Company Founded by 12-Year-Old Gets $6.5 Million in Funding

Company Founded by 12-Year-Old Gets $6.5 Million in Funding

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PlaySpan, a company co-founded by a 12-year-old, has received $6.5 million in startup funding from venture capital groups.

PlaySpan was founded by sixth-grader Arjun Mehta, who started the business with money earned from selling online items he won while attending fifth grade at San Jose's Challenger School. The company, which advertises itself as "the game industry's first publisher-sponsored in-game commerce network," plans to operate as a seller of virtual goods in various MMOGs and virtual worlds. It will employ "easy to use SDKs and APIs that integrate quickly to any game server" to enable virtual world commerce as part of the in-game experience, and says its software is built to handle high levels of user traffic with complete "End-2-End" security. While PlaySpan has not yet officially launched, it claims to have signed up seven MMOGs, representing over 10 million users, to its program.

"PlaySpan's patent-pending in-game search, commerce and micropayment technologies enable game publishers and developers to generate new revenues, acquire new users and extend the loyalty of existing users," according to a release on the company's website. "Leading game providers and virtual world publishers have selected PlaySpan as their official marketplace for virtual goods commerce."

The first round of funding for PlaySpan comes from Easton Capital, Menlo Ventures, STIC and Novel TMT Ventures. Karl Mehta, CEO and Co-Founder of PlaySpan, said, "[The investment] will help create a new class of revenue opportunities for publishers and will allow gamers to enjoy their game experience with commerce. We are extremely fortunate to have a complimentary group of global investors that bring solid experience in the gaming, internet and financial service industries."

PlaySpan launched an alpha version of its platform in September.

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I don't normally wish for young impressionable children to grow up to be drug-soused waste cases, but this kid really needs to be found crumpled in a gutter somewhere muttering to himself. Give him six years or so.

I'm... skeptical, to say the least, of the kid's ability to pull it off, even if he does know how to use the right buzzwords. Still, best of luck to him - the world could always use another success story, and if it takes off, depending on how much press it gets, there could be a boom of sorts.

There is a reasonable minimum age for when a youthful entrepreneur should be handling large masses of money.

I of course wish him the best of luck, but $6.5 million for someone as inexperience as a twelve-year old is a lot to mentally handle. I'd say 16 is the reasonable age for when someone has the experience and maturity to handle running a company.

Which 7 MMOs have signed up with PlaySpan?

Why does a company with 6.5 million dollars, a supposed great product, and a sound business plan... have a boring website with no information and an endearing photo of the kid?

Only problem is...it's not true. The company is actually founded and run by the kid's father. Apparently it's a gimmick which has been looked into by various media who became suspicious when told that the kid only prefered e-mail communication. Recent PR releases from the company have not mentioned the kid's purported role and instead focused on the actual CEO. IE: http://www.playspan.com/pressroom.html

Additionally look around the web for "Arjun Mehta". There's nothing about this kid other than what's put out there by ...oh look, Playspan! Now while I am a skeptic I'm not generally overly cynical. However when the only touting of this wunderkin comes from the company using him as a gimmick and even what THEY claim is a bit iffy...it was started in the kid's garage (wouldn't that also be Daddy's garage?) and money the kid made selling games was used to...incorporate the company.

'kay. And? Well that's it really. Other than securing venture moola and claiming they have seven unnamed MMOGs...that's really it.

Since if it's on teh internetz it must be true, I would like to announce my familial claim to the title Queen of America, and pronounce that I am clearly the hottest chick in all the land.*

*[size=6pt]May not actually have ancesterial claim to that title. I am however smoking hot, if you find freckles and red hair and middle aged women who game really sexy.[/size]

To be honest, the first thing that I thought of when I read this news article was... http://gbob.onlinegamers.org/dragon.html

His father, Karl, is listed further down in most articles as a "co-founder," which makes everything fairly self-evident. Karl was in fact formerly a vice-president at communications company MobileAria, so the fact he was able to secure this level of funding shouldn't be too surprising. Still, the company website does list Arjun as co-founder.

I find the rest of the proposition a bit iffy, myself. No word about which MMOGs have signed up, no specifics about how their platform works (or even what it does), really nothing a bunch of buzzwords with an unusual angle, and a whole lotta money. I think it bears watching just to see if anything of substance comes from it.

Malygris:
His father, Karl, is listed further down in most articles as a "co-founder," which makes everything fairly self-evident. Karl was in fact formerly a vice-president at communications company MobileAria, so the fact he was able to secure this level of funding shouldn't be too surprising. Still, the company website does list Arjun as co-founder.

I find the rest of the proposition a bit iffy, myself. No word about which MMOGs have signed up, no specifics about how their platform works (or even what it does), really nothing a bunch of buzzwords with an unusual angle, and a whole lotta money. I think it bears watching just to see if anything of substance comes from it.

Yeah I'm not implying it's the next Rune Conquest or Dawn. I don't think it's complete vaporware bullshit (though I'm not ruling that potential out).

I do think that the wunderkin angle is a gimmick. And it's suspicious that they're not releasing the names of the MMOGs. Highly suspicious there actually. Especially when you consider that they must have at least one high end title to claim that number of 10 million, or else they're liars.

Additionally the service they claim to offer is absolutely worthless in most MMOGs. Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, EverQuest, all have auction houses or other systems like it in game to facilitate the trade of goods easily between players (for in-game consideration only). And none of those publishers have ever been interested in touching with a ten foot pole trading of virtual goods for real life consideration because it's a legal quagmire...especially considering all those companies claim that they own the items, not the player.

So, who could use such a system? Games like Second Life which do promote the exchange of virtual goods for real life consideration...but they also have facilities in game to do that. Sure, it could be improved upon...but if that's where they were going with this, you'd expect to see some announcement in conjunction with Lindan Labs.

Unfortunately I can't really think of any mainstream titles, or super crappy ones that total up to 7 million subscribers which would have a use for this product. And publishers in most cases would do better to develop it themselves anyway.

Redfeather:
Additionally the service they claim to offer is absolutely worthless in most MMOGs. Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, EverQuest, all have auction houses or other systems like it in game to facilitate the trade of goods easily between players (for in-game consideration only). And none of those publishers have ever been interested in touching with a ten foot pole trading of virtual goods for real life consideration because it's a legal quagmire...especially considering all those companies claim that they own the items, not the player.

You could go one step further with some of those by saying that real-world sale of items is against their EULA... if they were to open it up for this 'new virtual' point of sale method they would be hard pressed to enforce external sale methods.

To the first person to reply to this thread... don't u think that is alittle harsh on the kid? while i'm generally annoyed by people younger than me succeeding this much more than me, i'm not that cruel to them. i'm just willing to let time show him his idea won't work.

Logan Frederick:
There is a reasonable minimum age for when a youthful entrepreneur should be handling large masses of money.

I of course wish him the best of luck, but $6.5 million for someone as inexperience as a twelve-year old is a lot to mentally handle. I'd say 16 is the reasonable age for when someone has the experience and maturity to handle running a company.

Who's the Puppet Master?

 

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