Richie Rich

Company Founded by 12-Year-Old Gets $6.5 Million in Funding
by: Jerry Liao

If you think Richie Rich can only exist in a comic book – think again because it can happen in real life as well, actually it already happened.

A 12 year-old 6th grader by the name of Arjun Mehta from Silicon Valley founded a company called PlaySpan, the game industry’s first publisher-sponsored in-game commerce network. PlaySpan’s patent-pending in-game search, commerce and micropayment technologies enables game publishers and developers to generate new revenues, acquire new users and extend the loyalty of existing users. Leading game providers and virtual world publishers have selected PlaySpan as their official marketplace for virtual goods commerce. PlaySpan is based in Silicon Valley with offices in Mumbai, India and Shanghai, China.

So what so special with what Arjun did?

PlaySpan Inc., recently announced that it has secured $6.5 million in funding. New York based Easton Capital led the funding round, along with Silicon Valley based Menlo Ventures, South Korea based STIC International and Hong Kong based Novel TMT Ventures.

The announcement solidifies PlaySpan’s position in the online game and media sectors and enables the company to strengthen its leadership position in the rapidly growing virtual goods market. In-game commerce has surpassed the $2 billion mark this year and continues its rapid growth as more publishers adopt micro-transaction based revenue models.

“This investment is an exceptional endorsement for PlaySpan’s pioneering role in building the first publisher-sponsored in-game commerce network and technology. It will help create a new class of revenue opportunities for publishers and will allow gamers to enjoy their game experience with commerce,” said Karl Mehta, Co-Founder & CEO, PlaySpan Inc. “We are extremely fortunate to have a complimentary group of global investors that bring solid experience in the gaming, internet and financial service industries.”

“PlaySpan is clearly the pioneer in publisher-sponsored in-game commerce network with cutting-edge defensible IP. We are delighted to partner and help drive continued success of PlaySpan as a leader in this large growing market,” said John Friedman, General Partner of Easton Capital.

“In-game commerce and virtual economies are on the rise and we believe PlaySpan is leading this space with its publisher deals, breakthrough in-game technology and proven management team” said Shawn Carolan, Managing Director of Menlo Ventures based in Menlo Park, California. “We are excited about the opportunity and look forward to working with PlaySpan to maintain its market leadership.”

In addition to the funding announcement, PlaySpan also announced three new additions to its board. John Friedman, board member of IGA worldwide and General Partner of Easton Capital; Shawn Carolan, board member of IMVU and Managing Director of Menlo Ventures; and Steven Lee, Partner at STIC International are the newest additions.

PlaySpan is founded by Arjun Mehta, a 5th grader, passionate about gaming and software programming that can make game playing experience exciting and more importantly rewarding. PlaySpan started in Arjun’s garage in Silicon Valley in 2006 and was incorporated with Arjun’s earnings from selling online game items won from quests he fought while attending 5th grade at Challenger School in San Jose.

This is a great proof that it only takes a good idea to make it big in any industry. And age is not even a factor, you can be as young as Arjun or even younger or as old as you can imagine – for as long as you can still think and come up with new ideas.

You can learn about Arjun’s company by visiting http://www.playspan.com and I hope you can pick up some idea or at least some inspiration – and be the next millionaire or even the next billionaire.

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