Mobile rewards firm Kiip raised $12 million in funding, which it will use to expand its sales and marketing efforts.

Brands such as McDonalds, Pepsi and Ford use Kiip to engage their audiences by rewarding them with free samples, special offers, virtual currency and other items during in-app events called “moments”. Users could watch a video or answer a survey to get more coins in a game, for instance.

This gives businesses a “non-interruptive” way to engage with their consumers when they are most receptive and attentive.

“Our latest round is representative of our continued execution towards leading the moments marketing revolution,” Kiip said in a statement.

With ad blocking rampant, Kiip thinks there needs to be “differentiated solutions that operate at scale. And that’s why we’re all about creating 1:1 engagements.”

Brian Wong, co-Founder and CEO (pictured), told Mobile World Live that Kiip plans to continue product development to help both brands and developers find “the most value in the moment”.

brian wong

Kiip also wants to look into “platform exploration” similar to a recent collaboration with Oral-B’s connected toothbrush.

Oral-B’s connected toothbrush users connect to an app to gain real-time feedback of their brushing habits. Kiip became Oral-B’s first API partner to reward users who are consistent with healthy habits.

The San Francisco based company’s app has 60 million monthly unique users, more than 350 brand advertisers and works within a host of apps, including games, fitness, shopping and sports.

The firm referred to third party stats to show that while 25 per cent of a US user’s time is spent using a mobile phone, only 12 per cent of advertising spend goes into mobile, revealing a gap of $22 billion.

“Kiip is right at the center of this —at the center of the $22 billion dollar gap that can be closed and that we can command,” it said.

As for its competitors, Wong said there are no direct ones, “but there are indirect partners in the ecosystem vying for mindshare around mobile advertising: Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Google.”

Kiip also offers a developer tool kit for monetising app without interrupting users or changing the UX. It is used by more than 5,000 apps.

Wong’s advice to developers: “Respect the user experience. Pillaging only goes so far. Consumers know when you’re being respectful and when you’re not.”

The Series C round was lead by North Atlantic Capital. New investors include US Cellular and North Atlantic, and existing investors are Relay Ventures, HWVP, Verizon Ventures, and True Ventures.