Amuso Raises $1.5 Million

Amuso, a UK-based operator of online trivia contests for cash prizes, has raised $1.5 million in new VC funding. Return backer Mangrove Capital Partners was joined by undisclosed angel investors.

PRESS RELEASE
Amuso is realising its vision to become the pioneer of online cash trivia, a segment of the online market worth more than $3 billion globally, following the launch of the first cash game on social networks and media sites just four months ago.

Since launching its multiplayer, micropayment-based trivia game platform, Trivia Star, in June 2009, Amuso has signed commercial partnerships with AOL, Bebo, MySpace, MTV and Associated Newspapers in Europe and Heavy and Rap Basement in the US. Amuso is currently in talks with a number of leading US online publishers and plans to announce a new round of partnerships over the forthcoming weeks.

Amuso has also closed its second round of funding to support strategic activities in the UK and US with a $1.5 million investment from Mangrove Capital Partners, the principal investor at its launch in September 2007, as well as a series of angel investors. The additional funding has enabled Amuso to set up new headquarters in London to accommodate its expansion programme and acquire new talent to develop the business.

The headcount at Amuso’s Barcelona based development lab has risen to ten this month and new joiners in London include two former Googlers as well as a former employee of AOL Entertainment. Ned Walley and Rabin Yaghoubi, both former Directors of Strategic Partnerships at Google, are respectively the new Head of Sales & Business and Board Director while Bill Houghton, former Director of Products at AOL Entertainment, is Amuso’s new Head of Products.

Amuso’s rapid growth means its Game Network now reaches over 50 million users globally, with 200,000 registered users, representing a 100% compound monthly growth rate since launch. Its phenomenal success is due to the unique structure of Trivia Star. The real-time cash trivia platform brings users together with live social interaction while offering the unique opportunity to win cash prizes, in turn generating new revenue streams for online properties.

Competitors opt to play the free version of Trivia Star or make small cash deposits, payable via SMA or PayPal, from which partners take a transactional commission. The remainder is used to fund cash prizes for winners. So far, conversion rates from play for free to play for cash represent one in ten for an average $1.50 entry fee.

Trivia Star is deployed on a flash widget, usually in less than 24 hours, with no set up costs to the partner. Trivia questions and prizing are customised to suit any content or campaign and users are pooled across the entire Game Network.

The rapidly expanding market for online cash trivia reflects the convergence of Casual Gaming, Online Gambling and TV Quiz Shows, the biggest sectors in entertainment today. Casual and Skilled Gaming is now worth $3 billion (Source: CAGR 2007 to 2011) with a compound annual growth rate of 28% (Source: DFC Research 2007).

Amuso’s founder and CEO Barak Rabinowitz said: “Cash trivia a new gaming vertical likened to the early days of online bingo or poker. Amuso’s Trivia Star enables social networks, publishers, even micro-bloggers an attractive new way to monetise their online and mobile audiences, having previously relied heavily on online advertising.”

Amuso: www.amuso.com

Links to a selection of commercial partnerships:

Associated Newspapers: www.metro.co.uk/trivia

Bebo: www.bebo.com/triviastar

MTV: www.mtv.co.uk/trivia

MySpace: www.myspace.com/triviastar

Rap Basement: http://www.rapbasement.com/trivia/

About Amuso

Amuso.com is the market leader in multiplayer trivia, specializing in engaging and monetizing audiences through live interaction and micropayments. Amuso syndicates its trivia platform across a network of leading media properties including MTV, MySpace and Associated Newspapers. Amuso is headquartered in London with development labs in Barcelona and backing from Mangrove Capital Partners.