MMJK, parent company of online poker site PurePlay, has raised $2.8 million of a $4.8 million round, according to an SEC filing published this week. I’ve called and emailed the company for comment, but have not yet received any response.
Besides founders and original investors Jason Kellerman (CEO) and Marc Marin, also listed on the filing are Salil Deshpande (general partner at Bay Partners), Ed O’Dea (partner at CFOs2GO), and Evan Hoff (director at Capricorn Capital Consulting).
Bay Partners had previously invested in PurePlay alongside some pretty noteworthy Silicon Valley investors: Ron Conway (super angel), Tim Draper (founder of founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Steve Jurvetson (managing director at DFJ), Mike Orsak (Worldview general partner), and Owen Van Natta (former MySpace CEO, current Zynga EVP).
So what? It’s yet another smaller-than-the-median funding round for yet another online poker site with a few big names attached: nothing to get too excited about, right?
The new funding arrives in PurePlay’s pockets less than a week after the U.S. Department of Justice seized websites operated by Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, three of the most popular online poker sites and ones that millions of users had been visiting each month to play for real money. Supposedly, the websites were in violation of a 2006 federal law prohibiting Web gambling sites from accepting payments.
However, it’s a controversial move, analysts are saying, because the law is not black and white about online gambling. Either way, it’s a hot topic and demonstrates how big a market online poker could be.
Enter PurePlay, which holds an interesting hand all its own: it’s online poker where users can play for real cash, even though it’s not exactly a gambling site.
Players who sign up as Basic or Player’s Club members, which involves paying real money for “Play Money Chips,” can enter tournaments like the $10,000 World Series Final, taking place in May. Whoever wins the tournament can choose between a $10,000 seat at the 2011 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas or $2500 in cash, with runners-up receiving incrementally smaller prizes.
It’s like gambling without the illegal.
PurePlay also hosts advertising-supported free games, for users who just want to play poker online.
Founded in 2006, MMJK’s PurePlay is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif.