Sometimes it takes 6 years and two fund generations to decide to invest in a company. I had already met one of the co-founders of Monetizr, Martins, back in 2014 when he was pitching a previous startup idea, before Change Ventures existed as a fund. I had been impressed with the energy and hustle Martins brought to the table, so was happy to talk to him and Andris about their new ideas. My partners and I declined to invest in Monetizr when the focus was providing physical merchandise rewards for gamers (hard to scale), and again when the focus was game token rewards.
Andris and Martins did not give up, but provided some of the best investor updates we have seen, kept us in the loop with their pre-seed funding and the progress they were making with customers, especially Proctor & Gamble.
Fast forward to mid-2022 — the Monetizr team had zeroed in on a seriously scalable product: in-game advertising experiences that drive serious consumer engagement. Their years of gritiness, relationship building and sales hustle paid off with a direct relationship with P&G that meant several large P&G brands (Tide, Charmin, Downy) were pilot customers. With sales and pipeline rising rapidly, we decided that this would be Change Ventures last opportunity to invest.
As is often the case, it took a while and a lot of customer conversations plus trial and error to identify the big opportunity. Brands are strugging to reach consumers, especially Gen-Z and women, who now spend a lot of time playing games, a media channel that has traditionally been hard to access efficiently. The current dominant advertising format, a short video ad, is disliked by both consumers (because it disrupts game play) and the game publishers (because a successful ad takes the player away from the game). Monetizr's solution is to deliver in-game advertising experiences that are integrated into the game play, deliver rewards tied to progress in the game or based on additonal consumer actions (e.g. providing email opt-in) and do not remove the player from the game. It turns out that this is exactly what major brands are looking for. The team is now able to demonstrate exceptional consumer engagement.
This $4 million round was led by Change Ventures, with participation by prior investors Techstars and Ludus Ventures. The round was also joined by prominent angel investors, notably Ari Paparo, CEO at Marketecture Media and former executive at Google and Beeswax, and Jared Schrieber , Founder of InfoScout/Numerator. Monetizr will use the funds to scale its US sales team and build out its European dev hubs in London, Riga, and Helsinki.
Find out more about Monetizr's advertising and experience platform for brands in gaming on their website or the video below.
Andris and the Change Ventures team