Posts Tagged ‘Zynga’
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Internet companies may launch their initial public offerings of stock with a splash, but that public arena has its drawbacks as both Facebook and Zynga are learning.
Zynga Inc., the maker of Facebook’s most popular games, Farmville, Words with Friends, Draw Something and others, saw it shares fall sharply yesterday on the heels of a report from analysts at Cowen and Co. saying the number of active daily users of its games fell 8 percent in May.
That’s the second consecutive monthly drop. All the Zynga games declined.
The San Francisco-based company’s stock fell 10 percent to $4.98 yesterday afternoon, down more than 50 percent from its $10 IPO price. The stock has traded as high as $15.91 (March).
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing a decline in Zynga game-players on my Facebook stream for quite a while. While the games were extremely popular, many Facebook users did not like all Farmville and other game requests popping up on their newsfeed if they didn’t play.
Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz said consumers are switching to mobile games, something Zynga has been experimenting with, although the Facebook games are still its major focus.
Creutz said that Zynga’s games trail more weighty role-playing and multi-player games on mobile phones.
We’re not sure we agree with that. We see people playing easy zombie shooter games, Angry Birds, and solitaire most often on mobile devices.
What do you think? Are Facebook games a dying fad? Would you be sorry if they were?
Creutz cited figures from AppData in his analysis. — Allan Maurer
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
If you own a mobile device, whether it is a smartphone, tablet, notebook or laptop, we bet you’ve played one or more mobile games.
They can be compelling. From slingshotting Angry Birds at laughing pigs, blasting away at tanks or bad guys, or trying to dunk a paper wad in an trash can, they’re great time-killers and may even have some beneficial effects on hand-eye-coordination and concentration.
Here’s an infographic from BusinessDegree.com that takes a look at how these little games became such big business:
Created by: BusinessDegree.net
Monday, April 2nd, 2012
The public markets showed a strong appetite for U.S. venture capital companies in the first quarter but corporations did not as the pace of acquisitions slowed dramatically.
Twenty companies held initial public offerings (IPOs) during the first quarter making it the most active quarter for IPOs since the fourth quarter of 2007 and the most active first quarter since 2000.
Ninety-four companies were acquired for $18.1 billion during the same period, the second-straight quarter of declining deal volume for mergers and acquisitions (M&As), according to Dow Jones VentureSource.
“Greater stability in the public markets, more corporations opening venture units to work closely with startups without acquiring them, and a continued disconnect between entrepreneurs’ asking price and what corporations are willing to pay have contributed to a steady decline in M&A activity,” said Jessica Canning, global research director for Dow Jones VentureSource.
Small- and Mid-Cap IPOs Take Center Stage
Twenty companies raised $1.4 billion through public offerings in the first quarter, significantly more exits and capital than the 11 IPOs that raised $768 million during the first quarter of last year.
“Big exits by Groupon and Zynga dominated the end of 2011, but small- and mid-cap IPOs have taken center stage so far this year,” said Zoran Basich, editor of Dow Jones VentureWire. “The public markets proved receptive to a broad range of companies, which is a positive sign for the industry.”
Currently, 50 U.S. venture-backed companies are in IPO registration. Thirteen of those companies filed during the first quarter.
It took companies a median of $68 million and 7.7 years to reach an IPO. That represents a 22% drop in capital raised but an increase in time from 6.2 years during the same period a year ago.
Google, 2011′s Most Active Acquirer, Sits Out As Groupon Steps Up
Ninety-four mergers, acquisitions and buyouts raised $18.1 billion in the first quarter, a 32% decrease in deals and 42% increase in capital raised from the same period last year. The median price paid for a company spiked to $190 million from$43 million in the first quarter of last year.
Notably, Google, which was the most active acquirer of venture companies in 2011 with 12 acquisitions, did not buy any companies in the first quarter of 2012. Groupon, however, has been snapping up venture companies at a pace that rivals Google’s in 2011. Flush with cash after raising $700 million through its November IPO, Groupon acquired six venture companies in the first quarter, double the three acquisitions the company made throughout 2011.
