RockYou buys Playhaven to expand mobile network

Steven Loeb · May 7, 2015 · Short URL:

Playhaven is a mobile ad network offering serving ads to 18K games and 250M monthy users

Gaming companies have to go mobile now, or risk being left behind. There's no two ways about that. A once mighty company like Zynga fell for a variety of reasons, one of them being that it was slow to adapt its game to mobile devices. RockYou is a company that acts as both a game advertising network and the operator of said games, and it is now taking an important step and making a big push for its ad network to go mobile..

The company has acquired mobile ad network Playhaven, it was announced on Wednesday. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but the reason for RockYou making this purchase is obvious.

"We're very excited to add such an established in-app ad network to our family," Lisa Marino, CEO of RockYou, said in a statement. "Playhaven is a great foundation for us to build on, and for our mobile games like Kitchen Scramble and Words of Wonder, as well as future games we'll announce soon. We also look forward to connecting PlayHaven's network to our private market of video ads from Fortune 1000 companies.

What's interesting about the coming together of these two companies is that both have pivoted multiple times in order for them eventually to wind up together. 

Founded in 2005 as widget maker, with a focus a slide show service, RockYou pivoted its model in 2010 to put its focus, instead, on in-game monetization. Prior to that pivot, the company had raised $125 million. 

Playhaven, meanwhile. started life as a gaming social network, called GameMug, in 2008. It eventually became a mobile game marketing company, before merging with analytics firm Kontagent in 2014 to form a company called Upsight. In September, the Playhaven ad network was sold by Upsight to digital marketer Science, who has now sold the company, less than a year later, to RockYou. 

The company offers tools for mobile developers to manage player acquisition, engagement, and monetization. That includes full screen interstitial ads, a games chart to increase revenue per ad and internal cross-promotions between games. 

Playhaven now serves ads to over 18,000 games and 250 million monthly active users, seeing 5.7 billion monthly impressions in 223 countries.

The company raised over $30 million in funding, including a $21.8 million round from Triangle Capital Corporation in October. 

RockYou, meanwhile, operates its own in-game video advertising platform, which currently delivers over 1 billion impressions a month, placing it in the Top 10 of comScore's Top 100 Video Properties. The company now has 21 games on Facebook and mobile platforms.

RockYou also acts a gaming platform, though instead of developing its own titles, the company instead buys the rights to older titles, meaning games that have been around  for a few years, and which are past their apex. RockYou buys them, and wrings profit out of them through advertising and digital goods.

Since its pivot, RockYou has raised raised $43 million, including a $23 million round in January, as well as $16 million in debt.

What will happen to Playhaven going forward, though Marino told Venturebeat that it was acquiring 16 employees from Playhaven.

VatorNews has reached out to RockYou for more details about the future of Playhaven. We will update this story if we learn more.

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RockYou is a leading provider of applications and widgets on the web. RockYou widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook applications and voicemail accessories that are simple to use and enable people to frequently refresh their online style. Founded in 2006, RockYou has over 35 million users, serving over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5.