10,000 app developers with about 20 million to 30 million unique mobile users a day.

As for developers who once got a lot of installs from the pay-per-install practice, Shah said, “developers are now throwing a lot of spaghetti against the wall. It’s unfortunate for the developer community and more so for the user community.” Android, Shah said, has no such ban.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. Our sponsors include Qualcomm, Flurry, Greystripe, Nexage, Tapjoy, Fun Mobility, TriNet, Zong, Sibblingz, Open Feint, Spil Games and WildTangent.


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