TenFarms Raises $2.7M To Launch Adtile, A New Approach To Mobile Ads

Posted: May 7, 2013 in Advertising, Mobile, Social, Startup, Technology
Tags: ,

20130507-211646.jpg. TenFarms, a startup working on a couple of
interesting mobile product ideas, just announced that
it has raised $2.7 million in funding from undisclosed
angel investors. The company has already released its first product,
Photopoll, which allows users to share photos (you
can pull them from your camera roll, Amazon.com, or
Instagram), tell stories around those photos, and ask
their friends for opinions. There are lots of other
polling apps, but when founder and CEO Nils Forsblom showed me Photopoll, he emphasized the
ease with which users can share multiple photos. The
app has attracted a largely female audience, he said,
and it will be tailoring the experience to that audience
with future releases. More interesting to me is what TenFarms is working
on next — Adtile, which delivers mobile ads that don’t
interrupt the user experience until someone chooses
to view them. If you’re browsing an app with a stream
of content, some of that content might have an Adtile
icon, and if you tap on, say, that photo, it will flip over and show a related ad. Will anyone actually tap on the ads? Forsblom said
that he’s been happy with the results from the early
tests, though he declined to offer any specific
numbers. Forsblom said this approach has some big
advantages over other types of mobile advertising.
For one thing, he said the ads themselves offer a
good user experience. For example, one ad he
showed me not only highlights a relevant product, but
also maps out the location of nearby stores and allows users to call those stores. He said the
experience is designed natively for iOS, and he
argued that it’s almost wrong to call it an ad — it’s
more of “an app within an app.” The other advantage is targeting. Adtile will allow
advertisers to advertise in apps in a specific topic or
vertical, and they can also target by geography. Even
better, Forsblom said, “We understand what’s the
product or thing that it’s showing — when you flip [the
content] around, there should a very, very close relationship with with the ad itself.” At the same time,
he cautioned, “None of these things are ever perfect.” Forsblom said he won’t be selling Adtile units directly,
but instead working with ad networks. He also said
that he wants to experiment with different pricing
models, so that it’s “more democratic” and the ad that
gets served isn’t always the one that comes from the
advertiser with the biggest budget. Before TenFarms, Forsblom founded Fruugo, a
shopping startup that seems to have flamed out
despite raising $48 million in funding. In a recent
interview, Forsblom said that after taking on investors
at Fruugo, he was “basically powerless”: “That was
my biggest mistake, giving those voting powers to the investors and basically just being an employee of the
company.” That’s why he said he’s being careful and
retaining control this time around.

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