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What a strange story – a New York-based startup that began its life as a dating-gaming company, went through many incarnations has finally hit the jackpot. OMGPOP, the company behind Draw Something, a mobile and Internet game inspired by Pictionary, is being actively pursued by Zynga, which is considering offering $200 million for the fast growing game-maker, sources familiar with the companies tell us.
Earlier this morning Kim Mai Cutler first reported that OMGPOP was being pursued by San Francisco-based Zynga and was being valued between $150 million to $250 million. Cutler reports that Japanese gaming companies DeNA and GREE are also in the bidding for the hit-game maker.
The company saw total downloads for Draw Something blast past 30 million. My colleague Ryan Kim in a post earlier this month chronicled the rise of Draw Something:
The app has generated about 2 billion drawings and is still being played daily by more than half of its users, who are exchanging pictures at a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a second. And Draw Something, which is adding more than 1 million users a day, is pulling in low six figures in revenue a day, (CEO Dan) Porter said, mostly from upgrades but also in-app purchases and advertising.
Zynga bought Words with Friends maker New Toy in December 2010 for just north of $50 million. The company behind Draw Something is being valued nearly four times that. The OMGPOP acquisition would be in sync with Mark Pincus’ (Zynga’s founder and CEO) views on mobile gaming and how it can actually compete with television for attention.
With every week’s delay, the value of OMGPOP increases, closely tracking its user and engagement growth, which in turn is catalyzing revenues. The company which was initially funded by Betaworks has raised a total of $17 million from investors such as Spark Capital.
OMGPOP is the newest incarnation of Iminlikewithyou, which was co-founded by Charles Forman and Dan Albritton and came out of YCombinator. When it launched in early 2007, I was quite addicted to the web-mobile service and dubbed it “love in the time of Facebook.” The company hit an air pocket. The company switched gears to making browser-based games, then shifted focus to Facebook games, before eventually settling on mobile games. They found success with Draw Something. Of course, by now both founders are gone.
Regardless of what comes of the acquisition offer, it is hard not to feel amazed by the turn of events for this five-year-old company that has been trying and losing and trying again to find its groove. As for the final bids – stay tuned.