Two months ago, Dan Porter was probably wondering if his four-year-old gaming startup would ever have a big hit.
Today he’s a millionaire* and a VP of Development for the New York arm of the country’s largest gaming company. Zynga acquired Porter’s OMGPOP for a reported $180 million with $30 million in employee retention payments.
OmgPOP’s breakout game, Draw Something, is a phenomenon. The company released it just six weeks ago, and in that time it has amassed over 35 million downloads. It’s now the number one paid, free, and top-grossing app in Apple’s app store.
Before Draw Something, OmgPOP had just 20 million downloads across all its games in four years of existence, CEO Dan Porter (pictured with Ghostface Killah) said.
OmgPOP is 40 people strong now in New York. As of today, Porter will become the VP of development of Zynga New York. On a call with press, he said he hopes NYC can become a “hotbed of gaming development.”
David Ko, Zynga’s chief mobile officer, touted the magic of Draw Something’s game, noting that it’s one thing to draw a simple starfish, but it’s another thing to draw Lady Gaga or an ewok. Draw Something allows that. “The game is collaborative and self-expressive, focusing on the relationships between people,” he said.
The company is a clear home run. It had just $16.6 million in venture investments from Spark Capital, betaworks, Rho Capital Partners, Softbank Capital, Marc Andreessen, and Baseline Ventures.
It’s Zynga’s 18th and presumably largest acquisition, and it goes to show — if you surpass Zynga in the app store, Zynga will buy you. Porter noted that Draw Something will not be changing its name to “Draw With Friends.”
*I don’t have exact numbers on how much Porter will make in this deal. I’ll update with whatever details I can squeeze out of Ko and Porter after we speak.