Time Warner, Others Invest $23 Million in Social Games Maker CrowdStar

The entertainment giant, which has grown its games business and increased its focus on social media, is bringing its intellectual property to the table.

NEW YORK - CrowdStar, a  developer of social games on Facebook and mobile platforms, has closed $23 million in funding from such companies as Time Warner and Intel Capital, as well as China's The9 and NVInvestments.

The company, whose games include Happy Aquarium, Happy Pets and CrowdStar's It Girl, said Monday it plans to add about a hundred employees, particularly game developers, server developers, artists, producers, business analysts and content managers.

Announcing the capital injection, CrowdStar highlighted Time Warner's "outstanding library of high quality, branded" intellectual property that it brings to the table for its social games partner.

TW has grown its games business and also emphasized the importance of social media across its businesses. For example, it has been involved in the funding for social entertainment platform GetGlue, in which it led a $6 million round of funding in December, and Warner Bros. has started to distribute movies through Facebook and more recently acquired Flixster. 

The CrowdStar investment also comes as social gaming continues to be a hot sector. Walt Disney last year acquired social gaming firm Playdom, and social gaming giant Zynga has done a range of integration deals for movie and music releases.

CrowdStar said Monday that it had its largest revenue quarter ever in the first quarter.

"We are delighted to add financial capital into CrowdStar, with world-class investors like Intel Capital and Time Warner Investments,” said Peter Relan, co-founder, chairman and CEO.

Relan, who took over as CEO in January, has focused not only on growing the business on Facebook, but also adding a focus on mobile and global expansion.

CrowdStar was founded in 2008, and this is its first-ever institutional funding.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai