Farmville co-founder Sizhao Yang and TweetDeck-backer Bill Tai have joined a consortium that has invested $2.5 million in Sydney children's game developer Bubble Gum Interactive.
Bubble Gum Interactive (BGI) will use the cash to scale operations via new key employee hires, distribution deals and marketing and customer service, chief marketing officer Paul Gray said. It will also accelerate the release of new products.
"We're also taking the [company's intellectual property] to mobile games, cartoons and preparing for a global merchandise line; so a good mix of spending," Gray said.
Since the launch of Bubble Gum Interactive's virtual universe "Little Space Heroes" late last year, headcount has grown five-fold, to 25 employees. BGI operates in over 80 countries, has raised $3.5 million and secured $600,000 in government grants.
Angels investors and VCs from Australia, Asia, Europe and the US contributed the most recent $2.5 million. The investors include Melbourne-based Starfish Ventures, Tai and Sydney Angels $10 million Sidecar Fund, which was one of the first investors in the game developer.
Tai was impressed with BGI's organic user growth. He has also invested in Sydney retail tech company Posse and fashion website Shoes of Prey.
"Very excited to add fuel to the rocket that is Little Space Heroes," Tai said in a statement. "This is a team that has done it before, and I've been very impressed with their product execution and user traction. Their organic user growth has been phenomenal, and this financing should help Bubble Gum step on the accelerator."
Starfish Ventures recently invested in people-to-people games tech firm Scalify, and investment director Nick Peace was very impressed by the technological innovation around security and safety.