Angry Birds maker raises $42 million wings

Ronny Kerr · March 10, 2011 · Short URL:

Rovio, a Finland-based gaming developer, has epic plans for the Angry Birds franchise

Develop one hit game, raise millions of dollars. Sound about right?
Rovio, the developer most famous for the wildly popular mobile game Angry Birds, announced Thursday that it has raised a $42 million Series A round led by Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures, with participation from Felicis Ventures.
Niklas Zennström, creator of Atomico and co-founder of Skype, Kazaa and Rdio, will be joining the company’s board of directors.

Besides Angry Birds, Rovio has made two other totally different mobile games, Space Impact: Meteor Shield and Bounce Evolution. But those don’t matter.

It’s all about Angry Birds, a game (available on most mobile platforms) in which the player launches birds at castles fortified by egg-stealing pigs. It has 120 levels and a good amount of replay value even beyond that.

Angry Birds and its more festive variant Angry Birds Seasons, each a $0.99 app, still hold two spots in the App Store’s Top 5 Paid ranking, meaning Rovio has made a good amount of money from sales of the game alone. On top of that, though, there are in-app purchases of virtual goods: the company says 40 percent of new customers on the iOS platform purchase the “Mighty Eagle,” an irresistible in-game power-up that costs another $0.99. If these app and virtual sales don’t sound good enough, wait a moment, because Rovio has gone one step beyond by selling Angry Birds merchandise--iPhone cases and plush toys--on its website. So far, the company has sold over two million of the $12-15 toys. You do the math.

Rovio isn’t even close to milking the Angry Birds cash cow, though.

Sometime near summer 2011, we’ll be seeing the launch of an online Angry Birds version and, later in the year, Angry Birds will be released on all major gaming consoles.

That’s a big roadmap for just one game, but Rovio also has expansion in mind. The Espoo, Finland-based team, which has grown to 50 employees, “aims to create more similar success stories,” according to CEO and co-founder Mikael Hed. And with Accel, Atomico and Felicis backing them, it seems like there’s little doubt they’ll be able to do so.

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