To reach an M&A or buyout, companies raised a median of $13 million in venture financing, 13% less than in the first quarter of 2011, and took a median of 4.9 years to build their company, slightly more time than the 4.6-year median a year earlier.
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
By Joe Procopio
Last night at dinner, Windsor Circle’s Matt Williamson was a busy man. In between bites and drinks, he filled pages in a notebook with research on a number of investors who introduced themselves after his pitch. The beautiful thing was there was a veritable cornucopia of information to be had among the six of us at dinner, and by the time it was over, he was armed.
Williamson says, “It’s been an incredible experience being in such a tight concentration of venture capitalists. The overwhelming response is that we’re a compelling story for such a short amount of time that Windsor Circle has been around. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how helpful the VCs are.”
He said a lot more than that, but I blacked out. It was late.
He’s not alone. Several startups are making that upward swing from the pitches into meetings, and if yesterday was an explosion of activity, then this morning and afternoon should be buzzing with follow up.
Not Just Digital
PodPonics is an Atlanta based high tech agriculture startup, converting shipping containers into high tech controlled growing environments producing fresher, urban, weather-safe produce — in other words better and faster with incredible yield. These containers can be stacked 10 high to produce 150x yield per acre.
That’s a game changer.
CEO Matt Liotta will present this afternoon. But they’ve been networking and meeting people in preparation. They say it’s a good setup, allowing mass concentration of conversation is short periods of time and they’ve been able to generate interest before they even take the stage.
Not Just Deals
It isn’t just the dealmaking though. This year, I’ve met more entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs who are here just to get the lay of the land and figure out how to take the next steps with their idea or fledgling company.
The panels have also been refreshingly honest. The first sentence I heard in the Venture Capital Outlook session was that “the wheels fell off on August 15th.” Having been out in the field raising money at that point, I absolutely agree with that. It’s like the mirage vanished.
Overall, there seems to be a lot of activity in the $1 billion plus range, and a lot in the under $100 million range, with a big black hole in the sweet spot. This is troubling for those early-stage graduates, but with such an emphasis on customers and revenue over the last four years, it’s certainly not a shocker.
There is a lot of visceral reaction to crowd-funding, and you’re going to see a lot more in this space in the near future, and it will probably be volatile and filled with argument.
It’s tricky, to say the least. There was a lot of talk about how it can and should be done, not only from a legal perspective but also making sure that you can get follow on money and that there are no surprises going into your next round.
However it can’t be ignored. Kickstarter, though not technically crowd-funding but more beta-product pre-purchase (or free T-shirt), has done three $1 million plus deals already this year.
So while Groupon, Facebook, and Zynga dominate the exit talk, crowd funding made up a large portion of the entry talk.
But it wasn’t the only talk. Angels are making more noise these days, and a common theme, the lack of organization in the Angel community that makes it hard to get started, is still an issue, even post AngelList. One of the questions was “where do I find Angels” and the first answer was “LinkedIn.”
Coincidentally, TechCrunch did a post last night on AngelList potentially creating a common pitch-deck template. And while I don’t agree that that’s the right next step, it should be about more robust ways to build relationships between the entrepreneurs and the angels, it’s at least a step.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Andreessen-Horowitz, which backed Groupon, Skype, Zynga and Facebook, has raised $1.5 billion for its third fund, bringing its total amount under management to $2.7 billion.
Facebook is widely expected to file for an intial offering of public stock this week – in what is likely to be the biggest IPO event of the entire year.
Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen-Horowitz said in a statement that, “We’re remaking the modern venture capital firm and entrepreneurs are responding to our unique approach.”
Horowitz also wrote about why the firm has raised $2.7 billion in two years in a blog post, where he clearly identifies that different approach.
