There are a couple dimensions to Zynga’s new $15.2 million funding. One is time. VentureBeat and peHUB reported the company’s latest regulatory filing earlier today. But, we heard rumors about “another round” of some sort that it was raising, back in April of this year.
One source, who previously said Zynga had raised money in late June, has reiterated that point to us now. Meanwhile, Zynga has denied a new round of funding or not commented, at least up until today.
The filing shows that it was an extension of an existing round. That’s one of the ways that the company could have credibly denied a “new round” up to this point.
In terms of investors, the money apparently came from existing ones, as the filing — a legal document that the company has to submit to the government about any fundraising activity — doesn’t list any others. Zynga’s investors include: Kleiner Perkins, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures, who together have put in $4o million to date; we have more recently heard that Zynga’s banker has been Allen & Co., and earlier this year the company was intending to raise a round worth between $500 million and $600 million.
Getting the Full Picture
The other dimension is space — between how much the company is rumored to be making and what its valuation is. We hear the valuation is around $625 million, although the company isn’t telling us anything beyond confirming the filing. We have heard various rumors about Zynga’s revenue, with the number increasing over the course of this past year to $50 million, then $100 million, then $200 million. These days we hear far more incredible rumors, that we’re not confident enough about to publish here.
The two dimensions reveal more about what Zynga’s funding situation probably is: Old news.
That’d be back before it saw massive growth with games like virtual farm game FarmVille, then virtual restaurant Café World and most recently virtual aquarium FishVille. While those sorts of games are often considered within the industry to make less money than older titles like poker, role-playing mafia games, and other early Zynga titles, the new ones have also gotten even bigger. And, each clearly monetizes through getting many users to come back every day and play, and buy virtual currency or earn currency through advertising offers. It is no suprise that revenue rumors keep going up. Note: The presence of scammy offers, their removal, then Zynga’s decision to remove all offers for the time being, mean the company could possibly see a revenue drop, or at least slowdown — it has said that a third of its revenue comes from offers.
There is also the matter of profit. How much more money is Zynga bringing in than paying out? The company doesn’t say how it spends its money, of course, but millions are visibly spent on advertising within Facebook, like the FishVille ads that have been everywhere for the last few weeks. If the new funding did come in June, we’d be interested to know how it helped spur FarmVille’s massive growth over the course of the summer, or what key acquisitions it might have gone towards.
Until the company clarifies when this funding happened, we should not conclude that it is new. As a result, if the valuation of $625 million is months old, we can only assume that Zynga is worth far more now. Possibly as a result of these reasons, we heard rumors earlier this fall that the company had been talking to Electronic Arts about an acquisition with an asking price of around $1 billion. Instead, as it turned out, EA bought Playfish in a deal worth up to $400 million — while Zynga appears headed to an initial public offering.[Zynga billboard image via Hiten Shah]