Mobile app monetization platform Lunch Money, has raised $1 million in seed financing from Google Ventures, First Round Capital, Scott Banister, Baroda Ventures, David Sacks, Mike Jones, Kamran Pourzanjani and Alan Braverman. As part of the announcement, Lunch Money is also rebranding to Pocket Change.
As we wrote in our initial coverage of the Lunch Money, the startup offers a set of monetization and distribution tools for mobile game developers via an SDK than can be plugged into games. The platform’s initial products include a social leaderboard and a token system. The social leaderboard doesn’t recreate the social graph, but instead leverages user graphs across Facebook, Twitter and Game Center. It’s a simple ranking of your friends’ scores.
The token system simulates a real world arcade where you pay-to-play the game. The games are free to download and you will be gifted tokens, but when you run out of tokens you have to buy additional tokens to play the game. In addition to being able to buy tokens there are a variety of free methods for earning tokens, like inviting friends or checking into sponsored locations.
To showcase Pocket Change’s technology, the company launched Recess, a casual skill based iOS game where there is a bully and the objective is to try to hit the bully in the head with a ball as many times as you can in a row. The app was launched in September an saw 100,000 installs in the first week.
Co-founder Ari Mir says that the Token System is a perfect hybrid between pay-to-download games and ad-supported games. And Pocket Change will be launching its Token System as a platform for both Android and iOS developers. The new funding will be used to expand the startup’s engineering and sales teams.
Prior to founding Pocket Change, Mir was president and cofounder of in-image ad platform GumGum and fellow co-founder Amos Elliston was the CTO and cofounder of Geni and enterprise social networking application Yammer.