“We set out to design a venture capital firm that would enable founders to run their own companies,” he explains. That meant the firm’s general partners had to “be an effective mentor for a founder striving to be a CEO. This is why so many of our General Partners are former founders or CEOs or both, and they are all highly focused on helping founders become outstanding CEOs.”
The firm also backs well-known startups Foursquare, Fab, AirBnB, and Pinterest, which has been rapidly growing its footprint and gaining increasing attention in recent months and weeks.
Friday, November 18th, 2011
Groupon managed a highly successful initial public offering of stock earlier this month that opened at a higher than planned share price which then soared 40 percent. Angie’s List, which went public Wednesday, saw its shares jump 25 percent Thurdsday.
Now Yelp, which provides user reviews of restaurants, shopping, nightlife and entertainment, has filed for a $100 million IPO.
The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. A portion of the shares will be issued and sold by Yelp, and a portion will be sold by certain stockholders of Yelp.
Tech firms still in the wings include Zynga, Facebook, with others likely to line-up if the IPO window stays open any appreciable length of time. IPO activity had dramatically dropped in the third quarter due to economic volatility caused by European debt problems and the slow U.S. economy.
What do you think, readers? Will this IPO window provide time for more tech companies to go public? Will that stimulate increased venture backing for new tech firms?
Here’s VentureBeat’s take on the tech IPO window.
Monday, October 10th, 2011
Two Hollywood scriptwriters are in talks with Zynga to adapt the Farmville game as a movie.
Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, who wrote “Toy Story” and “Garfield,” disclosed the talks. The game debuted on Facebook in 2009 and was a major hit for Zynga, even if it did annoy many Facebook users when their friends sent numerous Farmville requests (a problem that persists with Zynga “Mafia Wars” players on Facebook).
Rumors say Zynga is also interested in developing a “Mafia Wars” game, which seems a more likely movie inspiration than “Farmville.”
Netflix keeping its DVD service after all
Well, that didn’t last long: Netflix told its customers it is abandoning plans to spin off its DVD division as Qwikster and will keep both services bundled on its home page and customer accounts.
Netflix also says it is beefing up its streaming service, adding AMC’s popular “Walking Dead” series to its streaming service. The way Netflix has been stumbling around lately, you have to wonder if it doesn’t have some zombies stalking its halls. The first season is available now, and it will also be offering past seasons of AMC’s other original series, “Breaking Bad,” and “Mad Men.”
The company stumbled when it essentially doubled its price for customers who have both its streaming and its DVD service. Many users cancelled and the company’s share price plummeted 60 percent since that announcement in July. The company apologized, but that didn’t satisfy disgruntled customers.
Our columnist Joe Procopio had this to say:
Why I’m breaking up with Netflix
Amazon trademarks Kindle Fire under different company name
A Kindle Fire tablet computer
H’mm, now what does this mean? Amazon Inc. has trademarked its new Kindle Fire tablet and related products under the a separate company name, Seesaw LLC.
The online retail giant makes a handful of Kindle’s now with more to come. A new version sells for only $79.
Personally, we love our Kindle WiFi, but we’ve ordered a Kindle Fire. We’ll likely continue to do most of our reading on the eInk WiFi Kindle, which is as easy on the eyes as words on paper, but could use a light connected tablet. We found the 10-inch Galaxy tablet from Motorola too bulky (and overpriced), but this 7-incher from Amazon may do the trick.
We’ll let you know after we try it out. — Allan Maurer
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
After being fired from TechCrunch, founder Michael Arrington says he will start a new personal blog in the next few days. Arrington announced the personal blog via Twitter.
Speculation is that it will be more like the popular blogs of venture capitalists Fred Wilson and Paul Graham rather than a more journalistic enterprise such as TechCrunch. That might dampen the hail of criticism over Arrington’s alleged conflicts of interest.
Controversy isn’t likely to disappear from Arrington’s life, though. Already some have pointed out that Shaker, which won top honors at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, counts the Crunchfund as an investor. Is that a conflict of interest?
