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"Monetisation suffocates creativity": Kiip CEO Brian Wong launches second Build Fund to help independent developers get ahead

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

March 21, 2013 | 3 min read

Kiip has announced the second iteration of its annual Build Fund, designed to help enable independent developers build and market their apps and games.

“When you’re publically traded you’re very pressured around monetisation and what happens is the monetisation process suffocates creativity, you have to acquire to innovate. It’s the ones who are just looking to make cool shit that have that innocent desire you can’t quantify and we want to support that,” commented Kiip CEO Brian Wong.

The 10 winners of the Build Fund will be awarded with $10,000 in cash and $5,000 worth of services from Kiip’s chosen partners such as Urban Airship and Amazon Web Services. On top of the cash package, the chosen developers will also be connected with mentors including the likes of Lee Linden of Facebook Gifts (previously Tapjoy and Karma), Phill Ryu creator of Clear and MacHeistm and Jon Jordon from Pocket Gamer.

This year’s fund is centred around the theme of ‘Creation’. Speaking to The Drum Wong explained the reason for this was due to the fact that “we’re seeing a lot of variation and re-hashing of the same content, there’s nothing wrong with it but once in a while a developer comes along who challenges the design norms. These are the true independents, the ones who make games for the sake of it and don’t care if it will be successful or not, and we want to attract 10 of them.

“That’s part of the reason why the amount of money on offer is lower, we want to attract people that $10,000 is a big deal to them.”

In discussing eligibility Wong revealed that there are “limits on how big you can be and capitalisation” as ideal winners will be just a “couple of dudes having some fun that can make Zynga, or EA, or Facebook really take notice.”

This year the Build Fund will have three spots open for health and fitness apps as Pepsi has come on board with its Propel brand as a Build Fund sponsor. Part of the sponsorship deal includes the addition of Propel rewards that will be allocated to these winners immediately when they are Kiip-enabled.

Last year Kiip launched its fitness channel prompting Pepsi to approach them with the opportunity to work with its Propel brand, Wong told us that the winners in this category really need to be “pushing the boundaries” of what a health and fitness app can do. He adds: “There’s exercise trackers, calorie counters, diet planners, and even exercise lesion but we’re looking to see what else is out there, for independent developers to be seeing what’s out there and using smartphones to promote healthy living from the gym hunks to the casual health conscious consumer.”

Kiip spot-rewards aim to create significant retention and engagement benefits for developers while allowing them to monetise apps. Wong furthered that what this year’s Build Fund really wanted to address was the emerging trend around retention. He said: “I think retention is something that folks haven’t really concentrated on because of the growth craze, but we’re starting the see smartphone rates accelerating at a decreasing pace. For independent developers your ability to retain people becomes much more important when you’re small.”

To apply for the Build Fund details can be found on the Kiip website.

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