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Most mobile ads are interruptions--banners or pop-ups that lurch into your favorite games. But Kiip has a user-friendlier plan, and it's driven by a lofty philosophy: "We want to capitalize on happiness," says 21-year-old founder and CEO Brian Wong. His service is embedded in such popular apps as Zombie Farm and Mega Jump and offers rewards--say, a coupon to Starbucks or American Apparel--when a user beats a new game level or accomplishes a goal.

The appeal is twofold. An advertiser greets users just at the moment they're feeling good about themselves, and the ad has tangible value. Users see it that way: 22% redeem the rewards (compared to the usual 0.3% app ad engagement), app revisits increase by 30%, and the length of average use time increases by 103%.

Since launching in 2011, Kiip has been embedded within more than 500 games, and 107 million rewards have been delivered. Last year was about building the Kiip community; it launched its own app, Kiipsake, which organizes user rewards in one place and integrates with Apple Passbook as another way to redeem them. This year looks to be about expanding Kiip's offering; it will enable apps to offer their own rewards, rather than the ones Kiip has curated. That way, developers can enhance their users' best moments. "Everything's better when you're happy," Wong says.

Photo by Alyson Aliano