Rovio, the company responsible for the gaming phenomenon Angry Birds, today announced that it has tapped the venture capital market for $42 million.
Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures co-led the round, with Felicis Ventures also participating. Atomico’s Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, will join the Rovio board of directors.
“Gaming is where we come from, and remains our core business, but we are transforming the company into more of an entertainment company,” explains Mikael Hed, co-founder and CEO of Rovio. “We are in a mode of aggressive expansion, so there is a good likelihood that we’ll raise additional funds in the future.”
That ability to transform is what Rovio’s new investors are banking on, since it is impossible to know if the company is able to produce another gaming giant like Angry Birds (the old “hits business” problem).
Their belief is that Angry Birds is in the midst of becoming the next Pac-Man or Super Mario Brothers — franchises that spawned everything from breakfast cereals to plush toys to television programs. Or maybe even something that doesn’t have a gaming genesis, like SpongeBob or Peanuts.
“This really is a very broad-scale consumer phenomenon,” says Rich Wong, a partner with Accel. “If you look at the all the data, including Google search trends, you realize that Angry Birds has gone well beyond gaming.”