Today San Francisco-based Chartboost, a platform that enables developers to cross-promote their games to reach new users, announced a $19 million Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital with additional participation from past investors TransLink Capital and SK Telecom Ventures. Since its launch in 2011 the startup’s platform reaches more than 300 million unique devices a month that open games with Chartboost’s technology built-in.
“We were game developers before and we felt some of the pain game developers find in the industry in terms of the lack of transparency, lack of control, and technology platforms not caring about user experience and we decided to go out and fix those problems with Chartboost,” said CEO Maria Alegre in an interview with BetaKit. “Its been a [year of] very fast growth…we’re going to use this money to build a better product and become a business engine, so not just technology to power a network but to power anything related to the business of your game.”
Unlike traditional mobile ad networks like Google’s AdMob, Mojiva, or MoPub, where developers have little choice in terms of placement and type of ads displayed, Chartboost looks to bring in complete transparency to the process. Mobile game developers can choose from building their own internal cross promotion network by partnering with other developers, trade traffic directly between each other to effectively remove the middle man (the ad networks) or choose to buy or sell extra traffic from Chartboost’s larger developer network. According to Alegre developers usually succumb to having to choose between making money, and the user experience. With Chartboost, instead of traditional banner ads they can insert more native interstitials that promote only other mobile games.
“Our network is different because it’s transparent. This is where people come to partner with thousands of developers and identify the best performing games so they can do direct deals. In general ad networks are a black box where you’re throwing money in and getting something but you don’t know what happens in the middle, we’re the opposite of that,” Alegre added.
Developers can connect with other developers to build their network or to engage in cross-promotional activities for free on the platform. Chartboost’s primary revenue stream stems from revenue sharing when developers decide to go down the third route, of tapping into the larger network to either sell or buy traffic. However, in the coming months developers can expect Chartboost to add services such as the ability to sell virtual goods, in addition to providing mobile analytics technology similar to the likes of Flurry and Localytics.
The company will also be looking to ramp up on hiring talent to fill its new office space and will come close to tripling its existing 36 employees in the coming year. According to Alegre, one of the company’s biggest challenges right now is identifying the right talent. Her larger vision for the company is to see it becoming an all-in-one monetization platform that powers the business aspect of popular mobile games, something the additional funding will help the company achieve in the new year.