Accel leads $14M round for games developer Dragonplay

Dragonplay snags its first funding round to grow in mobile, social gaming

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
April 3, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/25a4

Dragonplay, a free-to-play social games developer, announced Tuesday that it has raised $14 million. THis Series A round of funding was led by Accel Partners, Founder Collective and Entrée Capital. 

Accel has backed several gaming companies including Playfish, Gameforge, Rovio (Angry Birds) and Mindcandy. 

The Israeli company, founded in 2010, is focused on multi-platform social game experiences in the cards, casino and board game category. One of its most recognizable games is the Android app Live Holdem Poker Pro. That game is often the top ranked application on Android’s Google Play, with more than 12 million installs and 2+ million monthly active players.

Most of the company's games are based on the freemium model. 

Until now, Dragonplay has found strength in honing in on the Android market. Now the company will put a greater focus on building up its Facebook apps and also plans to release the popular Live Holdem Poker on iOS in the coming week.

“Dragonplay benefits directly from the spectacular growth of Android (estimated at more than 800,000 new activations per day), the emergence of smartphones as a primary gaming platform and the impressive growth of the virtual goods market” says Adam Valkin, partner at Accel Partners who has joined the board of Dragonplay. “This together with Dragonplay’s cross-platform approach and the team’s excellent performance to date suggests that the company is well positioned to continue its rapid growth.”

The new funding will be used to expand its gaming portfolio on Android and Facebook, launch iOS games, grow the staff size, and attempt to penetrate the Asian market. 

Additionally, Dragonplay will be looking to make a few game studio acquisitions in the future.

The growth in MoSo

It seems like everyone wants in on the mobile and social gaming envrionments, especially since Zynga has been throwing its weight around since its IPO.

Disney and one Japanese mobile gaming group, DeNA, announced a new partnership on last week where the companies plan to launch a jointly developed mobile social games.

The first title expected out of this coupling is Disney Party, which has a release date of March 28 for the Mobage network in Japan -- a network with an audience north of 35 million. 

DeNA, which manages the platform Mobage, and Disney also plan to rapidly turn out their second title, Disney Fantasy Quest, on April 2, and the third title based on Marvel Comics characters this summer in Japan.

Disney Party is a freemium social party-simulation game for mobile phones where layers organize parties and decorate their interiors with various gifts that will attract Disney characters.  When the characters drop in, players can greet or take photos with them, which can be shared with other Mobage users.

Also, the San Francisco-based social gaming giant Zynga is now rumored to be going after yet another rival game developer, only days after spending $180 million to buy OMGPOP, the makers of the hit mobile game Draw Something. 

This time it is Glu Mobile, makers of “Contract Kill: Zombies” and Gun Bros.”

Zynga has a history going out and purchasing developers of hot new games. It bought 15 companies in 2011. And, in 2010, it spent $53.3 million buying Texas-based mobile game developer Newtoy, developers of Words with Friends. In all of 2010, Zynga bought seven companies.

The gaming space has seen a frenzy of acquisitions.

From 2010 to 2011, there was a major leap in both the number of game mergers and acquisitions, and in the transaction value. The number of transactions tripled from 40 to 120, and the value of the transaction went from $45 million to $120 million.

Among some of the bigger acquisitions include DeNA'a aquisition of Ngmoco for $400 million in October 2010 and  EA's purchase of PopCap for $650 million in July 2011. Then there was IGT's $500 million purchase of Double Down, which was estimated to be generating $50 million a year in revenue. This deal was done in January. On the smaller but notable end, Big Fish Games bought Self Aware Games for an undisclosed amount.

After raising $1 billion in its 2011 IPO, Zynga it has a lot of cash in the bank to start snapping up some key players in its space so whether companies want to become the next Zynga, or they are looking to become part of Zynga, the money is flowing in MoSo gaming right now.


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