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Not just a Zynga clone, this startup (funded by Redpoint and Intel) wants to target core gamers
Will the outpouring of financial support to social gaming companies ever slow?
Kabam, a developer of massively multiplayer social games, announced Thursday that it has raised a $30 million Series C funding round led by Redpoint Ventures and Intel Capital with additional funding from original investor Canaan Partners, which incubated Kabam in its seed stage.
Founded in 2006, Kabam has raised $39.5 million to date.
Don't expect to see a bunch of clones like FarmKabam or FrontierKabam cropping up any time soon, however, because this isn’t you’re typical social gaming startup. While most of the most popular, like Zynga, CrowdStar and Playdom, cater to the masses with their dead simple your-grandma-could-play-this games, Kabam is going after the more hardcore gamer.
“Kabam has pursued a distinctly different strategy than other social game companies,” said CEO Kevin Chou. “Rather than target ‘casual’ players, we are focused on creating a new segment of games that appeal to a more core gamer demographic.”
You don’t even have to play Kabam’s games to believe Chou; just read the names: Dragons of Atlantis (screenshot below). Glory of Rome. Kingdoms of Camelot. Though Zynga may have acquired one game studio founded by a team that actually worked on the original Age of Empires franchise in the 1990s, Kabam’s games have magnitudes more of that empire-building flavor than any Zynga game ever released.
Of course, bringing the epicness of those classic games to Facebook doesn’t mean Kabam is ignoring social features. On the contrary, users can chat with each other, as well as form alliances or compete with each other in real-time.
In October 2010, Kabam acquired Wonderhill, a developer of the more classic style of casual social games, like Tattoo City and Furry Farm. The company will use its latest round of funding to continue making acquisitions like these in 2011, as well as expanding its team through new hires.
Despite already having blown up from just 20 employees at the beginning of 2010 to over 200 today, the startup is still aggressively hiring at three studio locations: at its headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. and at new studios in San Francisco and in Beijing, China. There are currently over 50 open positions, predominantly in art and engineering categories, but also in game production, human resources, marketing, quality assurance and more.
Kabam says it has several new games scheduled for an early 2011 launch.
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Geoff Yang introduces Redpoint Ventures, a VC formed in 1999 with partners from Brentwood Venture Capital and Institutional Venture Partners. These two firms have been successfully investing in technology since the early days of venture capital. The team behind Redpoint has collective experience of over $2 billion under management - with 32 IPOs and 54 upside acquisitions.
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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 www.zynga.com.
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Kabam is an interactive entertainment company leading the next wave in social gaming, developing and publishing massively multiplayer social games (MMSG’s), including the popular and critically praised title Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis. Our studios focus on combining the best elements of traditional and social gaming to appeal to a growing audience of players looking for deeper, more engaging social games. The first wave of Kabam’s new games for Facebook and leading media sites have been widely recognized for their depth of play and social interaction.