Last week, social game developer Kixeye (formerly Casual Collective), got a pretty nice pat on the back from Norwest partner Tim Chang at the Casual Connect gaming conference in Seattle. Best known for his winning bets on Playdom (which was acquired by Disney for $763 million) and Ngmoco (which was purchased by DeNA for $403 million), Chang hailed Kixeye for pursuing “the notion of next-generation social gaming, instead of the standard FarmVille copycat.”
Other investors are apparently taking note of Kixeye’s promise, as evidenced by the company’s $18 million Series C round of funding, led by Jafco Ventures, with participation from existing investors Trinity Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The new capital brings Kixeye’s total raised to date to $22.5 million.
Founded in 2007, the company is best known for its popular Facebook apps Backyard Monsters and Battle Pirates. Ranking in at number 102 of the top Facebook apps, Backyard Monsters, Kixeye’s flagship game, currently sees some 3.67 million active users per month. Battle Pirates, Kixeye’s follow-up release, currently averages some 174,000 active users a day and 1.3 million per month. But it’s the level of engagement that Battle Pirates inspires in users that makes it so impressive. Users spend an average of 60 minutes per day playing the game.
"After carefully evaluating all the players in the social gaming space, KIXEYE stood out as much more than a one hit wonder, they are a remarkable ‘hits factory’ with a roadmap to produce an amazing list of new titles,” said Joe Horowitz, managing general partner at Jafco. “This, combined with a highly sophisticated monetization model and a world class management team, clearly positions the company to achieve tremendous, enduring value and to become a true leader in the gaming industry."
Speaking of Kixeye’s monetization model, the company says it has been cash-flow positive and profitable for the last eight months. The company plans to use the new funds to build out additional titles and hire more staff. In addition to the new capital, Jafco’s Joe Horowitz joins Kixeye’s board of directors, along with founding Zynga team member Andrew Trader.
Image source: Kixeye.com