Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family a Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family and Belgian beer. If you'd like to know more about Robin, head on over to robinwauters.com or follow him on Twitter.
MiniMonos, a New Zealand-based ‘green’ game development startup, has raised 1 million euros about a year after launching its eco-friendly virtual world for kids in public beta and six months after making its debut in the UK.
MiniMonos – which means little monkeys in Spanish – will use the fresh capital to build a team in the UK; the startup will set up shop in London-based TechCity.
The startup says 90 percent of its revenues currently comes from the UK, where it has a deal with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, with 10 percent of revenue coming from the United States and Canada.
The latest raise was led by an unnamed, European angel investor. To date, MiniMonos has secured over 2.4 million euros from individuals in New Zealand and Europe. The startup was seeded by founder Melissa Clark-Reynolds and ‘graduated’ from the Springboard accelerator based in Cambridge in August 2011.
On a sidenote: Clark-Reynolds was one of the first two New Zealanders to be trained by Al Gore to present the An Inconvenient Truth slideshow.
Back to MiniMonos, which is building a virtual world for kids (8 to 12 years old) who care about the well-being of our planet, aside from having fun online. Kids can play a number of games on MiniMonos, but also receive in-world rewards by completing real-world eco-projects through the company’s ‘EcoMonkey’ program.
Through their projects, players have already established recycling programmes in their schools, up-cycled old clothes to make toys, planted gardens, and cleaned rivers and lakes, blurring the line between the real and the virtual world.
“These kids are learning to equate positive actions with positive feelings: fun, delight and accomplishment. Our aim is to have a million children taking real-world eco-action as a result of playing on MiniMonos.”
A lofty and admirable goal indeed, and the new funding brings that goal closer.
Not that MiniMonos isn’t already seeing good traction, by the way.
Over the past 12 months, the virtual world’s user numbers have grown from 100,000 to over 800,000 from more than 150 countries, with user revenues exceeding the cost of acquisition. Revenue is growing 30 percent month-over-month on average, MiniMonos claims in a statement to The Next Web.
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