The Russian social games market has grown to $30 million in 2009 from almost zero in 2008. The half of the market is currently taken by Vesely Fermer (Cheerful Farmer), the most popular game on Russia’s leading social network VKontakte. On one hand, such a game generates about $1 million per month. On the other hand, it costs $30K-$50K to create content for the social game (or even less). No wonder, some 3,000 game developers in Russia and neighboring countries started making social games. Both Russian venture capital investors and Western venture capital funds, who expect the Russian social games market to explode, have started fueling the growth with fresh funds. Last December, Nival Network said it’s closing $5 million round.
Drimmi, social games developer founded in 2009 by Nikita Sherman, former chairman of Odnoklassniki.ru, has raised an undisclosed funding from Mangrove Capital Partners and ABRT Fund. David Waroquier, partner at Mangrove Capital Partners, led the round on behalf of the Luxembourg-based venture capital firm. David Waroquier pointed to the Russian social gaming market’s “high levels of users engagement and strong monetization history” in Drimmi’s official deal announcement. The funds agreed to invest several million into Drimmi in exchange for over a twenty percent stake in the company. Mangrove Capital is also an investor in online trivia game maker Amuso.
Founded in September 2009, Drimmi has a team of twenty game developers and marketers in Moscow. Drimmi, which is headed by CEO Nikita Sherman and COO Viktor Zakharchenko, aims to become #1 Russian social games developer.
The investment will be used for games development and launch on Russian social networks Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki.ru and MoiMir@Mail.ru. The first game will be released in a few weeks with more than ten games to follow in 2010. Drimmi CEO Nikita Sherman also worked as CEO of Russia’s leading online dating platform Mamba, where he introduced micro-payments for premium services.
Mangrove Capital and ABRT previously teamed up in Russia to invest in visual-based search engine Quintura, in-game advertising company EnterMedia and online shopping club KupiVIP.ru (which just raised $20 million from Accel, Mangrove and the others.)
The Russian social network users shall expect a lot of new social games in 2010. For example, the game Vesely Fermer (Веселый Фермер) was developed by i-Jet, an Yekaterinburg-based company with studios in Nizhniy Tagil and Chelyabinsk.