Investment Opportunities in Social Apps – Not Just Publishers and Not Just in the US

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By Susan Su

Smaller developers have been getting bought right and left this spring, and companies of all sizes are upping their bets on social gaming with new funding rounds.

The industry is well on its way to contribute $835 million to the $1.6 billion US virtual goods market this year.  And even though many developers’ traffic has been wracked by Facebook’s changes to its communication channels, there are still opportunities for investment, as leading social app investors told us recently.

This year, Inside Network held our first ever summit on these apps and games that are transforming how social platforms monetize and continue to engage users. Inside Social Apps 2010 featured speakers from many of the leading thinkers in the social gaming industry, from developers and publishers, to monetization companies and investors.

Maha Ibrahim, General Partner at Canaan Partners, spoke with Nick Lawler, Managing Director at Maverick Capital, Rick Thompson, Co-founder of Playdom, Tim Chang, Principal at Norwest Venture Partners and Atul Bagga, VP Equity Research at ThinkEquity on where their companies are anticipating the greatest investment opportunities, and what new players we might see debut on the social gaming landscape.

A clip of the highlights from this presentation:

Maha Ibrahim also spoke with us in an exclusive interview backstage about the specific vertical where she expects the biggest growth to happen. Ibrahim’s analysis falls in line with the trends we’re observing in global traffic stats and demographics data.

All signs point both to new advertising and marketing opportunities for brands and emerging, monetizable audiences for app developers.

Ibrahim’s full interview covers:

* Why she thinks payments — covering both new types of payments and international payments — will see the biggest growth in the coming year
* How payments and monetization companies can jumpstart their international growth using the aggregator strategy
* Her rule of thumb for developers seeking the most profitable markets outside of the US
* How payment vendors can still find opportunities in what seems otherwise to be a crowded market

The full interview is available through Inside Facebook Gold.