Provo based Funium today announced it has successfully raised $1.8 million in funding to complete the development of the Company’s free Facebook game, Family Village. The seed round was led by Family Odyssey, which is 50 percent owned by nationally recognized business leader and entrepreneur Jim Sorenson, with additional funds coming from other angel investors.
With the additional $1.8 million, the company can further improve Family Village’s in-game experience by adding the features that both the Funium team and early beta users deemed necessary to the success of the game. In 2011, Funium completed a $1.2 million round of funding also led by Family Odyssey to accelerate development and expansion of a beta-version of the Facebook game.
As an early investor in Ancestry.com and a co-founder of GeneTree, Sorenson has a successful track record investing in the family history space. His father, James LeVoy Sorenson, was also a pioneer in molecular genealogy, developing the world’s largest repository of correlated genetic and genealogy information at the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.
“This was a very compelling investment concept,” said Sorenson. “As someone who has seen rapid market growth in online family history, I’m excited to see how Funium is bringing this tradition-steeped activity to a social gaming online audience. The company has gone beyond conventional applications of online gaming to transform the way gamers interact with each other in sharing their own personal family ancestry.”
Funium released a pilot version of Family Village, the first Facebook game to help players explore their real family trees while building an online community, in June 2011. In gameplay, players foster their own personalized virtual community by building businesses, houses, immigrating family members and assigning jobs. Family Village’s greatest value lies in its ability to align that inputted data with actual real-world documents, such as newspaper articles and census records, about the players’ living and deceased relatives. Players can then examine the records, print them, or store them in their personal game library.
“I am deeply grateful to Family Odyssey and the contributing angel investors for their collective funding,” said Jeff Wells, president & CEO of Funium. “Family Village is helping people who would not typically be interested in family history to become excited about their family legacy. We are delighted to assist in this discovery process and provide a platform by which generations of families can be connected in more meaningful ways.”
Funium is an emerging leader in the creation of Facebook games with social value that produce real-world, useful content. Funium’s flagship game, Family Village, is the first Facebook game that enables players to explore their own family tree while building a virtual, online community. Integrated with FamilyLink, the game enables players to connect with billions of family history records using the Facebook platform. For more information on Family Village, visit www.familyvillagegame.com.