“Social stock market” Empire Avenue announced a $1.2 million round of funding today, led by Pandora investor Crosslink Capital. The money will go toward expanding the company’s team and into development on its virtual-currency-driven platform.
Other participants in the round include iNovia Capital and video game studio BioWare founders Drs. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk. Empire Avenue was originally created by a team of ex-BioWare, Electronic Arts and MySQL employees.
Empire Avenue currently exists as a standalone website and as a Facebook application where users simulate a virtual stock market through social interactions and an intangible measure of online influence. Rather than being the classic “buy and sell your friends” app type that flourished in the early days of Facebook, Empire Avenue CEO Duleepa “Dups” Wijayawardhana tells us that the app adds real value to users through integration with Facebook’s social graph. By participating in trading, he says, “the game will basically lead you into social media; it’s a great training tool as well as something to have a lot of fun with.”
Aside from functioning as a social tool, Empire Avenue is also positioning itself as a business tool for brand integrations. The market recently added branded “luxury” virtual items and Achievements as part of an integration with Xbox.
According to our traffic tracking service, AppData, the Empire Avenue Facebook companion app has 45,883 monthly active users and 36,324 daily active users.