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Colombian social studio gets $1.3m investment

Social Street Soccer developer planning US office

Animation and gaming company ZIO Studio has secured $1.3 million in its first funding round, with the Bogotá-based firm planning to focus increasingly on high-end social games.

ZIO has been developing its own 3D social game titles and animation projects over the course of the last year, and began releasing its first titles in January - including the Facebook-based Social Street Soccer.

The company received an angel investment round in early 2010, from former technology executives in California, and is now looking to double its current headcount of 45 staff. The company also plans a more regular pipeline of new releases and has plans to open a Californian office this summer.

"We are entering a new phase in how rich media properties are consumed across platforms," said co-founder and newly appointed CEO Alejandro Gonzalez. "Social media doesn't mean 'casual audiences only'.

"Social media means 'casual, core, and everybody else', and ZIO is well positioned to tap into these huge emerging opportunities. It's what's next, and this investment is an unmistakable vote of confidence in our vision", he added.

"Silicon Valley's Founder Institute is opening its doors in Colombia and Chile this spring; Groupon, Google, and Playdom have all acquired companies in South America; Zynga just released CityVille in Portuguese and teamed up with Brazilian publisher Mentez; the Chilean government has set up nearly $350 million in venture capital funds for start-ups," said board member and angel investor Mauricio Bejarano, a former senior executive with venture capital-backed Xdrive Technologies.

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David Jenkins