Zynga’s stock is finally showing signs of life, and with the ascent of new mobile gaming developers including ‘Candy Crush Saga’ maker King and Finnish game studio Supercell as well as Storm8 the gaming industry has been reinvigorated a bit. And so there has been renewed interest by venture capital firms, angels and corporate investors in emerging mobile game developers, and especially those with international ties.
In the last year, mobile gaming firms racked up over $290M in funding across 95 deals (deal activity has been strong for a while). As the chart below indicates, both deal and funding activity in mobile gaming jumped to an eight quarter-high in Q4 2013. On a year-over-year basis, mobile gaming investment dollars rose 51% while deal activity rose 24% with notable Q4 deals including Benchmark and Accel-backed studio Hammer & Chisel and a pair of Series B deals to ‘Quiz Up’ developer Plain Vanilla Games, backed by Sequoia Capital and Greycroft Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz-backed TinyCo.
Mobile Gaming Financing Trend By Stage
Over the past two years, 60% of all mobile gaming deals came at the seed/angel stage and another 25% of deals in mobile gaming went to the Series A stage. While there has been a scarcity of recent late-stage deals, the rumored upcoming IPOs of King and Kabam which is backed by investors including Canaan Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Intel Capital may provide a shot in the arm for bigger gaming bets.
Mobile Gaming Financing Trend By Geography
Interestingly, with mobile gaming apps now serving as a global pastime, financing to mobile gaming firms has shifted decidedly abroad. In fact, 2013 saw 54% of all mobile gaming deals go to internationally-based startups. By way of comparison, 2012 saw 39% of mobile gaming deals occur outside the U.S.
Among the most well-funded venture-backed game makers based outside the U.S. are Japanese developer Gumi, backed by more than $40M from investors including JAFCO Ventures and China studio Chukong Technologies, which is backed by Sequoia Capital, GGV Capital and Disney’s VC affiliate Steamboat Ventures. Though China and Singapore accounted for 1/3 of all international deals between 2012 and 2013 to the mobile gaming market, the spectrum of deals in the space spanned 28 countries ranging from Finland to the Netherlands to Scotland to Indonesia
The chart below highlights the marked growth in financing activity to non-US based mobile gaming companies. YoY funding to non-U.S. companies has grown 74% and deal activity 70%.
All the trends you see above come directly from Industry Analytics – the dead simple way to understand industry financing and M&A trends (no pivot tables required).