Social gaming giant, Zynga has raised a massive round - $180 million. The Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies, which also invested in Facebook back in MAY, has agreed to purchase $180 million of the company's securities. Zynga said a portion of the investment would be used to fuel the company's growth and the rest to facilitate liquidity for employees and previous investors. Andreesen Horowitz and Tiger Global also participated in the round.
Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga who will actually be speaking at our Vator Splash event in February said, "We are excited about our relationship with DST as they are a global player dedicated to creating services that are meaningful to consumers in the long term...The investment from DST allows us to continue delivering on the promise of social games for consumers, making fun the biggest way for people to interact."
To date, Zynga has raised around $219 million in total funding. Previous investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group and Avalan Ventures.
With this investment, Zynga said DST would not hold a seat or have observer rights on Zynga's board of directors.
The question now is: What is Zynga's valuation?
There is no shortage of speculation. But the NYTimes estimates that the social gaming behemoth could be worth upwards of $3 billion.
Zynga isn't your traditional gaming company. The San Francisco-based startup is well known for games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Live Poker and YoVille which run on top of Facebook. These games, which are usually referred to as 'social games,' allow people to play online with each other for free. Zynga makes money off these users by selling them virtual goods. In the case of Live Poker, users would pay real money for more virtual chips, and believe it or not, those virtual can't be cashed out for real money at the end. In the case of FarmVille, players who want to proceed more quickly in the game can purchase seeds and tractors for their virtual farms. The company said it has about 230 million monthly active users playing its games and more than one million users purchase these virtual goods. This accounts for 90% of Zynga's revenues.