Virtual currency monetization platforms, like OfferPal, have recently come under fire (a.k.a. “Scamville”) for scamming users of virtual games on social networks. gWallet is entering the space as a potential beacon of ethics, with a a service that hopes to legitimize virtual currency exchanges by connecting game publishers directly to the advertisers. Today, the startup is announcing a $10.5 million Series A round of funding raised from Adams Street Partners and Trinity Ventures, bringing the total funding for gWallet up to $12.5 million.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal, gWallet works directly with brands directly as opposed to adopting an affiliate leads model. gWallet claims that its proprietary technology and transparent platform allows game developers and social networks to see when and where exact offers are being presented within their ecosystems.
Chahal asserts that unlike its competitors in the space, gWallet has a full-time direct sales force that corresponds between high quality brands and agencies and game developers to ensure legitimacy. The key factor that differentiates gWallet says Chalal is that the platform works with advertisers directly, showing them the value that they can provide within a social gaming site, and also offering the advertiser the ability to customize any offers so that they are relevant to the consumer.
Social gaming is a lucrative business and along with it, the virtual goods and currency market has heated up. Chahal says that virtual gaming is a$720 million a year business and expects it to grow to more than $2 billion in just the next three years. Games and currency platforms alike are making tons of money off of consumers and advertisers, and we all know that greed perhaps pushed some developers and companies to publish scammy lead gen offers within games.
gWallet, with its assertions of legitimacy and ethical standards, is entering at the right moment when this type of platform is very much needed in the virtual currency industry. Partner for VC firm Adams Street Partners, says that gWallet could be the “White Knight in this space and put in place standards that work for marketers, publishers and consumers.”
Chahal has significant experience in the advertising space and launched his first advertising startup, ClickAgents, at 16, which was sold to ValueClick for $40 million. His second venture, behavioral advertising network BlueLithium, was sold to Yahoo in October 2007 for $300 million. Chahal says that the new funding will be used to further gWallet’s international expansion, with offices opening in Europe to cater to global brands and advertisers. Currently, gWallet is working with several Facebook apps, including FooPets.
While it looks like TechCrunch’s efforts to expose Scamville has made a lasting impact on both game developers like Zynga and social networks, including Facebook, MySpace and others, gWallet could be the breath of fresh air that is needed in the virtual currency monetization world.