Over $150M invested in Europe into social games, VWs, casual MMOs & games

Jussi posted an excellent writeup of how there’s been over $350 million invested in social games etc worldwide, and commented that he the European side wasn’t really included in his sources.

But I’ve been tracking the European side for a while, and since I’m preparing a new MMO / Education startup at the moment, I’ve recently been refreshing my data.

So, here it is: my version of Jussi’s post, but the EU-only version :)

The Deals

Venture capital funding for social games, virtual world, casual MMO and casual games

[Time span covered: Q4 2006 – Q3 2008 (present); see NOTES at bottom]

Date Company Invested Country Description
2006
2006 – Oct Mind Candy $7.4m UK Mind Candy is one of the world’s leading developers of social multi-player games, helping kids (and big kids!) around the world play and connect.
2005 – Jun WeeWorld $5.5m UK social network where you can meet and interact with WeeMees, play games and create your own online cartoon page.
2006 – May WeeWorld $15.5m UK social network where you can meet and interact with WeeMees, play games and create your own online cartoon page.
2006 – Nov watAgame Undis Denmark an international media company bringing the goSupermodel concept to girls around the globe. goSupermodel.com is a safe hang-out, all about creativity, self expression and social play.
2007 – Oct watAgame $4m Denmark an international media company bringing the goSupermodel concept to girls around the globe. goSupermodel.com is a safe hang-out, all about creativity, self expression and social play.
2006 – Oct LemonQuest $2.5m Spain global publisher of mobile games and personalization products for network operator portals, delivering a vast array of content in 48 countries worldwide
2006 – Dec Realtime worlds $31m UK Software technology company specialising in the entertainment sector
2008 – Apr Realtime worlds $49m UK Software technology company specialising in the entertainment sector
2007
2007 – Jan Player X $5m UK mobile media company specialising in games and mobile TV & video
2007 – Mar Short Fuze $2m UK mass market movie-making
2007 – Jan Wazap! $7.9m Germany vertical search engine, database and social networking site for gaming news, rankings, cheats, downloads and reviews
2007 – Mar Exit Games $4.6m Germany “Neutron” multiplayer platform enables multiplayer capabilities on mobile applications
2007 – Feb Virtual Air Guitar $0.2m Finland Note: The Virtual Air Guitar is not currently available for download [nice – Adam]
2007 – Mar Xtract $2.7m Norway enable mobile, media and other companies with large data flows to protect their existing revenue streams
2007 – May Cometa Wireless $2m UK Our team can set you up with a fully licensed mobile casino, custom branded to suit your needs in a matter of no time
2007 – May Two Way Media $10.6m UK creates and distributes cross media TV shows and games
2007 – June In2Games $15.5m UK brand-new control system for next-generation games systems
2007 – Jun Handmade Mobile Entertainment $4m UK Flirtomatic, Europe’s leading flirting service for people connected to the Internet either via PC or mobile phone
2007 – May Avaloop Undis Austria create a new type of immersive, social, and virtual world
2007 – Apr Brand New World $4.3m Germany develops, markets, and promotes innovative mobile applications in the entertainment, multiplayer, and casual gaming sectors
2007 – Apr StageSpace (now Bailamo) Undis Germany “In sexy 3D”
2007 – Jun Blue Lion Mobile Undis Germany qeep is a global, fast-growing mobile community with over 200,000 users
2007 – Apr TVfun Undis Netherlands international publisher of multimedia family games
2007 – May Minoto Undis Netherlands videos of people playing games
2007 – Apr ESNation Undis Denmark eSports news, browser-based games and social networking features
2008 – Jun ESNation Undis Denmark eSports news, browser-based games and social networking features
2007 – Jun Metaversum Undis – $4m? Germany Metaversum’s virtual world Twinity mashes up the real with the virtual life
2007 – Dec Bahu $1m France Bahu is a community where more of one million young people express themselves, have fun and meet new friends.
2007 – Nov Apaja Online Entertainment $2.5m Finland Playray, an online gaming community service combining avatars, community features such as forums, blogging and chatting, and high quality casual games
2007 – Oct FatFooGoo $10m Austria From trading platforms to commercial ecosystems, we monetize your game
2007 – Feb Zweitgeist $0.6m Germany weblin makes you and others on the Web visible as small avatars
2007 – Nov Zweitgeist Undis Germany weblin makes you and others on the Web visible as small avatars
2007 – Sept Emote $8m UK Our games reach across social networks, challenging gamers and their friends, helping them communicate with like-minded players across the globe
2007 – Sept Trutap $6.5m UK free mobile service that for the first time, globally, combines all the elements of a young person’s social life into one application
2007 – Sept SharpCards $3.1m UK From ‘Pimp my phone” to “hot or not”, our personalisation services (for mobile) have met with huge success
2007 – Aug La Cartoonerie $0.7m France Share your animation: once created, you can spread your online cartoon. Everybody can see, vote and respond by leaving comments
2007 – Aug Spill Group Undis Netherlands We have been distributing online games through more than 45 gaming portals worldwide.
2007 – Aug GameForge Undis Germany F2P / browser based games publisher
2007 – Jul Geewa $2m Czech Republic The Geewa platform has attracted many fans since its start in 2005 and currently 100,000 players visit it every day to play 700,000 duels
2007 – Aug Xendex Entertainment Undis Germany european mobile games company
2008 – Jun Xendex Entertainment $3.6m Germany european mobile games company
2008
2008 – May Caspian Learning $2.8m UK Learning Based Games: Caspian Learning are global leaders in the use of simulation games technology to solve learning issues
2008 – Jun mGami Undis UK mGami supports innovative games in which players interact with each other, and with the environment around them
2008 – Jun Playfish $1m UK Playfish is combining the best elements of casual games, social networks, MMOGs and virtual worlds to create entirely new, more social ways of enjoying great games together.
2008 – Mar Playfish $3m UK Playfish is combining the best elements of casual games, social networks, MMOGs and virtual worlds to create entirely new, more social ways of enjoying great games together.
2008 – Apr Metaboli $7.8m France Download and play several hundreds of PC games on Metaboli.co.uk. Full Version PC Games, Play all the games you want !
2008 – Apr Eximion Undis Benelux 3d games in your browser
2008 – Apr Metaversum Undis – $4m? Germany Metaversum’s virtual world Twinity mashes up the real with the virtual life
2008 – Apr Club Cooee Undis Germany free 3D Live community
2008 – Apr Northworks Undis Germany next generation browser games
2008 – May Orbster Undis Germany designs and publishes online entertainment products for GPS-enabled handsets
2008 – Apr VOIPlay Undis Sweden multi-game deathmatch platform with voice chat integrated
2008 – Jun Virgin Play $3.9m Spain distributor and publisher of video games for video game consoles
2008 – Nov Tag Games Undis UK independent game developer and publisher that creates great games for mobile devices and game consoles
2008 – Aug Nonoba $1.9m Denmark gaming community where you can play games with your friends and compete for scores and honor, and also upload your own Flash games
2008 – Chapatiz $0.5m France website dedicated to pre-teens and teenagers.

