RockYou acquires Philly social game developer Ryzing (and its staying put)

Tom Paine

California-based social game maker RockYou, in which First Round Capital was an early stage investor, announced yesterday it was acquiring Ryzing, a Philly-based social game developer backed by area VC firm Artists & Instigators (formerly SeventySix Capital). Terms were not disclosed.

Ryzing's primary product is "Bingo by Ryzing" on Facebook, with more than 75,000 daily users. Ryzing's gaming platform gives players a chance at winning prizes through sweepstakes drawings. RockYou had already taken over distribution responsibilities for the game, which was released in 2011, earlier this year. Although RockYou's sweepstakes format enables it to avoid restrictions on cash payouts, if online gambling were to be legalized it has the potential to skyrocket.

Wayne D. Kimmel, founder and managing partner of Artists & Instigators, told me via Twitter DM that Ryzing's 6 person team was staying in Philadelphia and, in fact, they are looking to hire more people. Kimmel will also be joining RockYou's board.

Ryzing's team is led by Manu Gambhir, who has Wharton and Computer Science degrees from UPenn,and ran Cantor Fitzgerald's online gaming business in the United Kingdom (I had no idea Cantor Fitzgerald ever had an online gaming business). Dr. Dmitry Cherkassky, a UPenn Computer and Information Science PHD, led the design of the gaming system's architecture.

RockYou also announced yesterday it was relocating its headquarters from Redwood City, CA to San Francisco. It has raised $129 million, according to Crunchbase. First Round Capital participated only in the seed round; later, larger investors have included Softbank, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Doll Capital Management.


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