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Kiip: Martech company of the week

There are nearly 7,000 vendors in the martech landscape. Dizzying, to say the least. We want to help you get to know a few of the better ones.

In this series, we pick one extra cool martech company and profile them each week. What problems do they solve? What challenges do they face? Where do they go for clarity? How do they prepare for the future?

This week, we speak with Adam Broitman, the Chief Strategy Officer at Kiip (pronounced “keep”). He oversees business development, marketing, and their data product. Formerly, Adam was VP of Global Digital Marketing at MasterCard, where he was one of Kiip’s largest clients.

ClickZ: Briefly describe your company – what’s your elevator pitch?

Adam Broitman: We are a brand-safe mobile advertising platform that creates ads that people do not hate.

CZ: How / why was Kiip founded?

AB: In 2010, Co-Founder and CEO Brian Wong recognized a problem: Mobile advertising was a terrible experience for consumers (and publishers). His insight led him to a model whereby people could actually derive value from an ad—whether it be a gift card, product, or just content. Brian wanted to acknowledge the fact that, if brands are going to disrupt a consumer experience, there is a way to do it so the experience does not leave a negative feeling.

CZ: What is the biggest problem you solve for your customers?

AB: We create engaging, user-respecting ad experiences that both create an affinity toward a brand and drive sales.

CZ: So in more straightforward terms, what does Kiip do?

AB: We’re a mobile in-app ad network. Functionally, that’s what we do. But we don’t want to be put into the category of annoying popups. One of our differentiating factors is that our founders were very focused on design. We intentionally make the X [to close the ad] and the terms of use very big. We don’t keep you there. Let’s say you’re in the app Runtastic. You finish your run, you’re feeling fantastic. An ad pops up, saying X% off sneakers. We work with both the apps and the brands to serve ads in apps, in the right moments.

CZ: Before and after: Briefly describe what impact your technology or solution would have if a company were to implement it tomorrow.

AB: Our viewable, brand-safe, engaging ad experiences would drive impact by creating brand love and driving sales. We are confident that we can have this impact for any brand at any budget.

CZ: How would you classify Kiip (in relation to Scott Brinker MarTech landscape)?

AB: We have multiple products, most of which are in Mobile Marketing, Programmatic Advertising and Audience Data, but we do overlap with other areas such as CRM.

CZ: How many competitors are in your space?

AB: There are a lot of mobile ad networks, but we feel our approach is totally unique. Others have copied our approach, but if you are looking for moments-based marketing, we feel we stand alone.

CZ: What’s your added value over competitors?

AB: Well, we actually hear from end users who see our rewarded ads and send us thank you notes. I don’t think there are many ad tech firms that get thank you notes from people stating how they are happy to have seen their ad!

CZ: Who do you look to for example and insight?

AB: While we look at other companies in this space, we spend more time looking at great consumer technology companies like Apple or Tesla. We prefer to set our standards for end user experience very high.

CZ: What are you doing to prepare for 2019?

AB: Not sleeping and taking vitamins!

Our engineering team is hard at work. Building products with new tech such as blockchain is a challenge, but the team is doing an amazing job.

CZ: Tell us a bit about what other products you offer.

AB: Our core business are the in-app moment-based ads, but we also have two others. One is our data product, which is like the inverse of those ads. We take those moments and tie them to anonymous, non-personal information. We build audiences, which advertisers buy through programmatic exchange.

Our other new product is blockchain. We built a DApp (decentralized application) on Ethereum. It records transactions so they can’t be changed or frauded. It gives full transparency to everything we do. The second part of that product is Koin, which is essentially a media token. The ethos behind it is that we wanted to reward users for seeing ads—not to bribe them, but to say thank you for your time. Instead of giving them coupons or products, we’ll give them a form of cryptocurrency.

The user is already involved. There’s a growing wave of people who don’t want to be the subject of commerce, who don’t want to be bought and sold. For brands who spend so much time on customer experience, why wouldn’t you involve and reward the user?

With Koin, if a user sees an ad, we can do the revenue split between us and the brand, and then also give part of that split to the user. For the brand, it verifies the person is real and that they paid attention. For the user, it says thank you.

We’re still working out the details, but right now we’re looking to introduce Koin in Q1 of 2019.

CZ: From the user side, how will that work logistically? How will you get buy-in?

AB: The first time they encounter Koin, they’ll be asked to create a wallet. From then on, future tokens will be inserted into wallet. A lot of people won’t engage at first. We’ll have to do marketing around it. But we believe there will be buy-in.

CZ: Any parting words?

AB: We hope that in 2019 marketers pay more attention to the ad experience that they are delivering. It is not just about attention; it is about favorable attention. We believe our product delivers on this promise.

Quick facts

Employees: ~50 across five offices

Customers: 500

Customers include: Campari, Kraft, The New York Times, Google Play McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, General Mills, BMW, Johnson&Johnson

Year founded: 2010

Funding status: Late stage venture

Last funding type: Series C

Total funding: $32m

Rounds of funding: 8

Headquarters: San Francisco

On the martech landscape: 

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