Notes: How this was compiled

This comes from my personal collation of companies related to online games, social worlds, support services (billing, outsourcing, mobile, etc) – which is an eclectic mix of things that I’ve tracked over the years relating to my own interests and plans. I only really started paying attention in 2005/2006 when I was at MindCandy. For this blog post, I re-checked every single company via Google before adding it above, and then cross-referenced against good sources such as Calibre-One’s quarterly deal reports to see if I’d made any stupid mistakes. There were discrepencies, some of which I’d clearly made a typo (which I corrected), and others that were only subtly different, so there’s probably some mistakes in the above.

Notes: Rate of investment in games companies is increasing

How it’s arranged here it’s maybe not so obvious, but when looking through my spreadsheets it’s more obvious that there 2005-mid 2007 wasn’t a great time for these investments (especially in monetary value), but late 2007-mid 2008 has been a lot better.

Maybe that’s the effect of the Global Philip Rosedale Reality-Distortion Field? (aka “Second Life convincing people that Virtual Worlds are viable, commericalisable, and investable”) :).

Notes: German Companies really don’t like talking about money

I tried – really hard – to get info for the companies who didn’t announce how much investment they’d taken on when they announced they’d received it, but in most cases I failed.

I noticed that most countries privately owned companies are quite open about how much money they’ve raised (American ones especially), and quiet about how much they’re making. The Germans are strangely quiet, generally, on both. I believe that means that people:

  • talk less about German companies
  • know fewer German service providers
  • consider fewer tactical partnerships with German companies

Maybe I only notice this because I’m English, and business people in the UK have long obsessed about how our inability to be brash in business (as a nation) has hampered us compared to the Americans. IMHO this silence is an ill-advised strategy, but them I’m a huge fan of transparency in all aspects of business :).

9 thoughts on “Over $150M invested in Europe into social games, VWs, casual MMOs & games

  1. Jussi Laakkonen

    Adam, excellent work! I was about to embark on trying to capture more European funding deals into my table, but superb that you got on it immdiately!

    There are some deals out there are missing from your list:
    – Sulake (18 M€ Jan-05 and 6 M€ Jul-06)
    – Stardoll ($4m Feb 06)
    – Gameforge (German, not sure if there are figures, but it was from Accel Partners)

    Realtime Worlds is in my opinion a “core gamer” MMO developer/operator, and I omitted it from my list similarly to Trion, who’ve raised 100 M$.

    This info needs some some wiki-style co-op to maintain. Would a public access google/zoho spreadsheet do it?

    P.S. Talking about money, I wonder how Bigpoint’s 70M€ buyout escaped larger scale media attention http://bit.ly/4io4mC.

  2. adam Post author

    Thanks. Great original post!

    Gameforge should be on there – but I’ve never been able to find figures for them (they’ve kept it quiet). I knew about Bigpoint, I covered them last month – not sure why I didn’t catch them in my export for this list :( Doh!

    Others – will add (along with some others peopel have emailed me. First email was within an hour or so of posting :) – thanks, Steve!)

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  4. Charles

    Great post – thanks! Its a huge sector atm isn’t it! Half of our client inquiries are about using “game techniques” (or other buzzwords) in social applications…

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  8. Henning

    In 2008, the big winners on the net where social networks and gaming. I think in 2009 these two will merge even in Europe, with new players joining the party, like MegaZebra (www.megazebra.com) and others. Those guys are focused on Europe and will give US entrants a run for their money.

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