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Angry Birds Creators Hit $42 Million Jackpot

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This is what 40 million active users will net you.

Finnish game developer Rovio -- creator of the smash hit aviary game Angry Birds -- raised an eye-popping $42 million in a Series A financing round. Venture capital firms Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures led the round -- the latter of which started by Skype's co-founders. And in a dazzling display of corporate synergy, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström was named to Rovio's board.

In a statement, Zennström said, "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 chief Mikael Hed added, "We will strengthen the position of Rovio and continue building our franchises in gaming, merchandising, and broadcast media."

With 75 million paid and ad-supported downloads -- as well as 2 million plush Angry Birds dolls sold -- the developer seems well on its way of turning Angry Birds into that Super Mario Bros. empire.

Read the full press release below:

$42m Series A Investment in Rovio
Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures Co-Lead Investment Round with Felicis Ventures Participating

Espoo, Finland – 10 March, 2011 – Rovio, the creator of the Angry Birds entertainment franchise, today announced a $42m Series A investment in the company to facilitate its strategic expansion. Currently, Angry Birds is played by 40 million monthly active users, and the game has grown from an App Store success to become one of the most recognized entertainment franchises in just over a year.

The funding round was co-led by Accel Partners, the venture capital firm known for working with fast-growing companies including Facebook, Groupon and AdMob, and Atomico Ventures, the venture capital firm created by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström. Leading super angel fund Felicis Ventures also participated. Niklas Zennström, who also co-founded Kazaa and Rdio, will be joining the board of Rovio.

Rovio has ambitious plans that the investors endorse and will facilitate. The investment will transform Rovio's growth, allowing it to increase its reach internationally, and across markets including mobile, social media and other platforms, and via merchandising and media production and partnerships. "With Angry Birds, we have successfully launched not only a strong new brand, but also a whole new entertainment franchise," said Mikael Hed, CEO and co-founder of Rovio. "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."

"The proliferation of touchscreen smartphones and tablets has lead to a huge growth in demand for mobile entertainment", said Rich Wong, Partner at Accel Partners. "These growth trends are changing the entire media field, and Rovio is perfectly positioned to drive this change. We believe this is just the beginning."

"This investment will give Rovio wings," said Niklas Zennström, CEO and Founder of Atomico. "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. I'm really looking forward to joining the board, and helping the team to fulfill its ambitions."

"The passionate consumer response to Angry Birds has been nothing short of a phenomenon, proving that the powerful consumer experiences can win dedicated players across all demographics," said Aydin Senkut, Managing director of Felicis Ventures. "We're very proud of the amazing success that the Rovio team has experienced since we began working together last summer."

Rovio recently announced that sales of Angry Birds plush toys have passed 2 million units. The commitment and retention rate of Angry Birds fans remains high, as does the demand for Angry Birds virtual goods: 40% of new customers on the iOS platform purchase the Mighty Eagle downloadable content.

Rovio has been expanding steadily through 2010 and 2011, and has 50 employees in Espoo, Finland. Currently, Rovio is busy expanding Angry Birds to even more gaming platforms and forms of media. The company has earlier announced plans to roll out an online Angry Birds experience towards summer 2011, as well as developing Angry Birds games for all major consoles later in the year.

To stay up-to-date with ongoing news about Angry Birds, please visit us on our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/angrybirds.

(See also: Angry Birds Makers Building a Super Mario Empire and Angry Birds Birthday Cake Should Net Dad "Father of the Year")

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