Dis in Greystripe's funding line

Advertising-supported mobile game firm gets $8.9 mil

NEW YORK -- Steamboat Ventures, the venture-capital arm of the Walt Disney Co., led a $8.9 million funding round for Greystripe, a distributor of advertising-supported games for mobile phones, the companies said Wednesday.

The financing is the latest sign of the rising interest and belief in ad-supported gaming as well as mobile gaming.

Greystripe's capital injection also follows several high-profile deals during the past year involving in-game ad companies.

The biggest transaction to date is last year's $200 million acquisition of in-game advertising firm Massive Inc. by software giant Microsoft Corp., which signaled that the business proposition of that space had truly arrived and become attractive to technology and entertainment players.

In March, Google Inc. also struck a deal, acquiring in-game ad provider AdScape.

The new capital injection announced Wednesday brings Greystripe's overall funding to $10.1 million, according to the firm's Web site.

San Francisco-based Greystripe operates GameJump.com, where gamers can download games from publishers like Konami Corp. to a mobile phone.

The company has about 800 game titles on offer.

Consumers see short commercials before the start and at the end of a game. Greystripe shares that ad revenue with its partners.

The firm's AdWrap technology provides an automated process for directly wrapping commercials around mobile games and applications without the need for complex coding and the like by the game-content provider.

Greystripe plans to use the funding to push overseas, which already accounts for about 85% of its users, CEO Michael Chang told Reuters.

"Greystripe's groundbreaking distribution model is recharging the mobile game industry and fueling an explosion in mobile content," Steamboat managing director Dan Beldy said.