Virtual Worlds Get Billion $ Infusion, Big Media Takes Notice

Headlines sell. Strictly speaking, companies that can be lumped together as being in the virtual world arena raised $200m, or thereabouts, in the past year. However, if you add in M&A activity of $810m you can make the claim that they have had $1bn thrown at them.

Virtual Worlds Management have compiled a comprehensive, if somewhat incomplete, list of all this activity. At a first glance I notice companies like Hong Kong based Frenzoo, which received a seed round from Tallin, Estonia fund, Ambient Sound Investments, is not included on the list. ASI are also the initial seed investors in FlowPlay – which is listed, but no details are given re the investors.

No offence, Chris – this is a great initiative, but I’d like to see a table listing all the investments that have been made ( I suggest you look more closely in the Asia Pacific region, which is a hive of virtual world activity ) with columns including Location and Stage of Investment. These data points may seem trivial now, but I’ve been involved in enough nascent areas to know that over time the trends that emerge will be most the most valuable information, ie how many of these seed bets translate into Series A, B and are eventually acquired or IPO (yes, the tap is turning back on, folks).

It would also be worth listing partnerships and strategic alliances linked or formed around these ventures. For example, privately funded Kaneva has inked a one year deal with Turner Broadcasting enabling the owner of brands like CNN and Cartoon Network to build communities and immersive spaces around their brands.

The next 12 months sure is going to be interesting!

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