Unlockd to offer ad-funded discounts on your cell phone bill

Unlockd, an ad startup that helps you get discounts on your phone bill, has raised $12 million in Series A funding.

We’ve written about other startups that show advertising on your smartphone lock screen, but the Unlockd model is different in a couple of key ways. First of all, as the name implies, the ads only appear (briefly) after you’ve unlocked your phone.

Unlockd to offer ad-funded discounts on cell

CEO and co-founder Matt Berriman said that when an ad is only shown on the lockscreen, “You can’t guarantee [the consumer has] seen it.” On the other hand, by popping up an ad at the moment that you want to use your phone, there might be a risk of annoying the user, but Berriman also said that maintaining the consumer experiment is paramount — if an ad or offer doesn’t interest you, you can just flick it away.

Unlockd is also distinguished by the fact that it partners with telecom companies — the idea is to give consumers a discount on their cell phone bill in exchange for seeing those ads. The appeal should be obvious for the consumers who opt-in (hey, discounts), and Berriman said it’s also valuable for cell providers who are seeing revenues decline on a per-customer basis — as he explained it, “Revenues are being squeezed and pushed down due to competition.”