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  • Hidden City Games Closes $15 Million Venture Capital Round

    November 7th, 2007 No comments

    Hidden City Games, worldwide distributor of Bella Sara trading cards and online world for girls, has raised $15 million in strategic venture capital from Rustic Canyon Partners and Trinity Ventures. The funds will be used to expand the Bella Sara website and for marketing and new product development.

    With more than 30 million trading cards sold worldwide and more than 1 million registered website users, Bella Sara is the first trading card game to capture the hearts and minds of girls, said Michael Song, a partner at Rustic Canyon Partners, an $800 million venture fund focused on supporting early-stage technology companies. Mr. Song joins the Hidden City Games board of directors.

    As the online casual games market continues to demonstrate unprecedented growth, Bella Sara has a distinct advantage with 65,000 retail points of sale worldwide, all driving traffic to www.bellasara.com, said Gus Tai, general partner at Trinity Ventures, which was one of the first institutional investors in Starbucks and which recently sold its portfolio company Photobucket, a web 2.0 darling, to News Corporation. Peter Adkison understands how to build a global retail footprint, and we are bullish on his plans to leverage Bella Sara’s in-store presence to grow its registered-user base, continued Mr. Tai, who joins Mr. Song on Hidden City’s board of directors.

    Rustic Canyon Partners and Trinity Ventures also funded casual game publisher PlayFirst, Inc. and game publisher/developer Trion World Network.

    Hidden City Games CEO Peter Adkison founded Wizards of the Coast in 1990 and built it to 2,000 employees before selling it to Hasbro in 1999 for nearly $500 million. While under Mr. Adkison’s leadership, Wizards of the Coast published two of the most successful trading card games of all time: Pokmon trading cards and Magic: The Gathering.

    Inspired by her daughter’s love for horses, Danish social worker Gitte Odder Brændgaard developed Bella Sara to encourage young girls to acknowledge and express their feelings rather than invest too much of their identities in their physical appearance. Since their U.S. debut last year, Bella Sara trading cards and online world for girls have received numerous awards from child development and parenting authorities, including the “Seal of Approval” from the National Parenting Center, the “Seal of Excellence” from Creative Child magazine, the “2007 Excellent Product” and “2007 Outstanding Product” designations from iParenting Media and the “Best Products – Spring 2007” award from Dr. Toy.

    Hidden City Games, Inc., a venture-backed game publisher headquartered in Seattle, develops and markets tabletop and online games to interactively engage players and collectors of all ages. The company is best known as the exclusive licensor of Bella Sara, the inspirational, horse-themed trading cards and magical online world launched nationwide in the United States in March of 2007. Bella Sara, the most successful trading card product ever developed for girls, links to a safe, fun-filled virtual world for kids at www.bellasara.com. Founder and CEO Peter D. Adkison formerly founded Wizards of the Coast, Inc., which created the world’s first trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, and introduced the Pokmon trading card phenomenon to North America.

    For more information, please visit www.hiddencitygames.com

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