Founded 6 months ago but running in stealth mode until now, ad tech startup AppScotch is pulling back the curtain today. Based in California, with an R&D office in Russia, the company has developed technology to enable advertisers to offer a new kind of interactive ad unit that turns the humble banner ad into something that is actually playable.
In fact, a more accurate description might be that AppScotch turns games into ads. That’s because, similar to technology used by Steam, the ad is a fully virtualised, streamed sample of the game itself, delivered to the browser or natively via the startup’s SDK. Thus, AppScotch’s ad unit lets users try out a game before committing to an app store download.
The end result, says the company, is that those users who do go on to download the advertised game are much more likely to engage with it, having already played it (albeit for a minute or so), therefore increasing ROI for advertisers. Additionally, the new ad unit can be created by the advertiser simply by providing AppScotch’s tech with an app store link to the game.
While in stealth, it’s been serving customers for the last 2 months, including GameInsight and MiniClip. Competitors include Agawi, and Voxel, though, in comparison, AppScotch is talking up its instant ad network integration.
AppScotch’s also announcing that it’s raised seed funding from Almaz Capital, and imi.vc. The amount remains undisclosed, though my understanding is that it’s “less than a million” dollars.
More noteworthy, perhaps, is that two of AppScotch’s three co-founders are ex-VCs. Chairman Alex Marquez was previously director at Intel Capital, and CEO Andrey Kazakov is co-founder of Foresight Ventures.
While at Intel Capital, Marquez is said to have invested in over a dozen digital media-related companies, including video game technology company Gaikai (acquired by Sony), in-game commerce company Playspan (acquired by Visa), and game developer and publisher Kabam.
Meanwhile, at Foresight Ventures, Kazakov invested in mobile ad startup AppStack, and Jelastic along with seeing 3 exits, including hotel comparison site DealAngel being acquired by Russian travel startup OneTwoTrip. AppScotch’s other co-founder is Max Gannutin.