Deals

Kwarter capitalizes on rabid sports fans’ love of the game

Quarters are useful for making pay phone calls, buying a Reese’s Mini-Cup in a corner store, and for doing laundry. Kwarter is useful for sports brands and broadcasters that want to engage their viewers on mobile.

Kwarter closed its first round of funding, sealing the deal with $4 million. The platform offers tools for building customized mobile apps that create a more interactive relationship with the audience. Features include TV check-ins, discussion forums, complementary content, rewards, social gaming, social TV analytics, and ad-serving. Partners focus on the content and design, while Kwarter takes care of the technical side.

The first prototype app, FanCake, rolled out in 2011. FanCake is a live social game that rewards sports fans with tickets, gift cards, gear, and more for checking-in to a game and participating in challenges. Following that success, it launched that Social Dugout and Bud Light Sports Fan apps that are specifically designed for engaging professional baseball and football fans.

It is common for people to have their tablets or smartphones on hand while watching TV, and those trying to promote content on TV are interested in engaging the viewers on as many screens as possible.

“We’re interested in the problems facing television brands and broadcasters,” said cofounder and CEO Carlos Diaz. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the future of TV advertising and broadcast lies in this multiscreen experience—but the question is what experience makes sense. That answer depends a lot on the TV content and TV brand you’re talking about. Our platform is designed to be highly flexible, so that companies can create, publish, and manage interactive TV experiences that engage audiences for any type of programming.”

I generally try to avoid sports fans at all costs, being naturally indisposed to dislike contrasting color combinations, stale beer, and irrational yelling. That said, I have witnessed the significant amount of (inexplicable) emotion that sports enthusiasts feel when the ball arrives in its intended destination, and understand that business opportunities abound in this hotbed of excitement. Plus, game-day parties usually involve cheese.

The company has gained the most traction from clients in the sporting arena, but plans to use this $4 million to enter other types of programming. T-Venture led this investment, with participation from Kinetic Ventures. It brings Kwarter’s total capital raised to $5 million. Kwarter is based on San Francisco, and competes with PrePlay, GetGlue, Viggle, and Zeebox.