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Zynga

Zynga

Zynga is a provider of social game services founded in 2007 by Mark Pincus, Justin Waldron, Andrew Trader, Steve Schoettler and Eric Schiermeyer.

Zynga Inc. /ˈzɪŋɡə/ is an American social game developer running social video game services and founded in April 2007 with headquarters in San Francisco, California, United States. The company primarily focuses on mobile and social networking platforms. Zynga states its mission as "connecting the world through games."

Zynga launched its best-known game, FarmVille, on Facebook in June 2009, reaching 10 million daily active users (DAU) within six weeks. As of August 2017, Zynga had 30 million monthly active users (MAU). In 2017 its most successful games were Zynga Poker and Words with Friends 2, with about 57 million games being played at any given moment; and CSR Racing 2, the most popular racing game on mobile devices.

Zynga, began trading on NASDAQ December 16, 2011, under the ticker ZNGA.

Take-Two Interactive announced in January 2022 its intent to buy Zynga for $12.7 billion.

History

Zynga was founded in April 2007 by Mark Pincus, Eric Schiermeyer, Justin Waldron, Michael Luxton, Steve Schoettler, and Andrew Trader under the name Presidio Media. The company name changed to Zynga in July 2007. Zynga was named after Pincus' American bulldog "Zinga", and uses an image of a bulldog as its logo. Zynga's first game, Texas Hold'Em Poker, now known as Zynga Poker, was released on Facebook in July 2007. It was the first game Facebook introduced on its social networking platform.

Zynga became the Facebook app developer with the most monthly active users in April 2009, with 40 million people playing their games that month. Soon after, the company opened its first external game studio in Baltimore, Zynga East, led by Brian Reynolds.

In June 2009, Zynga acquired MyMiniLife which built and launched FarmVille on Facebook. By August, Farmville was the first game on Facebook to reach 10 million daily active users. On November 23, 2009, FarmVille.com went live as Zynga's first stand-alone game. In February 2010, Farmville had over 80 million players, and on May 18, 2010, Facebook and Zynga entered into a five-year relationship to expand the use of Facebook Credits in Zynga's games.

In December 2010, Zynga's game CityVille surpassed FarmVille as its most popular game with over 61 million monthly active users and a base of over 16 million daily active users.

Zynga filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise up to $1 billion in an initial public offering on July 1, 2011. At the time, the company had 2,000 employees. Zynga began trading on NASDAQ on December 16, 2011.

On June 26, 2012, during the Zynga Unleashed conference, Zynga announced the "Zynga With Friends" network, aiming to connect players of Zynga game titles across multiple platforms. Zynga also announced the Zynga API, intended to help developers build social games. The company announced that three new partners were developing games for Zynga.com including 50 Cubes, Majesco Entertainment and Portalarium. The company unveiled the Zynga Partners for Mobile program to help increase Zynga's presence on mobile devices.

In October 2012, Zynga announced a partnership with bwin.party, an international real-money gaming operator, to launch real-money gaming in the UK, including the release of online poker, a suite of 180 casino games, and the first online FarmVille-branded real money slots game during 2013.

On June 3, 2013, Zynga announced layoffs of 520 employees — roughly 18% of its workforceand closed offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. By July 2013, Zynga had reportedly lost nearly half of its user base from the previous year. Consequently, investors decreased Zynga's valuation by $400 million. On July 25, 2013, Zynga said they would not be pursuing real money game production in the US. Following this announcement, shares dropped 13%.

In July 2013, Zynga hired Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment President Don Mattrick as its new CEO. Pincus remained as Zynga's chairman and chief product officer.

In January 2014, the company announced the layoff of 314 workers, about 15% of its total workforce. In April 2014, founder & former CEO Pincus stepped down from his role as chief product officer. He remained as chairman of the board.

First quarter results for 2014 showed that daily active user numbers fell from 53 million to 28 million year-over-year. In April 2014, the company announced its new hire of Alex Garden, co-founder of Relic Entertainment and former Microsoft Game Studios executive.

In July 2014, Zynga signed a lease for office space in Maitland, Florida. Less than one year later, this Orlando-area office was closed.

Don Mattrick left Zynga in April 2015, replaced by predecessor Mark Pincus. Frank Gibeau took over as CEO on March 7, 2016, with Pincus once again stepping aside. Gibeau's last position was as head of mobile for Electronic Arts. He joined Zynga's Board of Directors in August, 2015.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, revenue was $233.3 million, a 22% increase from the same quarter in 2016, the best quarterly performance in five years. As of January 2018, Zynga had 1,681 employees, approximately 80 million monthly active users, and a market capitalization of $3.39 billion. According to the company, Zynga has had over one billion people play its games since its inception in 2007.

On January 10, 2022, Take-Two Interactive announced its intention to acquire the company in a cash-and-stock deal with a value of $12.7 billion, with Take-Two acquiring all outstanding shares of Zynga at $9.86 apiece. The deal is expected to close in June.

Funding

In its first round of funding in January 2008, Zynga received US$10 million. In July of the same year, Zynga received US$29 million in venture finance from several firms. During its first four years of operation Zynga raised a total of $854 million in three rounds of fund raising. The last round, in February 2011, raised $490 million.

Timeline

April 29, 2021
Zynga and Rollic acquires the hyper-casual game studio Uncosoft.
August 2020
Zynga acquires 80% of Rollic company for approximately $180 million in cash.
November 2017
Zynga acquires one division of Peak Games, its mobile card games studio, for $100 million in cash.
2017
Zynga acquires Turkey's Peak Games for $1.8B, after buying its card games studio for $100M in 2017.

June 2009
Zynga launches popular farming-simulation game FarmVille.
July 18, 2008
Zynga raises a $25,000,000 series B round from Avalon Ventures, Foundry Group, Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Union Square Ventures.
January 1, 2008
Zynga raises a $10,000,000 series A round from Avalon Ventures, Brad Feld, Clarium Capital, Foundry Group, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, SV Angel and Union Square Ventures.
April 2007
Zynga was founded by Andrew Trader, Eric Schiermeyer, Justin Waldron, Mark Pincus and Steve Schoettler.

Funding Rounds

Products

Acquisitions

Patents

Further Resources

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News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Crunchbase News
October 7, 2021
Crunchbase News
Crunchbase News' top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.
Martine Paris
August 11, 2021
Time
After a decade of rebuilding, Zynga is back on the top of its game. However, an easing of COVID-19 restrictions could spell trouble.
Alex Wilhelm
May 21, 2021
TechCrunch
This morning, we're looking at the Jam City deal to merge with DPCM Capital. Jam City is a bit like Zynga, but unless you are a mobile-gaming aficionado, you might not have heard of it.
May 12, 2021
Harvard Business Review
Rebecca, Rawi, and Felix discuss earnings and the recent performance of companies they follow.
Anthony Ha
April 29, 2021
TechCrunch
Last year, Zynga bought hyper-casual game maker Rollic. Today, Rollic is a Zynga subsidiary, and it's announcing the acquisition of another game studio called Uncosoft. Like Rollic, Uncosoft develops hyper-casual games and is based in Turkey (Istanbul in Rollic's case, Izmir in Uncosoft's). In fact, Rollic has already published a couple of Uncosoft games, most [...]
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References

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