Mobile Games Marketing Platform AppLift Raises Further $7M, Poaches Two Rocket Internet MDs

The HitFox-incubated mobile games marketing platform AppLift has raised a further $7 million in funding. Citing ‘over performance’ since its $13 million Series A round in June, once again the investment comes from Prime Ventures, bringing total external funding raised by the Berlin-headquartered startup to a cool $20 million.

However, follow-on funding aside, AppLift is also announcing that it’s poached two extremely seasoned Rocket Internet MDs to fill the positions of MD and COO, and MD Asia, respectively. That’s likely testament to the speed at which the startup is growing, but also speaks to a trend that’s seen a number of Rocket execs jump ship as the German startup factory focuses on supercharging international growth for its established e-commerce properties in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, perhaps at the expense of hatching new startups. Or, as one insider argued to me recently, the Samwer brothers haven’t started up anything “substantial or interesting” in Berlin for quite some time, narrowing the career opportunities for its top talent.

Founded in 2012 by HitFox Group, Kaya Taner and Tim Koschella, AppLift’s marketing and monetization platform helps games publishers acquire more users for its games, and in turn generates revenue for affiliates who want to monetize their mobile sites and apps by sending qualified leads AppLift’s way. Its platform is able to track, measure and benchmark the quality of players delivered with regards to retention, virality and, of course, monetization, such as in-app purchases. Or to use games industry speak, AppLift is able to optimise the “Customer Lifetime Value” of the users it delivers.

Growth, both in terms of the games publishers using its platform, and media partners, seems to be on a decent trajectory. The company currently works with over 100 major game publishers, such as King, Wooga and EA, and 1000+ media partners, up from 80 and 500+ respectively since June this year. As well as its Berlin HQ, since launch, AppLift has also added offices in San Francisco and Seoul. In total, the startup now employs over 65 people across its three offices.

Today’s follow-on funding will be used to “execute further on the company’s global expansion and hire additional top talent in tech, product and business development,” according to the press release. Interestingly, part of the investment comes as a secondary towards AppLift’s majority shareholder HitFox Group (in other words, HitFox has disposed of some of its shares in AppLift). The incubator says it will use the funds raised from the partial sale to co-found further “synergetic” ventures. What those new ventures are, HitFox isn’t saying, though I’d speculate that given its original remit to establish or acquire two new startups per year it wouldn’t be surprising if these were already in the pipeline.

More on those two ex-Rocket hires. New AppLift MD and COO, Dr. Hendrik Harren, has previously co-founded six companies from the Samwer brothers’ incubator, including African e-commerce venture, Jumia Nigeria. Meanwhile, Stephen Chung, who takes up the position of MD Asia for AppLift, was formerly Managing Director for Rocket Internet in Hong Kong and, among others, built up the e-commerce fashion company Zalora.