Of the $1 billion, $196.8 million was invested in 33 companies. Significant investors in the space include Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Intel, and Rustic Canyon Partners. Media companies are also making sizable investments, including Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund. The remaining $810 million went to two acquisitions: Walt Disney’s $700 million acquisition of Club Penguin and Intel’s $110 million acquisition of 3D virtual worlds graphics technology company Havok.
"Investors are not just venture capital firms, but also include major technology, media and entertainment companies," said Christopher Sherman, Executive Director of Virtual Worlds Management. "The amount of money invested in this period of time is staggering. We don’t see any slowing in the market adoption of virtual worlds technologies and expect investment in the space to continue. In fact the market is growing significantly, with the rate of adoption of virtual worlds increasing as the technology matures and has more to offer both consumers and enterprise customers."
Investment spanned the entire virtual worlds value chain, including technology platform companies, virtual worlds developers, service providers and tools providers. Business models of the companies raising capital vary, ranging from advertising and subscriptions to virtual item sales, to enterprise software licensing, hosting and services.
The announcement comes just prior to the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo taking place October 10-11, 2007, at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California. The investment numbers and the future of the industry will be discussed in depth at the conference.