Crowdpark, a Berlin-headquartered game developer, announced today that it has raised $6 million in series B financing from top German venture capital firms, Target Partners and existing investor, Earlybird Venture Capital. Waldemar Jantz, partner at Target Partners, will be joining the startup’s board as a result of the investment. The new round of funding brings Crowdpark’s total to $8 million.
Why should you care? Well, Crowdpark is aiming to give gamers their fix of legal gambling, er, betting. Using its patented “dynamic betting” technology, Crowdpark enables forecasting in realtime for social gaming in much the same way the brave among us play the stock market. Unlike its social gaming competitors, the German startup allows gamers to compete against each other in betting events using virtual currency. This includes the opportunity to bet on real world events taking place in everything from sports and entertainment to news and technology.
Other developers in the larger category of casino games have mostly focused on slot machines and card games (read: Poker, Blackjack), bingo, or roulette. Unlike, say, Zynga Poker, Crowdpark’s “Bet Tycoon” brings live betting to Facebook, allowing you to challenge your friends to bet on a wide range of realtime events, with each bet becoming an opportunity to move up the rankings, show off to friends via social networks, and rack up virtual currency. Generally speaking, betting is a one-time only event (as you have to wait until the event expires to reap what rewards may come), but Crowdpark lets users bet throughout the lifecycle of a sporting event, for example.
And since the winnings are all based on virtual currency, no real money changes hands, it’s all legal — and avoids that shady “gambling” moniker. Crowdpark also thinks that it can offer a great value proposition for its users by building a cross-platform social betting service. While online gambling and betting companies are eager to move into Facebook, Crowdpark is already there with Bet Tycoon (as well as the Web), and will soon be offering a mobile game for Android and iOS where bets can be made instantly on your smartphones and tablets.
Crowdpark plans to use its new round of funding to speed up the development of its cross-platform functionality, develop new games, and ramp up hiring to build on the early success of Bet Tycoon, which is currently seeing around 500K monthly active users on Facebook.
As for a sneak peak at the kind of games Crowdpark plans to release on mobile? A game called Fanatical, which is currently in development, targets sports fans in such a way as to combine Foursquare with realtime, location-enabled betting. This means that users will be able to check in wherever they are, through their platform of choice, placing bets, collecting badges, joining in on friends’ bets, and issuing challenges to everyone else using the app at TGIFriday’s.
From betting on who will win (or score the most goals) in a FC Barcelona/Real Madrid match to what Obama’s approval rating will be by the end of the week, to who will get voted off American Idol, the topics are diverse — and users can cash out at any point to redeem their points for virtual currency. The platform also includes the “Crowdpark Social Betting Index”, updated weekly, to reveal insights on top-trending bets, and who’s raking in the most cash.
For more on Crowdpark and its social betting platform, check out the video below: