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Accel: Why Rovio Is More Than 'A One-Hit Wonder'

With 100 million downloads and several iterations across multiple platforms, Angry Birds is a huge success -- but it's also Rovio's only breakout hit. VC firm Accel tells Gamasutra why Rovio is more than a "one hit wonder."

May 12, 2011

2 Min Read

Author: by Mike Rose, Colin Campbell

Finnish Angry Birds developer Rovio recently secured $42 million in a Series A funding round, noting that the investment will fuel "strategic expansion" of the company. Co-leading the round of funding was venture capital firm Accel Partners, which has worked with major companies including Facebook, Groupon and AdMob. Speaking to Gamasutra, Accel VC partner Ping Li noted that, while there is the danger that Rovio will turn out to be a one-hit wonder, he does not believe this will be the case. "Rovio's got a lot of new things coming up," he explained. "Although I can't go into details, I think one thing that you are seeing is that they have actually become a media platform as much as they are a gaming platform." "With the Rio game and all the different merchandising and media opportunities they have, I think they've kind of hit that point where they can actually expand beyond just a game, and I think they'll have other things that'll be really interesting." Earlier in the year, the Angry Birds series saw its 100 millionth download. With this huge existing fan base, Rovio has plenty of opportunities to bring new ideas to its audience, suggested Li. "They have a lot of users and that provides an opportunity to kind of engage with their fans in more ways," he said. "That is something that we are conscious about, as we are looking for game investments that we think have a platform to kind of have a real relationship with the user." "We are looking for developers who can build additional things for their users, whether it's the media way or it's new games or new capabilities. So I think if you just bet on the one hit then it becomes a hard long day in the office." Li said that, for Rovio, the Accel funding is less about the money and more about gaining a foothold in the U.S. "They don't really have a presence in operations in the U.S. and I think having an extension of their team here is helping them." "Whether it's media opportunities or business development, I think it made a lot of sense for them as they started expanding their business," he suggested. "It wasn't about the money -- lord knows everyone wanted to give them money -- but it was more about hey, who could help them really understand how to do game publishing and distribution and other channels besides the mobile platform."

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