ALISO VIEJO, CA - DECEMBER 12, 2006 - Red 5 Studios, an independent online game development studio made up of key talent behind Blizzard Entertainment ® 's hit World of Warcraft ® , announced today it has raised additional capital to further its growth toward becoming the leading studio for creative, original MMO games for the global mass market. Benchmark Capital and Sierra Ventures co-led the Series-A round raising $18.5 million in funding.
"Red 5 is a creative mecca for the world's best game development talent to realize their own vision," said Mark Kern, president and CEO of Red 5 Studios. "With the financial backing and operational advice of Benchmark and Sierra, our uniquely talented team will have the resources to create the most exciting massively multiplayer titles for a worldwide audience."
Benchmark Capital has invested in dozens of successful consumer-technology companies, including Second Life TM , mobile entertainment leader JAMDAT, and eBay. Sierra focuses on investments across all areas of the information technology sector, and works with entrepreneurs and management teams to originate and build new companies into large, profitable businesses.
"Historically, the winners in the gaming space have been publishers rather than independent studios. However, World of Warcraft ® is no ordinary game title and Red 5 is no ordinary team," said Bill Gurley, general partner, Benchmark Capital. "With the track record, talent and vision behind Red 5, it is positioned to become a unique creative powerhouse in the online games space."
"Sierra invests in world-changing ideas, and we believe that MMOs are poised to become a dominant form of entertainment on a global scale. Red 5 Studios' mission is aligned perfectly with our goals of building the premiere independent development studio in the online gaming market," said Jeff Loomans, partner, Sierra Ventures. "Future MMOs need to combine great gameplay and social networking - giving players the ability to reach beyond borders both virtually and globally, and Red 5 Studios is designing the company and its games around this premise from the beginning."
Red 5 Studios' first title is already under development; a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game financed and distributed globally by Webzen.
About Red 5 Studios
Founded in September 2005 by key members behind Blizzard Entertainment ® 's World of WarCraft ® , including Team Lead Mark Kern, Art Director William Petras, and co-founder of Blizzard Korea Taewon Yun, Red 5 Studios is dedicated to bringing together millions of gamers across the world by creating immersive worlds, intriguing stories and compelling characters.
About Benchmark Capital
Benchmark Capital, a leading international venture capital firm, was founded in 1995 to help talented entrepreneurs with original ideas build successful technology companies. Benchmark's general partners take a team-oriented, labor-intensive approach to venture investing to deliver a superior level of service to the firm's portfolio companies. Benchmark's portfolio includes high-profile start-ups like Infinera, MySQL, OpenTable, Tellme, Zillow, Yelp, and Linden Lab's Second Life, and franchise companies such as eBay, Juniper Networks and Red Hat. Managing more than $3.5 billion in committed venture capital, Benchmark has offices in Silicon Valley, Europe and Israel. For more information on Benchmark Capital, visit its website at www.benchmark.com.
About Sierra Ventures
Sierra Ventures, founded in 1982, is a privately held venture capital firm focused on investments across all areas of the Information Technology sector from semiconductors to enterprise software. Sierra Ventures has managed eight venture capital partnerships and currently has more than $1 billion of capital under management. Some of the firm's investments include Combinet (acquired by Cisco), StrataCom (acquired by Cisco), ConvergeNet (acquired by Dell), Quinta (acquired by Seagate), Intuit (INTU), OnLink (acquired by Siebel), Healtheon (merged with WebMD), AmeriGroup (AGP), Micromuse (MUSE), Active Software (acquired by WebMethods), Centex (acquired by WorldCom), and Interact Commerce (acquired by Sage).