Quattro, of course, was acquired by Apple, which used the mobile ad network as the foundation for its iAd program. Albright, who led business development for iAd and is now SessionM’s CEO, describes the startup as an attempt to tackle one of the biggest problems he saw in the mobile industry — engagement and retention. He says that mobile consumers now have “so many choices, so many different options to choose from,” that can be hard for any one app to hold their attention. SessionM’s solution? Game mechanics and rewards.
Specifically, SessionM customers can create different achievements, which are then unlocked by users as they visit an app and perform specific activities. Those achievements confer status within an app’s community, but they’re also worth mPoints, which can be redeemed for gift cards, discounts and other rewards. Initial publisher partners include Viacom Media Digital Networks, The Weather Channel, Demand Media, Fox Sports, and Glam Media.
SessionM works as an HTML5 layer on top of an app, so publishers don’t need to change their designs. Albright says the goal was to make it “lightweight” and customizable for publishers. The publishers decide what kind of activity they want to reward, and they can even integrate it with other mobile platforms like gaming social network OpenFeint.
Albright says he also wants to create a compelling environment for advertisers, offering them units like video ads and branded mini-games. Honda, Tyson Foods, and Volvo have all signed on as advertisers.
That sounds good for publishers and advertisers, but mobile consumers might be less thrilled to find that an extra layer of interaction and ads has been introduced to their favorite apps. Albright says that the initial response has been positive, with high engagement rates. If you don’t like it, you can opt-out, and there are even automatic opt-out capabilities for users who don’t engage with the SessionM features after a certain number of times.
SessionM is backed by Highland Capital Partners (which also invested in Quattro) and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (where it’s part of the iFund).
SessionM is a Boston, MA-based start-up that is driving mobile ad innovation. Aimed at developers, publishers, and advertisers, SessionM’s platform ignites deeper engagement with mobile content and advertising. SessionM is funded by Highland Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and is part of the iFund initiative.
Founded in 1988, Highland Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm focused on putting the entrepreneur first. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston and Shanghai, Highland has raised over $3 billion in committed capital and invested in more than 225 companies, resulting in category-defining businesses across consumer and enterprise technology. Investments include 2U, Ask Jeeves, Bromium, Calxeda, Leap Motion, LevelUp, Lycos, MapQuest, Nebula, QD Vision, Qihoo 360, Quattro Wireless, RentJuice, Rent the Runway, Starent Networks, Sybase, Violin Memory,...
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) is a well known Silicon Valley venture capital firm, due in large part to their past success. They were early investors in many significant companies, including Amazon, AOL, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Macromedia, Netscape, Segway, and Sun Microsystems. The name of the firm comes from the four founding partners: Eugene Kleiner, Tom Perkins, Frank J. Caufield, and Brook Byers. In March 2008, KPCB announced the iFund, a $100M investment initiative focused on ideas...