Pocket Gems, a developer of free-to-play mobile social games, has raised $5 million in a financing round, which it will put toward growing its engineering team and continuing to produce mobile titles.
Sequoia Capital led the funding round, and the venture capital firm's general partner Jim Goetz will join Pocket Gems' board of directors. Other participants in the round include eBay's former Product SVP Michael Dearing, StubHub's co-founder and ex-CEO Jeff Fluhr, and AdMob founder Omar Hamoui.
Established in 2009 by CEO Daniel Terry and CTO Harlan Crystal, Pocket Gems is best known for its iOS series of "Tap" releases: Tap Farm, Tap Jungle, Tap Zoo,
and Tap Zoo Christmas
. According to the start-up, those free-to-play titles have generated "millions of dollars in revenues" from virtual goods sales.
The San Francisco-based developer says all of its titles have shot up to the top 10 free apps list in Apple's App Store. It also claims Tap Zoo
has consistently ranked as one of the highest grossing apps since its release in September, an achievement Pocket Gems claims is rare for free-to-play titles.
"Just as desktop computing was replaced by web-based computing, the paradigm is now shifting to mobile," says Pocket Gems' chief technology officer Harlan Crystal. "Our engineering team is on the forefront of this evolution, tackling the unique technical challenges of the platform to bring the best products to market."
Crystal adds, "We began as entrepreneurial developers and have maintained that environment by giving our team the freedom and creative space they need to continue building experiences that customers fall in love with."