Mobile gaming was in the VC spotlight last week, led by the $100M Series A raise by potential Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) competitor Playco, which came out of stealth with a $1B valuation in a round led by Josh Buckley (Mino Games founder and tech investor) and Sequoia Capital Global Equities.
Playco, which bills itself as the “world’s first instant gaming company,” was founded by Game Closure co-founder Michael Carter, Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron, and game producers Takeshi Otsuka and Teddy Cross.
“Our mission is to bring the world closer together through play. We think that games shouldn’t be trapped inside installed apps or downloads. Instead, we believe that playing together should be as easy as messaging or talking together,” says co-founder Carter.
Waldron says the instant connections are possible because Playco has created “the world’s most advanced web browser streaming game engine, with the backend infrastructure and analytics to handle billions of players.” He says the engine allows Playco to “partner with all platforms that enable instant play whether it’s cloud streaming, google play instant, iOS App Clips, Facebook Instant Games, Snapchat Minis, or new emerging platforms.” The engine can help Playco “build games faster, understand our players better, and iterate more rapidly than even the biggest game companies in the world like Zynga.”
Playco will reveal its first games later this year.
In other mobile gaming news, Indian mobile game platform Mobile Premier League raised $90M in a Series C led by SIG, RTP Global, and MDI Ventures. And Bloomberg reported that Scopely (The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, Star Trek Fleet Command) is in talks to raise at least $300M from Wellington Management and NewView Capital at a roughly $3B valuation.
Playco game demo image supplied by the company.
Other top VC deals of the week:
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY,OTCPK:TCTZF) joined the $1.47B Series D for Chinese EV startup WM Motor, which will put the funds toward R&D, marketing, and sales channel expansion. WM competes with publicly-traded Nio (NYSE:NIO), Xpeng (NYSE:XPEV), and Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI). Bloomberg previously reported that WM is eyeing an IPO on Shanghai’s STAR Market as early as this year.
- Robinhood (RBNHD) added another $460M to the $200M Series G announced last month for a post-funding valuation of $11.7B. Initial lead funder D1 Capital Partners returned with help from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital, among others Robinhood will continue using the money for core product and customer experience improvements and new offerings, like cash management and recurring investments.
- CapitalG, Alphabet’s (GOOG,GOOGL) independent growth fund, led the $250M Series D for small business digital insurance Next Insurance. The round valued Next at about $2B. The funds will partially help Next complete its product to become a “one-stop shop” for enterprise insurance needs.
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