Last year we reported that MySpace founder and former CEO Chris DeWolfe was raising a big round of capital to start acquiring companies. He’s now closed on that round of capital and has made his first acquisition. He’s also “got the band back together” by bringing on a slew of former MySpace executives to help him with the new ventures.
His company, called Platform G, has acquired MindJolt, a San Francisco based social gaming platform founded by Richard Fields. Austin Ventures is backing him financially with an initial injection of capital that is rumored to be in excess of $20 million. Chris Pacitti and Tom Ball from Austin Ventures have joined the Platform G board of directors, and the company is now renamed MindJolt as well.
Joining DeWolfe is Chief Operating Officer Colin Digiaro (MySpace’s former head of Monetization and co-founder of SlingShot Labs), Chief Technology Officer Aber Whitcomb (MySpace’s former Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of MySpace), SVP of Business & Corporate Development Josh Yguado (Former VP of Business Development at Fox Networks Group). Richard Fields is also staying with the company and heading up strategy.
MindJolt has around 1,300 games from 1,000 third party developers. Those games are then distributed on Facebook and, more recently, MySpace. MindJolt makes revenue from advertising and splits it with those developers. But more importantly, those small developers get a huge platform for their games (19 million people a month play MindJolt games on Facebook alone). And usage is growing by as much as 7% per week. The company is profitable, although they won’t disclose revenues or other financial information.
In the future, MindJolt says they will add additional monetization features, including virtual goods, and tools to help game developers build games as well.
And the company is going to be making more acquisitions. From the beginning DeWolfe has said that he intends to execute a roll up strategy, and the company is clearly gearing up to buy more gaming companies. Austin Ventures is a good partner on this – the firm founded HomeAway, a rollup of home rental sites, and that company is worth well over $1 billion now.
The company will remain headquartered in San Francisco and will open an office in Los Angeles as well. They are “hiring like crazy,” they say.
Austin Ventures certainly isn’t being shy about dipping into the MySpace talent pool. Yesterday they backed a company that poached John Faith, until recently General Manager and Vice President of MySpace Mobile. I’m not sure there’s much talent left at MySpace people to steal, but more people will likely be heading for the exits shortly. Possibly to join DeWolfe at his shiny new startup.