Ayeah secures seed for social celebrity games

Ronny Kerr · February 15, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1711

Another social gaming developer raises funds, but this one is focusing on the celebrity world

Social games developer Ayeah Games has raised $530,000 in seed funding, according to an SEC filing. Investors have not yet been disclosed by the company, but reports say CommonAngels and LaunchCapital contributed to the round.
Ayeah develops FanSwarm, an application that gamifies the act of reading celebrity news and other editorial content. Apparently, following celebrity gossip just wasn’t rewarding enough already.
When you first fire up the application, you must choose between three roles: studio mogul, talent agent or socialite. Each role has different advantages in how you spend or earn “Stardust,” an in-game virtual currency used to back celebrities or host/attend parties. In the second step, you invest however much Stardust you want in certain celebrities, like Lady Gaga or Prince. When a celebrity you back (read: follow) appears in the news from various media outlets, you get rewards and earn higher influence in the game.
Ayeah wants us to believe there’s a higher goal to all this:
And that’s the FanSwarm dream… translating the “swarming” that inevitably follows celebrity and applying it as a means of learning more about ourselves and the society within an addictively fun and competitive social game! FanSwarm will allow both Facebook game players and promoters alike to stay connected with today's stars.

And it could potentially steal away some traffic from those trashy blogs in the process.

As expected, users quickly run low on Stardust, the currency used to follow celebrities, but they can purchase more through the Facebook platform with real money.

So how many people are playing FanSwarm? Oh, a little under 50 daily. Yes, that’s 50, not 50,000 or 50 million.

If you’re shocked that a company with so little traction could get funded, consider two things. First, Ayeah is a social gaming company and social gaming is still red hot; every week you’ll see a startup in the still young space securing millions of dollars in venture capital. Last week, social gaming network Raptr raised a $15 million Series B round and a couple weeks before that cloud gaming company Playcast raised a $10 million Series B.

Secondly, Doug Levin, the founder, CEO and chairman of FanSwarm, is no entrepreneurial rookie. Levin just concluded seven years of work as CEO and president of a company he founded back in 2002, Black Duck Software, which accelerates multi-source development with open source software. Before Black Duck, Levin had served as CEO for MessageMachines and X-Collaboration Software Corporation, two VC-backed companies based in Boston, as well as various management positions at Microsoft.

In conclusion, even if your product is still in its infant stages, an experienced name can still attract the investments.

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