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Supercell has scored such a big hit with its Clash of Clans mobile game that it is in the midst of raising more than $100 million at an $800 million valuation, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal, if confirmed, shows just how hot a company can be if it scores a major hit in mobile games. Clash of Clans has been generating about $1.4 million a day, and Supercell’s FarmVille knock-off Hay Day has also been a big hit.
While TechCrunch reported the news, GamesBeat has independently confirmed the funding activity with multiple sources at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Those sources spoke on condition of anonymity and did not have precise details on the deal. We’ve asked Helsinki, Finland-based Supercell for comment.
The details suggest that Supercell has sold 15 percent to 20 percent of the company for a value at around $800 million. That would amount to $120 million to $160 million.
TechCrunch said that Institutional Venture Partners, Atomico, and Index Ventures are the new investors. Those investors apparently have confidence that Supercell’s team of veteran mobile game designers have cracked the nut on producing addictive free-to-play games that move to the top of the charts and — in contrast to many other mobile titles out there — monetize at above average rates.
With its current revenue generation, Supercell’s hit game could generate more than $300 million for the company in 2013, assuming it stays hot. The deal is happening in the context of a new optimism around mobile games. SoftBank earlier this week invested $265 million in GungHo Entertainment, a Japanese game creator that published the hit title Puzzle & Dragons. Another free-to-play gamemaker, Kabam, has had big hits in mobile lately. The company said last week that its Kingdoms of Camelot franchise has generated more than $200 million in revenues over its lifetime, in no small part due to mobile game revenues.
While those companies are doing well, getting a hit in mobile sometime seems like winning the lottery. Traditional game companies are pursuing the mobile market aggressively, but they’re finding it is not a cake walk. Electronic Arts and Square Enix have both lost their top executive in the past couple of weeks.
Supercell was founded two years ago by Ilkka Paananen, who previously created the feature-phone game developers Sumea and sold it to Digital Chocolate. He also led Digital Chocolate’s Finland studio for a few years. Accel invested $12 million in 2011.
The challenge for Supercell will be whether it can continue its hit-making machine. Its close-by neighbor, Rovio, created more than 50 mobile games before it came upon Angry Birds, which has been downloaded more than 1 billion times. But Clash of Clans at Supercell was built by five employees and is now maintained by ten. Overall, Supercell has 90 employees.