Big news today from Rovio, the Finland-based developers behind the hugely successful Angry Birds mobile game: the company has picked up $42 million in funding, a first round round led by no less than Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures, the VC firm founded and led by Skype/Kazaa/Joost founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis.
The funding is some of the biggest we’ve seen for a mobile content or mobile gaming company, and it underscores how one good bit of content can help a company hit the jackpot.
With the funding, Zennstrom will join the board of Rovio, according to the release. Other investors in this round of funding include Felicis Ventures.
Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 75 million times, and claims to have 40 million active users per month. It’s one of the most popular apps in the iTunes store. Rovio is aiming for 100 million users by next year, according to Reuters.
The funding will be used to further expand Angry Birds to more platforms, not just on mobile but also social media and beyond. Some of it will also, presumably, be used in the development of further products in the hopes of another big success.
The company is estimated, according to a profile in Wired, to have made €50 million ($69 million) from apps sales, advertising and licensing of Angry Birds to date. That’s helped not just by downloads of the app, but from transactions when the game is in progress: Rovio says that 40 percent of new customers on the iOS platform purchase downloadable content (that is, virtual goods).
But some of that revenue, pointedly, is not from mobile directly: the company has sold two million Angry Birds plush toys, for example. That could give Mickey Mouse a run for his money.