Given the recurring theme over the past weeks, now is apparently a fantastic time to seek out some investors to back your fledgling games start-up. About a month ago, online mech-shooter Hawken snagged $10 million in funding, thanks in no small part to wildly successful videos spreading across YouTube channels.
Now, a relatively unknown mobile developer has received $14 million in funding to support future endeavors in the free-to-play social games space. Hey – Kickstarter's great, but there's obviously still something to be said for good old-fashioned capital raising.
You're forgiven if you're not immediately familiar with Israeli games start-up, Dragonplay. The company is relatively new – founded in 2010 – and has developed a few previous social titles focusing on casino-game themes. Development platforms include Android devices and social media, like Facebook. Live Hold 'Em and Live Blackjack focused on card games (obviously), while Slot City and Farm Slot are one-arm bandit titles. Dragonplay has also developed a Battleship-style social game called SeaBattle Live.
According to a report from VentureBeat, the developer has just raised $14 million dollars in first-round funding via investors Accel Partners, Entrée Capital, and Founder Collective. Accel, well-known for prior endeavors including backing a little company called Rovio (Angry Birds), seems comfortable with the large investment in such a new developer.
"Dragonplay benefits directly from the spectacular growth of Android (estimated at more than 800,000 new activations per day), the emergence of smartphones as a primary gaming platform, and the impressive growth of the virtual goods market," said Accel Partners' Adam Valkin.
While Israel may not immediately come directly to mind when thinking on the global games industry, the region does boast some incredible up-and-coming talent, as well as some venerable companies. Starting back in 2006, Tel Aviv-based games development start-ups began drawing attention within Israel's already impressive tech markets. Currently, the region's software development still lags behind hardware development, but there's an opportunity thanks to start-ups like Dragonplay to see games development growth.
$14 million is more than a little staggering for such a small studio – the company currently employs 23 people. Considering a core-based game like Hawken attracted $10 million, after a global rush of online attention from the games community, it's clear the investors see something in Dragonplay.
While it's not immediately clear exactly how the studio will use its newly found capital, the group plans to use the first-round funding to expand upon its Android and Facebook titles. As was duly noted by VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi, Dragonplay's experience with casino titles could prove lucrative, as laws continue to transition in legalizing online gambling.
In a world where a relatively small social-games start-up can find itself acquired by a giant like Zynga overnight, there's no telling what's in store for Dragonplay.
"We are proud to be joining [Accel's] portfolio, and look forward to working with the team to make Dragonplay a truly global, cross-platform leader in our space," said Dragonplay founder Sharon Tal.