Funzio lands $20M for social gaming

Faith Merino · May 10, 2011 · Short URL:

The maker of one of Facebook's top apps is backed by IDG Ventures and IDG Capital Partners


Facebook and mobile game developer Funzio announced Tuesday that it has secured $20 million in a Series A round led by IDG Ventures and IDG Capital Partners in China. Additionally, Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson, who also serves as chairman of Funzio’s board, also participated in the round.

The company’s claim to fame arose in September 2010 when it developed the hit game Crime City, which to date has over 750,000 daily active users and over seven million monthly users. The game is in the top 30 most popular apps on Facebook and has the highest game rating of any app with more than 600,000 daily active users (4.5/5.0).

To play the game, the user builds his or her own city from scratch and runs it like a mafia don—blackmail citizens, whack enemies, and more.

"The Funzio team is unique in that they have been in the social gaming space since its inception and created some of the biggest hits on Facebook and iPhone," said Phil Sanderson, IDG Ventures Managing Director, who will join Funzio’s board. "Now they're transforming the industry by taking a cross-platform approach with AAA quality social games so people can play on Facebook and mobile -- two of the biggest markets."

Funzio plans to use the new funds to triple the size of its team and scale its business to launch games faster and develop them in parallel. The company is currently looking to fill open engineering, art, and product positions.

If you notice distinct flavors of Zynga and Storm8, that’s because CEO Ken Chiu previously worked for both companies. Prior to joining Funzio, Chiu was the founder and CEO of Storm8 (also known as Team Lava), which bills itself as the “#1 social gaming company on iPhone. He was also previously the GM at Zynga, where he headed the XWars studio. Does Mafia Wars or iMobsters ring a bell?

"At Funzio, we're passionate about building phenomenal games that people love playing. We feel very fortunate to have Phil Sanderson join our board because he shares our values and vision -- creating awesome cross-platform games for Facebook, iOS and Android," said Ken Chiu in a statement.

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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