The Berlin, Germany-based start-up plans to use the money to build upon its 20-person staff, particularly in its new offices in San Francisco, and develop casino-styled games for Facebook.
Crowdpark works on a "dynamic betting" platform, where users are able to make bets on real events in real time. Anything from sports to political events to entertainment news is fodder for betting games on Crowdpark.
"Dynamic betting" works like this: "Traditional betting has fixed odds, which are set by a bookie. Thus a bookie decides how much you can win in any given bet," says an informational video on Crowdpark's "About" page. "Dymanic odds are different...because each of your stakes affects the odds directly and automatically in real time. Every mistake by a player is like a direct punch at their odds. It's live betting on steroids..."
Crowdpark games have some interesting social networking features that allow users to interact with each other directly through the game itself. "Game players can challenge each other in predicting the best outcome of an event. They also can invite their friends to 'private' bets which can only be seen by the persons invited to the bet," said Nicole DeMeo, a PR representative for the company, in an interview with me.
Betting is big business
A handy Crowdpark infographic demonstrates the market opportunity for legal betting via online social gaming. Currently, $3 billion in revenue is generated from online social gaming, which is played by some 400 million people. Compare that to $8 billion in mobile gaming, with 1.4 billion users. Meanwhile online gambling brings in $8.4 billion, with only 13.5 million users.
In order to capture the social gaming and online betting opportunity, Crowdpark makes money when users pay to get virtual currency, which is purchased with real money but cannot be redeemed. Rather the reward system for Crowdpark is contained within the site itself, where users gain status and gain more virtual currency based on smart (or lucky) betting.
"Game players in general are buying Facebook Credits to play games on Facebook. Players in Bet Tycoon are able to buy an in-game currency called 'Crowdpark Dollars,' to buy additional energy or buy virtual items with those Facebook Credits just like in any other social game. There is no translation to real money and, therefore, no gambling or money-laundering. It’s 100% legal, but still with all the thrill!" said DeMeo.
Crowdpark's first game Bet Tycoon currently has over half a million monthly active uses and is the most popular betting game on Facebook. Other Crowdpark products include the sports betting mobile app Fanatical.
Since users can place bets on current events, which Crowdpark calls "social betting," the site carries a Social Betting Index, revealing more insight on the top-trending bets.
“Crowdpark is defining an entirely new genre of social betting games based on actual events,” said Crowdpark co-founder and chief product officer, Ingo Hinterding, via the company's press release.
Subsequent to this funding, Waldemar Jantz of Target Partners will sit on Crowdpark's board of directors. “Crowdpark’s technology, and its idea of bringing legal betting to different platforms, is unique," said Jantz, via the same press release. "They bring together the elements of a successful company: the right team, new technology and the chance to disrupt the social games market."
Crowdpark's competitors in one sense include all other social gaming sites, though Crowdpark is the only one to use real-time betting.