Vancouver native Brian Wong is one of the youngest entrepreneurs to ever get venture capital funding—he received $200,000 from True Ventures partner Phil Black when he was 19 to help fund Kiip, his mobile rewards platform. Wong is now 24. Here’s how he came up with his big idea:
“My ‘aha!’ moment happened during a flight: People were playing games on their phones, and they were really into them, but what happened when they did well? Crummy ads appeared. So I got to thinking, what if a brand could insert something you’re actually glad to see into those exciting moments? If you get a great score on Candy Crush, maybe Sour Patch Kids suddenly offers you a free sample.
“Most of the time advertisers are very one-sided in how they treat the user experience. They think consumers will see their ads everywhere and want to buy their products. But in a lot of cases, the more often you see an ad, the more annoyed you are by it. We help advertisers find that moment when people actually give a shit.
“We’ve moved beyond phones and gaming. We’ve got a new partnership with MasterCard, where we’re powering the loyalty system for an entire brand, and we’re moving into the world of connected cars. So now if you get up and leave for work at 6 a.m. rather than 7, Shell or Exxon can reward you. Or Starbucks can offer you a free coffee. We’re finding moments within the ecosystem of connected devices. That’s where things get really crazy. And really exciting.
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