Venture Firms Boosted by Zynga — A few venture companies that had the foresight to invest with Zynga early on are enjoying an advantage in their fund-raising, according to The Wall Street Journal. Original investor Foundry Group is “already collecting $225 million in commitments for its second venture fund,” while Avalon Ventures is ahead of its $150 million target. Other Zynga investors that may be seeing a boost include Andreessen Horowitz, Institutional Venture Partners, and Union Square Ventures.
Mark Cuban May Be Going Social — Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and HDNet is looking for social game projects to invest in. While his brief blog post on the matter is a little older, a recent article from Forbes notes that he believes that social games “will extend very quickly into the business space… [adding] some fun and competition to mundane clerical and other tasks.”
Facebook Veteran Launches PlayHopper — The former director of international business for Facebook, Net Jacobsson, is starting up a new social gaming company called PlayHopper, according to CNN Money. Currently an advisor to both CrowdStar and Aurora Feint, Jacobsson says that PlayHopper’s social games will cater to very specific, niche, audiences. The first game is slated for launch in September.
3ME to Target Social Games for Music Industry — A new London-based social company called 3ME launched this week. Founded by Yuza Mobile and Newstate Entertainment, they are looking to use social games for music and industry clients. Specific products have yet to be announced.
PopCap Rejects Buyouts — PopCap recounts a story to Develop about its early rejection of a $5 million buyout offer from Microsoft. According to PopCap Creative Director, Jason Kapalka, while acquisition is not out of the question, the company’s independence comes first.
Scoreloop Adds Android Payments — As Scoreloop spreads its influence on the Android platform, they have added to their services by allowing the ability to make payments for Android applications, such as for virtual currency. According to VentureBeat, the platform now provides payments, app discovery, and the addition of PayPal for handling transactions.
i-Jet Media Publishes “Most Expensive” Russian Social Game — Though exact numbers weren’t disclosed, i-Jet is claiming to have published the most expensive Russian social game ever on the social network Odnoklassniki, called Pet a Pet. Developed by Akella, the app saw around 45,000 installations in its first day, and is gaining more than 200 new users every minute.
Amazon Launches New Checkout System — In the online payments world, Amazon.com announced the new “Checkout by Amazon” (CBA). With it, account holders will be able to make payments and purchases online using their Amazon.com credentials, without ever leaving the merchant’s site.