Mobile Payments Platform ZooZ Partners With MobiCart, Ready To Raise Series A
ZooZ, an in-app mobile payment system that supports credit cards, PayPal and carrier billing, just made a move that will introduce its service to 10,000 different merchants. The company is partnering with MobiCart, a platform that allows anyone to create m-commerce applications on iOS and Android. MobiCart already supports around 40 different shopping carts within its mobile storefronts, and is now adding ZooZ to the lineup. In addition, ZooZ CEO Oren Levy says the company is planning to come to the U.S. and is preparing to raise its Series A. Levy says that ZooZ will be splitting its operation, currently based in Israel, and will relocate some of its 10-person staff to the U.S. The location - even West Coast or East Coast - has not yet been decided, but he will be out here next month scouting for office space (and likely, talking with investors).
EA’s Digital EVP, Playfish Co-Founder Kristian Segerstrale Departs
Kristian Segerstrale, the EA executive who was in charge of leading the company into a games-as-a-service era, has just left the company. CEO John Riccitiello just announced it in an internal memo and said that EA COO Peter Moore is taking on his responsibilities. Segerstrale came into EA through its $400 million acquisition of Playfish, a social games developer that he co-founded with a high school friend Sebastien de Halleux. That deal was a watershed moment for the social gaming industry and an acknowledgment that virtual goods and currencies could represent a significant new revenue model for the industry. Disney quickly followed on with a $750 million deal to buy Facebook games developer Playdom. Although Zynga has had a rocky year following its debut as a public company, most of the largest and highest-grossing developers on iOS and Android employ a free-to-play model that includes purchases of virtual currencies and goods. Segerstrale was leading the charge on moving EA into this ...
Smartphone Rental Startup Handy Expands Out Of Hong Kong
Handy, a smartphone rental service out of Hong Kong, has launched operations in Singapore. The company offers smartphones for rent to travelers at $9 (HKD 68) a day—$12 (S$15) a day in Singapore—and the price includes unlimited 3G data and international calls. The Handy brand comes under its CEO, Terence Kwok’s startup effort called Tink Labs, and is its first and only project thus far. The firm is less than a year old, but today has 75 people working for it. It started in April last year, and in September launched Handy in Kwok’s home country of Hong Kong. So far, it has placed its service counters at tourist hot spots, such as at the Hong Kong International Airport, as well as the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai and a visitor center run by the country’s tourism board located in the Tsim Sha Tsui district. Kwok, who was born in Hong Kong but raised in the US, said the decision to expand so soon in Singapore was in large part accelerated by the local tourism board’s ...
The Top Mobile Games Are Grossing More Than 4X What They Were A Year Ago, GREE’s Dharni Says
After a couple early stumbles in building out a mobile gaming platform in the West, GREE did a bit of a pivot with its San Francisco office over the last year. Initially set up after the $104 million acquisition of mobile gaming network OpenFeint, the office is now entirely geared toward building first-party games. It’s a turnabout for the $3.5 billion Japanese gaming company, which built its business in astonishingly short eight years through being a major feature phone gaming platform. (Yes, eight years is short in Japan where the culture can be averse to risky, new entrepreneurial ventures.) They aimed to replicate that success as a dual game developer and platform in the West with a few big-ticket acquisitions. But now it appears that the U.S. arm is just doing games for now. “We’re pretty singularly focused on content,” said Anil Dharni, GREE’s senior vice president of studio operations, in an interview from the company’s Mission Bay offices. “The platform — whenever ...
Samsung To Build A Massive R&D Complex In Silicon Valley
You might finally start seeing some Android phones out in the wild around Silicon Valley. Samsung Electronics Co. just announced a major expansion of its Silicon Valley operations, which includes a gigantic 1.1M square foot headquarters for Samsung Semiconductor and a 385k square foot facility for Samsung Information Systems America.