March 10, 2011

Angry Bird Developers Raise $42 Million From Investors

The developers of the Angry Birds smartphone game, Rovio, raised $42 million from investors and named Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstroem to its board.

Rovio said on Thursday that the funding round was co-led by Accel Partners, which has previously backed Facebook, Admob and Baidu, and Zennstroem's venture capital firm Atomico Ventures. 

It said that Rovio wants to expand across markets including mobile, social media and other platforms, and through merchandising and media production and partnerships.

"Angry Birds will continue to grow and we aim to create more similar success stories," Mikael Hed, chief executive and co-founder, told Reuters.

He said in August that he plans to turn Angry Birds into a fully fledged entertainment brand in the way Walt Disney's Pixar has done with Toy Story and Monsters Inc. characters.

Angry Birds has broken new ground in mobile gaming by staying at the top of the charts, unlike most mobile-game crazes.

Rovio said that 40 million monthly active users are playing the game.

"This investment will give Rovio wings," Zennstroem said. "Angry Birds is one of the fastest-growing online products I've seen, growing even faster than Skype, and the company has done a brilliant job of extending it across different platforms and merchandise."

The company said that over 75 million paid and ad-supported versions have been downloaded.  Revenue share and revenue per copy vary.

Rovio said in August that it is aiming for 100 million Angry Bird downloads through the next year or two.

Rovio was founded in 2003 after three students won a game development competition sponsored by Nokia Oyj and Hewlett-Packard CO. 


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