Aug. 10 - The San Francisco-based company founded by 21-year-old technology entrepreneur Brian Wong has received a total of $15 million in funding to create a mobile rewards network. Matt Cowan reports.
You may not guess it to look at him, but Brian Wong knows a thing or two about failure. Sure, the Vancouver born entrepreneur skipped four grades to graduate university at age 18, before landing a job at a hot Silicon Valley startup. But that job at the news recommendation site Digg didn't last long. SOUNDBITE: Brian Wong, KIIP Founder and CEO saying (English) "Five months later you're like, ahh, I'm kinda back. Awkward." Due to that turn of events, Wong took a trip to Asia where he was struck by the number of people playing games on their mobile phones. That's where he came up with the idea for KIIP, spelled K I I P, which aims to make mobile experiences more rewarding for users and brands alike. SOUNDBITE: Brian Wong, KIIP Founder and CEO saying (English) "Kiip is a rewards network. It's based on taking these moments that already exist in all the mobile games that people seem to be playing everywhere and essentially rewarding people. So imagine levelling up in a game and getting a free latte from Starbucks. So we essentially took what people would be doing already and would be doing tens of millions of times every day and bringing in big brands to make those moments even better." Wong says rewards offer an engaging alternative to mobile advertising. SOUNDBITE: Brian Wong, KIIP Founder and CEO saying (English) "One of the things we've started to do is take this concept beyond games as well and so one of the things we realized late last year and it was a mind explosion event is that these moments in time, these moments where you're happy, they don't just exist in games. They can exist in practically anything." Last month it was announced that KIIP had raised an additional 11 million dollars in funding, bringing the total amount raised to 15 million. Wong may have endured a spectacular failure very early on, but there's a lot riding on his eventual success. Matt Cowan, Reuters.