Android Game Developer Bionic Panda Raises Seed Round From SoftTech, Norwest, Google Ventures

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By Kim-Mai Cutler

Even though Android’s reach still isn’t making up for its weakness in monetization, investors are still betting that it will just take time.

Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile gaming company, said it raised an undisclosed amount of funding from an angel and venture syndicate including SoftTech Venture Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Google Ventures, 500 Startups, and former Gaia Online chief executive Craig Sherman and Kal Vepuri.

Bionic Panda is run by a more experienced team, with deep connections throughout the social and mobile gaming world. Its co-founders Charles Hudson and Mike Jimenez worked at Serious Business, which was sold to Zynga in 2010. Hudson is also a venture partner at SoftTech, which explains the firm’s participation in the round. He also worked in corporate development at Google, whose venture arm also contributed to the round. (Disclosure: Hudson co-authors our Inside Virtual Goods reports.)

The company has so far focused on taking proven genres to Google’s platform.¬†Its game Aqua Pets is should be familiar to anyone who has played any of a long line of casual aquarium games like Tap Fish, Fishville, Happy Aquarium and so on. The game lets players build up an aquarium by getting virtual seals, turtles and fish and has attracted more than 3 million downloads.

While Android has more than 200 million activated devices and is adding 700,000 new ones per day, it still lags behind iOS with about one-fourth of the revenue for comparable titles. Hudson has been more transparent than many gaming CEOs in talking candidly about the difficulties and opportunities in building on the Android platform. He called for Google to create its own version of Game Center a few months ago.