World’s Fastest Growing Social Games Company Accelerates Expansion
Berlin, May 31, 2011 – wooga, Europe's largest developer of online social games, announced today a $24m Series B investment led by Highland Capital Partners. Tenaya Capital and existing investors Balderton Capital and Holtzbrinck Ventures also participated in the funding round. In conjunction with the financing, Fergal Mullen, General Partner at Highland, will join wooga’s Board of Directors. wooga’s games already attract 30 million players a month, and this funding will turbocharge the company’s production of a new generation of engaging and entertaining social games.
wooga – whose name stands for “world of gaming”– produces easy, accessible games for Facebook users to play with their friends. The team has created some of the world’s most popular social games, including Monster World, Diamond Dash and Bubble Island. wooga has already doubled its user-base in 2011 from 14m to 30m monthly active users and overtook five US-based competitors to become number three on the Facebook platform.
Founded in 2009, wooga launched its first free-to-play brain training game, Brain Buddies, when the team was just five people strong. Today, the company employs a truly international team of 85 people from 20 countries in Berlin.
Commenting on the new investment, Jens Begemann, wooga Founder and CEO, said:
“When we started the company everyone told us the competition was too intense, we would never make it, and now – two years later – we have three games in the top 20, making us the only developer besides Zynga which has more than two games in the top 20. The phenomenal growth that we have achieved is a credit to the creativity and ingenuity of our team. wooga’s success is based on having the best people, and we will use this funding to hire the most talented artists, game designers and engineers. We intend to build the team to 150 employees by the end of 2011, hiring two new employees per week.”
Begemann, 34, added: “We have a ten-year vision to build one of the largest gaming companies in the world by 2020. For 40 years, computer games have been aimed primarily at young males – roughly 10% of the population. But we believe that playing is a core human need, and therefore we design games for 100% of the population. Our games attract more viewers than some of the biggest TV shows. Millions of users spend on average 20 minutes a day playing our games, returning several times daily. Social gaming is about to transform the entertainment industry and this funding gives us the means to lead that change...”
Fergal Mullen of Highland stated: “We are enthusiastic about the vision that Jens and his team have of the future of social gaming, and their record in executing that vision to date speaks for itself. wooga is witnessing explosive growth in active, loyal user figures. It has an excellent working relationship with its Facebook partners, and is best positioned to develop tomorrow’s most popular social games.”
Roberto Bonanzinga, partner at Balderton Capital, added: “wooga is the type of company that Balderton loves to work with. In the two years since Balderton invested, we’ve witnessed the company’s phenomenal growth from a small but committed team into the world’s third-largest social games company. wooga makes games that everyone wants to play. We are delighted to have worked with wooga in its early stages and to deepen our involvement with Jens and his team as they challenge Zynga and EA for global market share.”
Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships at Facebook, commented: “In less than two years, wooga has built itself into one of the top social gaming companies on Facebook through its international reach and games like Monster World, Diamond Dash and Bubble Island. From their ability to launch games in seven languages at once, to making it easy to purchase virtual goods through Facebook Credits, wooga exemplifies what's possible when entrepreneurs focus on a high quality user experience."