TVSMILES Closes $7 Million Series A Funding

written by: Richard Kastelein

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tvsmilesTVSMILES, a first loyalty program for TV advertising, has secured seven million dollars in a series-A round of financing and scooped some prestigious lead investors. The start-up is receiving the fresh money from the French fund Ventech S.A., which had already invested in TVSMILES and has now just keenly topped up. Also coming on board is the international venture fund e.ventures, who invests in high-growth start-ups in the USA, Asia and Brazil on a global level. German Startups Group, Brandenburg Ventures, Magix AG as well as other angel investors are also in for another innings. The additional capital will be invested to scale the business model in Germany, as well as to launch the first foreign markets already in 2014.

TVSMILES rewards television viewers for watching and interacting with TV ads. The mobile app recognises TV ads from their audio signal and automatically opens a corresponding campaign in the TVSMILES app. The viewer collects “smiles”, the virtual currency of TVSMILES, which can be exchanged for rewards and gift cards from known retail brands shops. Extending the TV ad to the second screen allows the advertisers to directly interact with their target group directly from the TV-spot. TVSMILES is closing the gap between television advertising, digital marketing and the point-of-sale for the first time ever.

Already six months after the launch, seven-figure campaign revenues have been booked by companies like Wrigley, Johnson&Johnson and Mitsubishi, which have successfully launched second-screen campaigns in the TVSMILES app. TVSMILES is marketed by SevenOne Media, the sales house of German media group ProSiebenSat.1 .

Up to today several hundred million Smiles have been collected by the users and over 50,000 rewards from Mediamarkt, H&M and Amazon redeemed. With more than one million downloads and over 50,000 five-star evaluations, the TVSMILES app ranks among the most reviewed apps.

“We are very happy to have won leading international investors for the A-round. It proves that even abroad there’s a great potential for TVSMILES”, says Frederic Westerberg, CEO of TVSMILES. “This year we’d like to establish TVSMILES as the default second-screen advertising platform for all TV advertising companies and use the additional capital to launch the first international markets”.

“TVSMILES fits perfectly to our strategy, investing in early stage companies that show great potential for international success. TVSMILES is a real innovation, which is quite rare in Germany. TVSMILES has shown significant traction after only a few months, what really impressed us”, Andreas Haug, General Partner of e.ventures, commented.

Christian Claussen, General Partner of Ventech, added:

“The advertising market is at a turning point. In our view, TVSMILES is in a unique position to set new standards of how companies can use TV advertising to build customer relations and measurable success”.Christoph Gerlinger, CEO of German Startups Group:

“We were enthusiastic about the TVSMILES idea from the very beginning and because of their impressive performance we have invested now in the company for the third time”.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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