We’re in a brave new world of journalism when questions like this can even come up.Here’s the Guardian’s take on the Shaker shakeout.
Union Square Ventures, investors in Zynga & Twitter, raising new fund
The Wall Street Journal reports that New York City-based Union Square Ventures is raising a fourth fund pegged at $150 million to $200 million.
In addtion to Zynga and Twitter, Union Square also invested in Foursquare, the social music startup Turntable.fm, and Tumblr, which seems to be the latest social media hot space.
YouTube rolling out new editing features
YouTube is introducing new editing features that people who upload videos to the site can use.
The new editing tools allow users to make simple changes sucha s trimming the beginning or end of a clip, adjusting contrast, color and brightness, and adding stablization to jittery video.
It also includes 14 style effects.
Netflix lowers number of subscribers expected, stock falls
Netflix (NFLX: NASDAQ) says it’s still confident it made the right longterm choice in effectively doubling what it costs to have both unlimited streaming movies and DVD subscriptions to $15.88 a month.
It dropped its projections of DVD only subscribers to 2.2 million from the previously expected 3 million and said it would have 9.8 million streaming only customers rather than 10 million.
The Los Gatos, CA-based company saw its stock price tumble the most in three years, dropping $31.50 or 15 percent by 9:30 am Thursday morning (Sept. 15) and was slightly lower by noon.
Our columnist Joe Procopio had this to say: Why I broke up with Netflix
Friday, September 9th, 2011
High-profile launches from players such as Amazon, Google and Apple are expected to galvanize the growing market for consumer cloud mobility services, generating revenues reaching almost $6.5 billion per annum by 2016, a new report from Juniper Research has found.
According to the report, while initial consumer deployments in the cloud were focused primarily on the social networking space, music and video storage/acquisition services such as Amazon’s Cloud Drive and the forthcoming Apple iCloud are expected to gain rapid traction with substantial adoption over both smartphones and tablets.
Both services are geared to migrating end users’ music collections onto the cloud as well as enabling the purchase and storage of additional tracks, while Amazon also offers a cloud-based delivery mechanism with its Cloud Player.
Further opportunities in social media, security solutions
However, mobile social media services are also expected to benefit as providers increasingly seek to develop revenue streams based around virtual goods: the report highlighted the success of Zynga’s Farmville, and suggested that growth in this sector should receive a particularly strong boost as consumer tablet adoption accelerates.
While the report claimed that the increasingly competitive storage sector meant that the provision of consumer storage in isolation was unlikely to generate substantial returns in the longer term, it identified bundled storage and security solutions as a key growth area. According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “The handset is now the repository — in many cases the sole repository — for data such as photographs, videos, address books, games and music; when the device is lost or stolen, that data may be irreplaceable. Hence, the facility to offer remote back-up becomes increasingly attractive.”
Other findings from the report include:
- Enterprises need to develop policies to cover the use of consumer smart devices in the workplace
- Cloud offers network operators the opportunity to develop double-sided revenues from PaaS solutions for enterprise and consumer markets
The Mobile Cloud White Paper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the study ‘Mobile Cloud: Smart Device Strategies for Enterprise & Consumer Markets 2011-2016.’
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Game-maker Zynga is expected to file for an initial public offering of stock this week, possibly Wednesday, according to CNBC.
Zynga, already profitable, unlike some of the other digital media companies that have launched IPOs, such as Pandora, recently rasied $250 million at a $7 to $10 billion valuation, according to reports.
The company is expected to have a valuation of between 15 billion and 20 billion and will raise between $1.5 and $2 billion in its IPO, according to Kelly.
Zynga’s investors include Google, DST, Reid Hoffman, Tiger Global, Kevin Rose, Kleiner Perkins, Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Foundry Group and IVP.
Among other games, Zynga makes Farmville and Mafia Wars, two of the most popular Facebook games.