Venture capital firm Spark Ventures has cashed in half of its equity holding in fast-growing internet gaming company Mind Candy, the developer of Moshi Monsters, valuing the London start-up at $200 million (£125 million).
Venture capital firm Spark Ventures has cashed in half of its equity holding in fast-growing internet gaming company Mind Candy valuing the London start-up at $200 million (£125 million).
The deal represents a 15-times return of investment for Spark, which made a seed investment in the company, the developer of Moshi Monsters, as part of a syndicate in 2004.
Originally developed as a social network for children, Moshi Monsters now has over 50 million registered players worldwide and has begun selling merchandise including monster toys and a magazine. It has already agreed licensing deals with many top tier retailers and consumer products businesses in Europe and the USA such as Penguin Books for further development.
Spark has consequently increased its valuation of its stake in Mind Candy, which is headquartered in Shoreditch, east London, and has around 70 staff, from £700,000 at 31 March 2010 to £6 million now.
Chief executive Michael Acton Smith founded the company in 2004. Mind Candy’s first project was the Transmedia game, Perplex City, which played out across different media including websites, text messages, magazines, live events, skywriting and multiple helicopters.
Prior to Mind Candy, Smith co-founded Firebox.com, an online retailer of gadgets, games and gifts, Berwickstock, a boutique music festival, and Second Chance Tuesday, an events business that connects technology investors with entrepreneurs.
Spark Venture Management chairman and Mind Candy director, Thomas Teichman, comments, ‘At start up we backed the brilliantly creative and visionary founder of Mind Candy, Michael Acton Smith, in 2004, and are impressed and delighted by its rapid growth and popularity among children in over 180 countries. Its the second time we have successfully backed the founder in the last 12 years having backed Firebox.com, a successful B to C business, also at start up by Michael in 1999.’