Live games platform PlayFab grabs $7.4 mln

Seattle-based live games platform PlayFab Inc has secured $7.4 million in Series A funding. Benchmark led the round with participation from other investors that included Madrona Venture Group, Startup Capital Ventures and Orbitz CEO Barney Harford. According to the company, the capital will be used for growth and personnel hiring.


SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PlayFab, Inc., the most complete backend platform built exclusively for live games, announced today it has raised $7.4 million in a Series A funding round led by Benchmark, and that general partner Mitch Lasky will be joining the PlayFab board. Benchmark is joined by Madrona Venture Group, as well as existing investors including Startup Capital Ventures; Barney Harford, CEO of Orbitz; and Jason Kapalka, co-founder of PopCap Games. PlayFab will use the funds to accelerate growth and expand its world-class team of backend engineers.

This round of funding brings the total investment in PlayFab to $9.9 million. The company was launched a year ago to address the urgent need in the game industry for advanced tools and services to build and operate live games on mobile, PC, and console platforms. These games currently account for 30 percent of the global game market, and are estimated to account for 80 percent of the market by 2020, with $108 billion in annual revenue.

“The games industry is going through a fundamental transition in the way products are distributed and consumed,” said Lasky. “Successful new games must be deeply networked, highly dynamic, and responsive to real-time metrics. This change has created an opportunity for an integrated platform to help developers and publishers get these new products to market at scale. PlayFab’s extensive experience building, running and optimizing live games makes it the best option for delivering next-generation products to market, and to do so better, faster and cheaper than developers could do on their own.”

Lasky has spent more than two decades in the mobile gaming, new media and interactive entertainment business. He led Benchmark’s investments in and holds board seats with Snapchat, Cyanogen, Hammer & Chisel, EngineYard, thatgamecompany, Meteor Entertainment, Red Robot Labs, and Learnist (formerly Grockit).

“Games depend on live operations now more than ever, but given the backend challenges involved, studios are spending much of their resources reinventing the wheel,” said PlayFab CEO and co-founder James Gwertzman. “The capital we’ve raised will allow us to reach a wider set of game studios, invest in new technology, and integrate with a growing list of industry partners.”

Since the company’s platform was officially launched six months ago, more than 1,800 game titles have been registered, with 160 in active development. PlayFab’s “mission control” Game Manager allows developers, product managers, marketers, customer service representatives, and other team members to operate their live games post-launch with a single tool. Recently added features include a new suite of advanced analytics tools and Cloud Script, which gives developers the security and flexibility of server-based code without requiring a stand-alone game server. PlayFab also recently announced an exclusive partnership with Cover Fire, LLC, the leading free-to-play consultancy.

About PlayFab, Inc. (
Based in Seattle, WA, PlayFab offers the most complete backend and operations platform built exclusively for live games. Developers can start integrating with their mobile, PC, or console game for free, and go live for a fraction of the cost of a single backend engineer.

About Benchmark (
Benchmark invests in and works alongside entrepreneurs building startups into transformational companies. We focus on early-stage venture investing in mobile, marketplaces, social, and infrastructure and enterprise software. Benchmark’s $425 million fund is comprised of five equal general partners who take board seats and a hands-on approach to every entrepreneur and company we back, with no junior investment staff. Benchmark’s current portfolio of early-stage venture investments includes private market leaders such as Uber, Snapchat, Tinder, Stitch Fix, Elasticsearch and Cyanogen; recent IPOs and acquisitions such as Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, League of Legends, OpenTable, New Relic, Hortonworks, GrubHub, Zendesk and Zillow; and franchise companies from Juniper to eBay to Red Hat. In the past four years 14 of Benchmark’s companies have gone public and 24 have been acquired, representing a cumulative market value of approximately $100 billion. Benchmark’s offices are in San Francisco and Woodside.