Rovio set to soar with £26 million

The creator of the Angry Birds smartphone game Rovio has closed a Series A investment round, raising $42 million (£26.1 million) to fund expansion and increase merchandising.

Technology venture capital firm Accel Partners, which has invested in Facebook, Groupon and, more recently, Qriously, is co-leading the investment, supported by Atomico Ventures and the super angel fund Felicis Ventures.

Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, who founded Atomico, will join the board of Rovio as part of the financing. According to a statement from Rovio, 40 million monthly active users now play Angry Birds, a smartphone game the company launched in 2009.

Rovio, founded in Finland in 2003, has plans for further business growth with the funding by offering games to more international markets, and across platforms including mobile and social media. It also aims to further expand game merchandising, and launch other media production projects and business partnerships.

Mikael Hed, Rovio’s chief executive and co-founder comments, ‘With Angry Birds, we have successfully launched not only a strong new brand, but also a whole new entertainment franchise. Angry Birds will continue to grow, and we aim to create more similar success stories. We will strengthen the position of Rovio and continue building our franchises in gaming, merchandising and broadcast media.’

Zennström says, ‘This investment will give Rovio wings. The company has an outstanding management team and is a category winner with huge potential, making it precisely the kind of company we like to back. Angry Birds is one of the fastest-growing online products I’ve seen, growing even faster than Skype, and the company has done a brilliant job of extending it across different platforms and merchandise.’

Rovio recently announced that sales of Angry Birds soft toys have passed 2 million units. The company has earlier announced plans to roll out an online Angry Birds experience towards mid-2011, as well as developing Angry Birds games for all major consoles later in the year.

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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Series A funding