Following Rovio’s footsteps, Pixowl raises $1.2 million to expand on its cartoony-cute Grub series

Mobile game company Pixowl announced today it has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Angel List. Investors in the company now include 500 Startups, Kima Ventures and Pymar Venture. The company had previously received $100,000 in initial funding from serial entrepreneurs Martin Varsavsky and Fabrice Grinda.

Pixowl already has a userbase of 10 million active players — 8 million of which come from its family friendly arcade title Doodle Grub, which was created for the company by popular French cartoonist Laurel. Pixowl will use its new funding to follow the path set by the likes of Rovio and Outfit7 — bringing The Grub to life with more mobile games and a line of toys, comic books and other merchandise.

“If you look at video game companies they [tend to] do many games in a year. Our strategy is to focus on characters. We don’t have to think about which game we have to do this month. We want to develop a franchise,” explains Pixowl CEO Arthur Madrid of his company’s strategy. “We believe people will like to play with this character. People follow you because they want to know more about the character.”

The strategy seems to be working for Pixowl so far — Madrid tells us his company spent less than $75,000 to develop and market Doodle Grub, and the title was able to break into the top 10 of the free app charts in the U.S., France and Germany.

The company is currently working on the Doodle Grub follow-up title Greedy Grub.  Unlike its casual leaning fore-bearer, Madrid tells us Greedy Grub will blend RPG and time management elements, and will include more storytelling and character development.

Pixowl currently employs 20 people between its offices in France, Argentina and the U.S., and it plans to use its new funding to hire more U.S. staff, particularly ones with entertainment industry experience.

“[We’re hiring for] marketing and artists,” says Madrid. “Because of our strategy we want to make comic books and we’re working on a 10 minutes cartoon. This strategy will be managed from the U.S.”