San Francisco-based mobile rewards company Kiip is opening its first Canadian office in Vancouver to focus on product engineering, research and development.
When the company’s Canadian co-founder Brian Wong spoke at Marketing’s Mobile Conference in Toronto last September, he told attendeesd that Canadian brands were slower at getting into the mobile rewards space. At the time, Kiip (pronounced “keep”) counted PopChips, Secret, 1-800-Flowers and Skittles among its U.S.-based brand partners.
But attitudes change. In November Kiip announced it was partnering with Cineplex and Scotiabank’s Scene loyalty program. And though he wouldn’t name them, Wong told Marketing recently he’s excited about new clients Kiip is set to partner with in Canada.
While mobile reward programs may not be the tough sell to Canadian advertisers it once was, Wong said there are specific categories spending money right now and they don’t include brands that are necessarily at the top of Kiip’s list.
“One that we noticed that’s really big is alcohol, but we’re not necessarily chasing after that money,” he said. “I think there are other brands we can help that may be easier to work with.
“Think the Tim Hortons and the London Drugs of the world. Those are the types of brands we’re going after. Both QSR and retail are very apt for what we’re working on.”
Discussing the Vancouver office, Wong said the opening is a strong indicator of the interest and talent pool in that city. “There’s a lot of demand for jobs and very low supply [in the start up tech industry]. So it’s a good thing.”
The Vancouver office marks the company’s first R&D operation outside of its headquarters in San Francisco. Kiip’s other offices in the U.S. (Chicago, Los Angeles and New York) focus solely on sales.
Wong said that with few brand partners in the Vancouver area, the new office doesn’t warrant a sales team at this time.
Kiip is currently sourcing local candidates for the four Vancouver positions – front end engineer, infrastructure engineer, systems engineer and web engineer – that it posted to the jobs section of its site earlier this week.
Wong will spend time with job candidates next month when he’s in Vancouver for GROW, a three-day tech conference that helps connect entrepreneurs with investors.
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