The last time we spoke with Seattle-based Facebook Platform startup Jambool last summer, the company was developing its own network of Facebook applications. Since then, however, the company has quietly been focused on developing its own payments platform and virtual economy tools for social network applications and online games.
According to CEO Vikas Gupta, Jambool closed a (previously undisclosed) $1 million round of funding in Q3 2008 from Hit Forge (Naval Ravikant), Charles River Ventures (Jim Scheinman), and Bay Partners (Salil Deshpande). And at the end of last year, the company launched its SocialGold payments and virtual economy platform for social applications and games.
Now, SocialGold is live on several applications on Facebook and MySpace, including (Lil) Green Patch on Facebook (see the “Buy Gold” feature). In addition, SocialGold is integrated and live with SuperRewards and SocialCash on applications like Pieces of Flair and Mob Wars.
The SocialGold platform enables payment with credit cards and bank accounts through PayPal, Amazon, and Google – as well as mobile phone payment in 37 countries through other partners. In addition, SocialGold provides virtual economy dashboards so that developers can learn about payment patterns amongst their users. While Gupta isn’t ready to share these publicly yet, we saw a beta version and they look good. Reports include per-capita money sourced vs. sunk, price elasticity comparisons for virtual goods, and top items purchased within any timeframe after a credit purchase.
Tonight, SocialGold is turning on a self serve system and a new payments widget for developers interested in trying out the service in their Facebook applications. The API is built for quick integration with Facebook (through FBML), but support for other platforms will be coming soon. Here’s how it looks:
Overall, Jambool’s shift makes sense, given Gupta’s background as a lead developer on many of Amazon’s core payment systems (from 1999-2004) and the continued growth of virtual goods transactions revenues for Facebook application and game developers. It also remains unclear when Facebook will develop an in-house Platform payments system itself. We’ll continue following this space closely in the months ahead.