PaeDae Raises $11.6M, Looks Beyond Mobile Rewards To “User-Centric Advertising”

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Mobile rewards and advertising startup PaeDae is announcing that it has raised $11.6 million in new funding.

The round is a mix of debt and equity, said founder and CEO Rob Emrich, though he declined to specify how much was debt and how much equity. The company says there are more than 20 investors, including Ed Ojdana, 3G Capital, Grind Games, and Silicon Valley Bank.

“One of the reasons that we decided to go with this approach is that our sales are very strong, our revenue is very strong, we’ve fielded multiple acquisition offers,” Emrich said. “We wanted to preserve our opportunities and whatever options were available to us. Debt allowed us to do that in a way that equity couldn’t.”

(In other words, Emrich wanted to be able to raise a large round but still have the option of getting acquired early on.)

PaeDae launched its rewards network last year, allowing publishers to give game players physical and virtual rewards for reaching certain milestones, and for brands to present their ads as part of the rewards. (Competitors in this market include Kiip.)

Emrich told me that PaeDae is differentiated, in part, because it offers a white label solution, allowing publishers and advertisers to customize the branding, and also because of its targeting: “We might forego 99 percent or more of our network in favor of the 1 percent that we predict are a perfect fit.”

The company says it has already run campaigns from advertisers including 7-Eleven, Hershey’s, State Farm, and Time Warner Cable.

According to Emrich, PaeDae is currently expanding to an area he calls “user-centric advertising,” which brings the attributes that make mobile rewards effective to other kinds of mobile advertising. Those attributes, he said, are targeting, omnipresence (“When a user decides to interact with our ads we want to make sure we can continue that relationship beyond that one momentary offering.”), and contextuality.