Ex-Zynga Employee Raises $20 Million to Build Facebook and Mobile Games

Funzio, the social game developer known for its Crime City game on Facebook, has raised $20 million in a first round of funding to support aggressive growth plans that include tripling its team this year.

The round was led by both the U.S. and China arms of IDG Ventures. Rick Thompson, the co-founder and former chairman of Playdom, the social games publisher acquired by Disney, also participated and will serve as chairman of the board.

Funzio first launched its Crime City game in September 2010. Today, the game, which allows you to “build your own criminal empire,” has more than 750,000 daily active users and roughly seven million monthly players.

In addition to staffing up, the company plans to use the money to build games that run across multiple platforms, including Facebook, iOS and Android.

The company’s CEO and co-founder Ken Chiu was previously the co-founder and CEO of Storm8 (also known as Team Lava), and before that worked at Zynga as a general manager. He joined Zynga after the company acquired a Facebook app called My Heroes Ability. He also was a senior software engineer at eBay.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik