GamesBeat

AppLift raises $13M for mobile-game marketing and monetization

AppLift, a fast-growing mobile-game marketing startup in Berlin has raised $13 million in funding from venture firm Prime Ventures.

The funding shows that rewards are big for companies that attack the largest problem of the mobile explosion: how to discover quality titles amid the sea of junk in the app stores. AppLift helps game publishers find players and non-players who might enjoy a new app, without driving up spending on acquiring new consumers.

The company will use the money to expand its sales, marketing, and global reach while investing further in its platform. A year after launching, AppLift has more than 80 mobile-title publishers as customers, including King, Wooga, and Kabam. Its media partners include RTL and Closer.

AppLift got its initial funding from HitFox Group, a game-startup incubator in Berlin. Hanno Fichtner, co-founder of HitFox, said in an interview with GamesBeat that mobile publishers are getting as much as 1 million new game installs per month through AppLift.

AppLift has 50 people, and it plans to hire 50 more engineers, product specialists, and business-development professionals in 2013. Fichtner said the company’s network has about 50 percent gamers and 50 percent non-gamers. That mix allows it to pitch titles and apps to a variety of people, including individuals that other monetization firms might not otherwise reach.

“AppLift optimizes traffic to drive higher customer-lifetime values,” Fichtner said. “If a user is not converting, we analyze our traffic sources, and we kick out the sources that are not monetizing. Then, we focus on the interesting traffic sources and scale those up.”

That may sound simple, but Fichtner said other monetization firms aren’t doing that.

“A year ago, mobile-game-and-app companies didn’t care about quality. They just wanted lots of users,” Fichtner said. “Now they’re more focused on getting users who will monetize.”

Shane Horneij, director of performance marketing at King states, “It’s great to see that AppLift has secured $13 million in this round of funding. They have been a great partner in driving large volumes of installs across Android and iOS while maintaining high quality users. We look forward to launching more titles with their team in the future.”

Kaya Taner (pictured above right) and Tim Koschella founded AppLift last August with help from HitFox on the promise of delivering quality game players at scale. The company has more than 500 media partners who benefit from the opportunity to monetize in a non-intrusive and user-friendly way while receiving eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) of up to $75. That relatively high number suggests that the organization’s consumer-acquisition efforts are effective.

HitFox Group CEO Jan Beckers (pictured top left) said, ”The strong market position of AppLift is based on a world-class team, cutting-edge technology, a sustainable approach to partner relationships, and an unwavering focus on flawless execution. With the new funding AppLift has everything required to become one of Berlin’s biggest success stories.”

Taner said that HitFox gave AppLift a big boost in the market and that Prime Ventures’ entrepreneurial mindset will help his business strengthen itself.

Prime Ventures partner Roel de Hoop said his company invested in order to get a chance to participate in the fast-growing $10 billion mobile-games market. About 40 percent of AppLift’s customers are in Europe, 40 percent are in the U.S., and 20 percent are in Asia.


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