Last month, the in-app video advertising developers at Vungle came out of nowhere to hustle their way into a gigantic $2 million seed funding. Now they’re giving half that cash away.
Instead of funding the move to a safer neighborhood, they’re going to “go balls out and just hit it gung-ho,” says co-founder, Jack Smith. So they’re using the $1 million to launch a funding platform for any app developers that build their software into an iOS application. The developers will receive up to $10,000 per app, depending on the user base and traction. And the guys at Vungle aren’t worried about the type of app. They’ll fund anything as long as it fits with having a short video interruption that advertises another app. However, they do believe that it works best with games, since they offer up an interstitial location between levels to introduce their video.
Vungle can also produce the videos to show up in the apps in HD quality, usually with only a 24-hour turn around time. Just let the team know what highlights you want featured and they’ll do the rest. The videos range in length from 15 to 30 seconds, which may be a tough point for app developers – and viewers that have to wait that length of time between videos.
“If we could sign up 100 apps, that would be amazing” says Smith. But they decided to dive in head first after seeing the speed with which mobile advertising is taking off. Almost immediately after their funding round, they had several advertisers lining up to run their ads, hoping to leverage the company’s platform. Although they were heavy on advertisers, Vungle was light on apps running their software, which leads to their desire to get involved on the app development field.
The biggest issue since their seed funding round has been getting app developers’ minds around the idea of video advertising – since it isn’t monitored in CPM, the benefit of monetization model isn’t easily explained. Especially when the video may take up more screen real estate and time than a static banner ad.
Even beyond their app developer funding platform, Vungle’s approach has been unique. They advertise apps while other apps are loading, as a highlight reel of the advertising apps best features. It lends itself flawlessly to inter-level advertising in mobile games, where the videos briefly interrupt to play an in-app commercial.
Their current roster includes Fashion Start Boutique and Drag Racer World, which are both currently integrating Vungle’s software and will be lauching as soon as they get Apple’s approval. They currently have five to ten other applications in Apple’s approvement pipeline that are running their advertising software. And they’re still concerned that it may take too much valuable time while the mobile advertising landscape grows.
As for the Vungle team, they’ve managed to secure funding through every means possible, and attract the right attention at the right time by putting themselves exactly where they need to be, so it’s hard to imagine this not taking off.