Kara Swisher

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SoftBank Keeps Up Its Game With MocoSpace Funding

SoftBank Capital forked over $3.5 million in funding to mobile entertainment destination MocoSpace.

SoftBank recently invested $150 million in online gaming powerhouse Zynga and apparently wanted to make a play in mobile browser-based social gaming.

SoftBank joins previous MocoSpace funders, including General Catalyst Partners, Pilot Group and angel investor Michael Dearing, who put in $3 million in funding in 2007

The Boston-based company, which is apparently profitable, said the funding will be used to expand MocoSpace into gaming platforms.

Here’s the official press release:

MocoSpace Gets $3.5M In Strategic Funding from SoftBank Capital to Expand with Mobile Browser-Based Social Games

Company already profitable, adds strategic capital to build out groundbreaking social games platform

Boston–Sept 23, 2010–MocoSpace, the largest social entertainment destination on the mobile web, today announced a $3.5 million round of strategic funding from SoftBank Capital. MocoSpace will use the funds to expand its mobile browser-based social gaming offerings and management team. Previous investors in MocoSpace include General Catalyst, Pilot Group and prominent angel investor Michael Dearing.

MocoSpace is the largest entertainment destination on the mobile Internet, with over 14 million users and three billion page views per month. The company, which is already profitable, plans to use this round of funding for the development of its MocoSpace Games platform. The platform will provide game developers with a robust environment and mobile web reach via smartphone browsers, as well as access to the MocoSpace audience–which already plays one million games on the site per month. MocoSpace will be launching its own browser-based mobile social game, and is currently developing partnerships with mobile web game developers to provide a wide range of game titles on its platform.

Vikrant Gandhi of Frost & Sullivan has followed MocoSpace’s growth over the years, and describes the company’s success: “MocoSpace has demonstrated a rare ability to build a large mobile internet brand and generate profits while appealing to a broad base of consumers. The mobile browser represents the next frontier of social games, and companies like MocoSpace have a great opportunity to lead this nascent market.”

As part of the investment, SoftBank Capital’s managing partner, Ron Fisher, is joining the company’s Board of Directors. As founder of SoftBank Capital, Fisher has over 30 years of experience working with high growth and turnaround technology companies, and serves as a member of the board of directors of SoftBank Corp., Japan, as well as on the boards of several public and private companies, including Desktone, E*Trade Group, GSI Commerce, FooMojo, LiteScape Technologies and Nellymoser, Inc.

“MocoSpace is uniquely positioned for massive growth at the crossroads of powerful trends in mobile, gaming and social, as well as appealing to one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, the Hispanic market,” said Fisher. “Softbank is excited to be an investor. MocoSpace has done a great job building an industry leading, profitable business, and we’re excited to help the company broaden its entertainment offerings and innovate in the social games space.”

“The chance to work with Ron and the Softbank team was a no-brainer for us. They have a tremendous amount of expertise both here and abroad in all the key parts of our business,” says MocoSpace CEO and co-founder Justin Siegel. “I look forward to working with them in the coming years as we continue to expand our business.”

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus