ChessCube raises $1.25 million

Chris Caceres · August 11, 2009 · Short URL:

VC's believe South African startup will take the world by storm with its online chess game

 ChessCube, an online chess site, has raised $1.25 million in funding from InVenFin

What's interesting is ChessCube's current business model is free.  Unlike other social gaming sites which sell virtual goods or subscriptions, ChessCube allows users to sign up for free, and even provides videos with chess lessons - something that could obviously be upsold.  

Perhaps this is why the site currently has 650,000 users across 207 countries.  Based out of South Africa, ChessCube says this round of funding will enable it to grow further worldwide.  

ChessCube isn't the only one building online chess platforms out there., which refers to itself as the most popular chess server in the world says it has 200,000 games played per day.  Unlike ChessCube, Playchess requires users to download a client software and purchase a one year activation key which costs € 29,90.  ChessCube, is more up to the times with Web technology and has built its online games to run entirely in the browser.

As for business model, ChessCube's CEO Mark Levitt told LatestChess the company plans to launch a “premium service as well as some other revenue drivers late this year.”

Keep an eye on this company as its platform is clean, easy to get signed up on, and plays one of the most classic and loved games in the world.  ChessCube also doesn't have to worry about competing with leading social gaming sites like Zynga and Playdom - as both currently do not offer online versions of chess.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit