Feeds

Kiwi virtual world creators get $2.5m

TradeMe founder bets on social gaming

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The growing investment frenzy for anything "social" continues, with SmallWorlds attracting the eye of New Zealand entrepreneur Sam Morgan, who has tipped NZ$2.5 million into the company.

As world+dog hopes to emulate the success of Zynga's Farmville, the sector has attracted dollars from the likes of News Corporation and Disney.

Launched by Mitch Olsen and Darren Green in 2008, the Auckland-developed game has attracted 6.5 million registered players, most of which in America. In SmallWorlds, players create their own online worlds, buy and sell items and share content.

The investment will help it move into non-English-speaking market, as part of a plan to try and generate NZ$100 million by 2013.

"Online businesses like this are hugely scalable and can grow incredibly quickly while maintaining high margins. SmallWorlds has already proven its audience appeal, technology and management capability,” Morgan said.

Morgan founded New Zealand’s eBay-lookalike TradeMe in 1999. Dominating the sector in that country, it was acquired by media company Fairfax for NZ$750 million in 2006, turning Morgan into an investor in, and advisor to, Kiwi startups.

"Our next wave of multi-million dollar exporters may well be trading virtual goods, which is a real and significant global market," Morgan said.

Co-founder Olsen said although the game is free, "only a small percentage of players need to purchase premium content and virtual goods in order to create significant revenues.”

SmallWorlds currently employs 35 staff and plans to create 20 new jobs this year. Morgan, Jade Software CEO Craig Richardson and US technology investor Payman Pouladdej have recently been appointed to SmallWorlds' board. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Och aye! It's the Loch Ness Monster – but only Apple fanbois can see it
Fondleslab-friendly beastie's wake spotted... OR WAS IT?
Japanese boffin EYES up big bucks with strap-on digi-glasses
AgencyGlass saddles user with creepy OLED display
Sleuths find nosy NORKS drones on the Chinternet
UAVs likely to have been made in the Middle Kingdom
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Dorian Nakamoto gets $23,000 payout over Bitcoin invention saga
Maintains he didn't create cryptocurrency, but will join community
Pirate Bay's 10 millionth upload: Colour us shocked, a SMUT FLICK
P2P badboys show online piracy is alive and humping
Teen girl arrested with 70-year-old man's four inch weapon inside her
Charged with introducing .22 snubbie to penile facility. It wasn't firing blanks
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.