Online dating (including Matchmaking, Personals and Matrimonials) is making waves across the world. In this era of online networking, dating on the net has revolutionized the age old profession of matchmaking by making it more affordable and convenient to the masses. According to Hitwise there are more than 1,421 sites in the Lifestyle – Dating category in the US.
Online dating services started catching up in 2001 and have grown phenomenally over the next few years to emerge as a $500 million-plus industry in 2005. According to Marketdata the dating sites make up 49% of the dating services industry. At least 15% of the U.S. Internet users visit an online dating site each month. The online dating services market is expected to be $650 million by 2008. >>>
SM: How did you finance the different phases of the company? Seed? Angel? VC? Corporate?
JW: I supplied a very small amount of seed capital that basically covered expenses while we secured our first round of venture funding. The $5 million Series A was led by Trinity Ventures and Mayfield Fund in mid-2004. Rustic Canyon led a $5 million Series B in December 2005.
SM: What financing stage are you at right now? Will you be raising more money? What timeframe? What is your ideal investor?
JW: PlayFirst is approaching profitability. We may raise growth capital at some point, but this is not currently a focus.
SM: You are in a “Hits” business. It’s like films. You have to produce hits to be able to keep growing. Silicon Valley VCs largely hated that model. How did you get past that in your initial funding?
JW: Well, Semiconductor is also a hits business … you spend $20 Million and then figure out whether the chip is a success or not!
SM: You got that logic from Gus 🙂
JW: Yes, but you know what I am saying, right? Also, we are not “just” in the hits business. We also also spreading the risk across and diversifying the revenue stream by selling other people’s games, as well as taking a portfolio approach with multiple titles in parallel.
SM: Yes, in that sense, your risks are lower than the semiconductor industry, because these days, its takes 20-30 Million to bring one chip to the market. There’s not much room for spreading risks. You only need 250k per title. They need Millions.
JW: Yes. But I think VCs are actually starting to even take the $20-$30 Million risks on games. The Massively Multi-player games cost that much to build, and they are investing in MPP games now.
If you want to come hang-out with me on August 15th, and kick around the Enterprise 3.0 concepts, register for this MIT Club of Northern California event at Cooley Godward.
Also, if you have an exciting Enterprise 3.0 concept, and email me in advance, I will work you into the discussion.
If you come, for sure, introduce yourself to me. I would love to see lots of entrepreneurs in the audience, and no, this event is not restricted to MIT Alums.
By Frank Lara, Guest Author
What happens when you delay your flagship product and you exist in the cut throat gaming sector? How about a 22% drop in your company stock and plenty of time to beat yourself up questioning – what went wrong?
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) finished the week down 26% when you add in Friday’s after-hours activity. This week Take-Two announced it would not deliver “Grand Theft Auto IV” in time for the 2007 Holiday shopping season, and warned it would post a full-year loss, before one-time items. >>>
SM: How did you penetrate the market and get early traction?
JW: While I was at Shockwave, I had the privilege to work with some of the top developers in casual games. We saw the opportunity to help those developers do what they love – focus on making games – by becoming the first publisher in casual games. Game making is an art, but if you want to do it for very long you also need to focus on efficient production practices, business development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, etc. Shipping a good game is hard enough, but creating the foundation for a long-term business is even harder. We provide that solution to our developers. >>>
The Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Learning Lab of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson School of Management, Cornell University is accepting submissions for its 2007 BoP e-Journal Competition. The competition seeks to highlight the challenges of doing business in underserved markets and identify innovative business experiments or solutions to those challenges.
By Richard Laermer, Guest Author
How the hell did lying become so fashionable – again!
Lately it appears everyone has foregone lessons of our recent
forefathers (Mr. WorldCom, Mr. Rigas, and M.S. Living) and it’s right back
to “what can I get away with” time AGAIN.
We are entering a nascent period where it’s too easy to get caught now since our faithful media consists of citizen journalists who will do absolutely
anything for a scoop-like lose sleep and not get paid. The trip down is
way too low these days. >>>
SM. How big is the market? How do you calculate TAM (Total Available Market)?
JW: The casual games market is expected to hit $1.5 billion next year. More than 200 million people play casual games via the Internet today, with about 60 million downloads each month (Computerworld). Analyst firm DFC Intelligence predicts that casual games will become a $13 billion industry by 2012. This is amazing validation that casual games are truly the future of gaming because just as of 2005, the entire U.S. videogame software market was just $7.1 billion (ESA annual report).
SM: What is your business model? >>>