Madison, WI-based Mobile Gaming Startup PerBlue Raises $3M

5/29/14Follow @XconomyWI

[Updated 5/30/14, 11:02 am. See below.] PerBlue, a Madison, WI-based mobile game developer, has raised $3 million in venture capital from investors, including Chicago-based Lightbank.

There are eight investors in the equity raise that totals just shy of $3 million, a new SEC filing shows. Lightbank is leading the funding round, which marks the VC firm’s first investment in a Wisconsin company, PerBlue chief operating officer Forrest Woolworth told Xconomy. [An earlier version of this paragraph indicated the round had yet to close. PerBlue has since confirmed the round closed at $3 million.]

“They are excited about the growing startup community in Madison and throughout Wisconsin,” Woolworth said in an email.

Despite competing in a crowded and rapidly growing mobile gaming market, which makes up about half of the total video game industry, Woolworth said PerBlue has built a profitable business whose products boast more than 10 million users worldwide.

PerBlue intends to use the capital infusion to invest in marketing, product development, and expanding its staff of 20, Woolworth said. The startup currently has four job openings on its website. (That would still make it smaller, however, than the 35 employees PerBlue had in 2012. The company shrunk to about half that size last year, which it attributed to its transition from making 2D games to 3D games, The Capital Times reported in December.)

“We are very excited about bringing high-quality, entertaining game experiences to the pockets of millions of people, built around strong brands and social connections,” Woolworth said in an email. “This financing will enable us to take our games to the next level and continue to raise our profile in the mobile games industry.”

PerBlue previously raised $800,000 in 2010 in an angel funding round led by Brookfield, WI-based Golden Angels Investors, with participation by individual investors in Seattle and San Francisco, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

CEO Justin Beck and CTO Andrew Hanson co-founded PerBlue in 2008—a year before they earned computer engineering and computer science degrees from University of Wisconsin-Madison—and initially self-funded the company. They later raised $72,000 from friends and family, the newspaper reported.

PerBlue’s flagship game, Parallel Kingdom, launched in 2008 and was the first to use GPS technology to create a location-based role-playing game for iOS and Android, the startup says.

By 2012, Parallel Kingdom had surpassed more than 1 million players and was generating more than $200,000 per month from in-app purchases, Beck wrote in a Forbes column that year.

PerBlue has expanded its menu of games, including Boardtastic Skateboarding and Greed for Glory, which both launched last year. The latter became the company’s most-played and most lucrative game, PerBlue said in its company blog in January.

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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  • George

    What a shame they have abandoned PK. Which is the game that led them to their success. For all those like myself who have spent actual money on this game, we would have been better off just throwing it in the trash.

  • Jon Z

    200k a month? And u abandon the project? No wait, u did release new swag today along with a new event… But broke the entire profile page structure making the game essentially unplayable for most people. Thx anyway. I will not support this company in the future.