The same week as its old rival Tapjoy restructured with layoffs, Trialpay says it has quietly grown mobile revenue 85 percent over the last quarter by giving gamers offers they can redeem offline in stores.
The company, which helped social game developers monetize through subscription and other product offers, has shifted toward the Android and iOS platforms over the last year. They add that May mobile revenues should be double April’s in-take. Angelos didn’t say what base mobile revenues were growing from, but he did say that the company’s overall revenue is up from where it was two years ago.
Instead of veering toward incentivized installs or rich video ads in games like many other competitors, Trialpay instead went for a product that tracks in-store promotions via credit and debit cards. A gamer can earn extra premium virtual currency by buying everyday items like coffee or clothing.
“You can walk into a store, buy a burger and all you have to do is swipe your credit card while we track that purchase via a payment network,” said co-founder Terry Angelos.
Trialpay has picked up about half of the top 10 game developers, according to PocketGamer’s annual list, and on the marketing side, they’ve picked up local food chains like Buca di Beppo.
“Our business is following a similar trajectory as Facebook and Kabam,” Angelos said. “We were originally 100% web-based like Facebook and now we’re seeing our business gravitate toward mobile platforms.” Facebook said about 30 percent of its revenues came from mobile advertising, up from virtually nothing a year earlier.
Like on the Facebook platform, Angelos said the company avoided a lot of the riskier strategies. They were originally picked up as Facebook’s official partner for offers after rivals aggressively pushed lower-quality lead generation offers. Then when other players shifted to mobile platform, Trialpay migrated a lot more slowly — for better and worse.
For one, it meant that their mobile traction has only really picked up in the last quarter, while others have grabbed market share over the last two years.
But on the other hand, moving later helped the company avoid some of the early missteps around incentivized downloads. In 2011, the practice of giving gamers virtual currency in exchange for downloading other apps was banned on iOS because Apple felt it was too manipulative of chart rankings.
“We’ve avoided the whole incentivized category on iOS. That’s been highly contentious stuff that Apple has banned,” Angelos said. “We’re pretty happy that the market seems to be self-correcting.”
Trialpay has raised more than $55 million from Greylock, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Visa and T. Rowe Price. Through the whole Facebook-to-mobile transition, the company has kept its headcount relatively even at 120 people.