Things seem to be going well for Boston-based SessionM since the company emerged from stealth in early March. The mobile advertising startup, launched by Quattro Wireless co-founder Lars Albright, has raised another $20 million in funding, according to VentureWire. That’s on top of the $6.5 million it raised from Highland Capital and Kleiner Perkins a year ago.
UPDATE: The new round of funding was led by Charles River Ventures with participation from all existing investors – Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB). Jon Auerbach, general partner at Charles River Ventures, will join the SessionM board
SessionM’s platform adds an engagement layer to traditional mobile advertising through things like games and video, within which it allows brands to integrate advertising. Users who participate in these engagement activities can earn rewards or status as well as points are redeemable in the form of gift cards and coupons.
“The next wave of growth in mobile will focus on driving meaningful engagement, and the time is now for developers and advertisers alike to embrace new consumer-centric approaches that deliver on the promise of this medium,” said Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of SessionM. “In the last month, our clients have had some incredible successes with the platform, including app usage increase by close to 2X and an ad click-through-rate of over 20X standard industry averages, all leading to increased time spent in apps and more advertising revenue.”
UPDATE II, 3:10PM: I spoke with Albright earlier and he told me the company will use the money to expand its team aggressively, improve its platform, and explore international expansion.
“Since March it’s been this aggressive ramp around building out the platform and the team but also getting core deals done,” he said, citing relationships with Ford Motors, Honda Volvo, MTV News and the Weather Channel as proof of the SessionM’s success.
Albright also said that on the technology side he’s focused on making sure the experience is perfect on not only iOS and Android but mobile web. I asked about his vision for the future and the degree to which he sees engagement driven advertising crowding out traditional mobile ads.
“I think this is going to be the dominant form of advertising experience going forward,” he said. “At the same time I think there will always be a mix between what you would call traditional.”