Thursday, October 04, 2007 Huge amounts of venture capital rushing to virtual world companies

"For the last couple of weeks, I've been researching the fact that a lot of venture capital has been flowing into companies building virtual worlds or the technologies behind them.

On just a quick survey of things I'd seen recently, I found several examples of significant investments by either VCs or angels: CBS and Gladwyne Partners putting $7 million into The Electric Sheep Company; Charles River Ventures putting $2 million into Areae and $5.5 million in Conduit; Gladwyne's investment into Anshe Chung Studios; Sterling Stamos Capital Management's $4 million into Multiverse; and others.

Well, just as I was about to get serious about this story, I got a press release today from Virtual Worlds Management, the folks putting on the Virtual Worlds conference in San Jose, Calif., next week, touting the fact that its research shows that, in total, there has been $1 billion invested in virtual worlds in the last year.

Wow, I thought. I knew there was something serious going on here, but $1 billion?

In the end, though, I'm not surprised. Virtual worlds are everywhere these days. From those getting huge amounts of media attention, like Second Life and World of Warcraft, to those aimed at children and teens, like Club Penguin, Gaia Online, to those that are just quietly building huge user bases like Habbo Hotel. "

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