maria alegre

Just a year into its existence, Chartboost has seen explosive growth in its business of offering alternatives to expensive mobile advertising for game developers. Chartboost is now used by developers with more than 8,000 mobile games and 4 billion game sessions a month.

chartboost 2That growth has happened because Chartboost came up with a unique way to help developers and publishers rely upon each other to generate more excitement about their games. Chartboost lets those developers advertise games within each other’s games through a Direct Deals Marketplace, bypassing a traditional ad network like Tapjoy, which takes part of the cut.

“We have seen huge growth through viral word of mouth among developers,” Maria Alegre (pictured), the chief executive of Chartboost, told GamesBeat. “We’ve reached a critical point in the market.”

The business exists because with hundreds of thousands of mobile games, discovery is still the biggest challenge for developers. To get noticed, many have had to pay a lot of money to acquire each additional user. But in free-to-play mobile games, where users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods, the revenue generated per user can often lag behind the user acquisition costs. Chartboost has a self-service program where developers trade traffic with each other.

“The industry is in a transition from spending money like crazy to spending money with a data-driven approach,” said Alegre. “We have a developer-friendly approach, and our transparency helps us get more developers.”

Chartboost has raised $2 million from Translink Capital, SK Telecom Ventures, and XG Ventures. It was founded in 2011 and has 30 employees. During the next year, the company hopes to double that. Among the developers and publishers using Chartboost are Backflip, Beeline, Booyah, Crowdstar, Disney Mobile, Gameloft, Get Set Games, Gree, Kabam, Kiloo, Playfirst, The Playforge, Pocket Gems, SGN, and TinyCo.

“One year out, Chartboost is not just independent, profitable, and rapidly growing, but we are taking market share away from traditional mobile game ad networks,” said Alegre. “More than any of our competitors, we know games, and we know developers. We know how developers work, how games monetize, and how users discover new, great games. This has set us apart, and we look forward to continue leading the industry.”

In the past nine months, Alegre said Chartboost has seen the number of game sessions initiated by its technology increase 300 percent. The number of games has grown 700 percent since the start of the year, and Chartboost now reaches over 105 million unique users.

“We have gone from a very small company to one of the major players in monetization,” said Alegre.