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COLOGNE, Germany — Finnish games developer Rovio Mobile, the company behind mobile game phenomenon Angry Birds, has raised $42 million in its first round of funding with Atomico Ventures, run by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis and venture capital groups Accel Partners and Felicis Ventures its primary backers.
Zennstrom will join Rovio’s board as the company founded in 2003 by Finnish students Niklas Hed, Jarno Vakevainen and Kim Diker.
With the new cash boost, Rovio plans to expand the Angry Birds brand across all media, with possible film and TV deals in the works for the rotund, sharp-beaked avians, according to reports.
“With Angry Birds, we have successfully launched not only a strong new brand, but also a whole new entertainment franchise,” said Rovio CEO Mikael Hed. “We will strengthen the position of Rovio and continue building our franchises in gaming, merchandising and broadcast media.”
Rovio has already managed to capitalize on Angry Birds merchandise, saying it has sold more than 2 million plush toy versions of the game’s critters at $12-$15 a pop. But Rovio has grander plans.
“We want to be bigger than Mickey Mouse,” Rovio exec Peter Vesterbacka was quoted as saying earlier this year.
Angry Birds became an instant global hit after its launch last year, with more than 40 million people downloading the Angry Birds iPhone app.
The Android version of Angry Birds has also been a hit.
Rovio has signed a deal with Facebook to bring a version of the game to the social network in the coming months.
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