Jambool, the startup behind the Social Gold micropayments platform, has closed a $5 million funding round led by Madrona Venture Group, with Bay Partners participating as well. The company has now raised around $6 million, after a $1 million round in Q3 2008.
Jambool initially started off as a developer for games on social networks — a lucrative but very crowded space that includes players like Zynga and Playfish. In fall 2008, the company decided to switch its focus from game building to providing a platform that other developers can use to quickly integrate microtransactions. That suite of products, collectively referred to as Social Gold, now includes an an in-game payment system that includes support for credits cards, mobile payments, and online transaction systems like PayPal and Google Checkout; a virtual currency system; and a set of analytics tools for developers to track their in-game economy and performance. Going forward the site plans to offer a subscription product in the new future, as well as more self-serve options for developers.
There are a number of other startups looking to help monetize the social web with micropayments, which include Gambit and OfferPal. These companies also have to worry about social networks launching their own payment platforms (Facebook has one that has been in testing for a few months), though companies like Jambool have the advantage of being able to offer a ‘universal currency’ that works across multiple social networks.