Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Hypepotamus Aug. 9 and is published on Global Atlanta as part of our content partnership with the Southeast’s top source for innovation news. Sign up for Hypepotamus newsletters here.
Monetizr, a Techstars Atlanta graduate with international roots, is growing its cap table and plans to expand its employee base after closing a new $4 million seed investment this week.
The startup, founded in Riga, Latvia, and now headquartered in Atlanta, is an advertising experience platform designed to help brands get in front of gamers worldwide.
There are many reasons big brands would want to diversify advertising dollars into the world of gaming. Not only does gaming account for 43 percent of all smartphone use, it could soon become more popular than social media. And those games are attracting a wider age range and demographic base, according to a 2021 Deloitte report.
In-game advertising is expected to reach $32 billion this year, but serving up those ads isn’t always the best user experience. Monetizr is helping more brands capitalize on the gaming boom without distracting players from the gameplay itself.
“Gaming enables brands to tell authentic stories at scale,” Atlanta-based CEO Andris Merkulovs told Hypepotamus.
Monetizr does this by delivering “game-enriching experiences rather than background decorations.”
The startup is also helping brands and game publishers navigate the changing world of mobile.
Merkulovs said that COVID and new mobile privacy and tracking requirements “hastened the need for mobile game publishers to explore healthier means of game monetization, and prompted brands to look for media channels that would unlock opportunities for high consumer engagement.”
Monetizr’s customers include large CPG (consumer product goods) companies like Tide, Charmin, and Downy.
About the Seed Round
The $4 million seed round was led by Change Ventures, an Estonian-backed firm, with participation by Techstars and Turkish gaming VC Ludus Ventures. Notable angel investors in the round include Ari Paparo (CEO at Marketecture Media and former Google executive) and Jared Schrieber (Founder of InfoScout/Numerator).
Andris Berzins, partner, at lead investor Change Ventures, said that the firm had been following Monetizr’s growth for years and this was the “the last chance to get on board before the company embarks on an explosive growth trajectory.”
“Speaking to Monetizr’s clients, they tell us it is the only ad platform delivering engaging, scalable in-game advertising that gamers don’t hate,” Berzins added. “We believe Monetizr is the spark that is going to ignite global mobile games advertising.”
The funds will go towards scaling up Monetizr’s U.S. sales team and building out its development hubs in England, Latvia, and Finland, according to a press release.