Los Angeles-based social mobile gaming company Grab Games has been stockpiling investments from some serious heavy hitters. The company has quietly raised $11 million to date through its December 2011 Series B round and has an impressive portfolio of cross-platform gaming products on the way.
The company’s $5 million Series A round was led by William Morris Endeavor (WME) in August 2010 and added WME co-CEO Patrick Whitesell to Grab’s board of directors.
Grab CEO Anthony Borquez says, “We saw this as a perfect partnership between our gaming platform and their entertainment platform. Since then, we’ve been looking at a lot of exciting opportunities to create value by pairing our core technology with WME brands.”
Grab has since signed partnerships with Snoop Dog, Eminem, Usher, Kiss, and Brad Paisely, among others.
More recently, the company closed its $3 million of its targeted $5 million Series B round in December 2011 between former Capital Research and Management asset manager Gordy Crawford and the namesake founder of San Francisco investment bank Tom Weisel Partners (both men invested as individuals).
Grab was built through a combination of acquired and internally developed gaming IP. In 2009, the founders raised a $3 million seed round from undisclosed angels and subsequently completed the acquisition of all gaming assets from Demand Media. The portfolio included the Gold Miner franchise, Belle’s Beauty Boutique, and the Grab.com domain.
Borquez says, “I approached (Demand founder and CEO) Richard Rosenblatt because it seemed that gaming wasn’t a big part of their strategy. It’s one of the rare instances when someone acquired assets from Demand, rather than the other way around.”
Borquez and Rosenblatt have a long working history and Rosenblatt has since joined the Grab board of directors.
Grab has built a strong technology team of 50 individuals. Much of the core team has been together for more than 10 years, previously founding Blue Label Games, which was one of the first mobile game companies in LA. Blue label built games for EA and JAMDAT before being acquired by Konami in 2006.
In addition to the acquired IP, Grab partnered with CBS to release of the Survivor World Facebook game. Similarly, a partnership with Fox resulted in the development of what the company calls “the first cross-platform social sports book.”
The depth and experience of Grab’s team gives it the ability to pull off some impressive things. Recently, the company launched a Tupac-branded slots game in partnership with WME and rolled out the product simultaneously on iOS, Android, and Facebook. Borquez says his team completed that the entire process in under 90 days, which is even more impressive.
The game subsequently hosted its 10-millionth “spin” in 10 days and marks the beginning of a busy summer for Grab in which the company plans to launch an entire slate of cross-platform casino games.