Grand Cru raises $2M for superhero world: Supernauts

Helsinki-based social gaming company nabs funding, announces first cross-platform title

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
March 20, 2012
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One mobile, social gaming company, Grand Cru, announced Tuesday that it had raised $2 million in seed funding to build an game called Supernauts.

The money for this game originated from Idinvest Partners and Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson.

Grand Cru is entering a very vibrant world of a full gamut of social games, but this Helsinki-based gaming group is looking to focus on kid entertainment across multiple platforms with this upcoming game (whereas many companies focused on social gaming have been targeting moms or teens).

Grand Cru was founded by six Finnish game-developing veterans who have more than 70 years of industry experience between them.  

While many social games are built so that they are easy enough for a five-year-old to master, Grand Cru sees an opportunity to promote sharing and collaboration more than competition -- much like kids learn in the sandbox.

This upcoming  game is fabulous world filled with benevolent superheroes that go around the city solving problems. The game will debut simultaneously on mobile devices and the Web, as well as Facebook. 

Grand Cru was founded in May 2011 in a space with some established giants such as Sony, Zynga, and EA.

Players in Supernauts can build their own superhero or heroine, create orignial world content and create virtual hideouts together -- I've always wanted my own Fortress of Solitude. 

Supernauts is expected to launch later this year on the web, iOS, and Android.

There are estimates that social gaming revenue will increase nearly 25% annually for the next 5 years. As of June, social gaming was clocking in $4 billion annually and is expected to reach $11.3 billion by 2016.

As more social platforms beef-up their social gaming networks and groups, like Zynga, put additional effort on growing their own websites, the usership is expected to respond to the investment.

Social gaming, as we know it, was unheard of before 2007 and grew four-fold annually up to this point, with mobile applications and social networks accepting apps to support the frequent updates and engagement encouraged by social gaming.

One of the largest social gaming companies in Japan, Gumi, announced in December that it pocketed 2 billion yen ($25.7 million) in a Series F round of funding from investors such as JAFCO, DJB Capital, Nissei Capital and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

Gumi has gained attention across the globe since it has touted that the company makes more than $6 million per month and continues to see more growth.

Gumi gained wider attention from US gaming companies when it partnered with EA to release FIFA World Class Soccer to the GREE platform in Japan.

While Zynga has seen a decrease in the rate of growth in social gamers on its platforms, companies working on the Japanese GREE system have seen growth in its user base and the revenue brought in by its players. If you think about GREE as a social gaming platform similar to what developers partnering with Facebook are doing, companies like Gumi split revenue from digital goods with GREE for the benefit of working on its platform.




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