PuzzleSocial raises seed funds for insanely addictive crossword game

By Erin Griffith , written on April 2, 2013

From The News Desk

Just when conventional wisdom says The Future of Gaming is asynchronous mobile games hosted off of Facebook, someone tries to prove us wrong.

New York gaming studio PuzzleSocial's Crosswords for Facebook game might be the most addicting one I've tried in a long time. Perhaps that's because I love crossword puzzles and am extremely competitive. (It's difficult to do crossword puzzles competitively.) You can complete crosswords by yourself for points and badges and noises, but the real fun is challenging someone else. The game operates on speed -- you play it against a Facebook friend or stranger in realtime, racing that person to fill in more the answers faster. When I tested it out this afternoon, I don't think I blinked for 20 straight minutes.

It's hosted on Facebook, it's a kinda garish in its design (as most Facebook games are, sorry) and it's heavy on the ads. There are branded crossword puzzle answers and branded contests.

That is apparently exciting enough to investors. The company raised $600,000 out of a $1 million seed round of funding from a group of New York angel investors. In addition to the company's founders, Stuart Litwin of a group called Outside Ace Ventures was listed by the SEC as a director.

PuzzleSocial launched Crosswords in November and quickly topped 100,000 players. The company's CEO Jeb Balise is an avid crossword puzzle player and has apparently competed in tournaments. I'm guessing the newly VC-backed company will improve on the user experience in its new version, which the company's landing page website promises. Balise said the company is currently developing a mobile version, too.

[Image via Flickr]