IMVU announced today that it has closed a $10 million Series D round of investment led by Best Buy Capital with participation from existing investors Menlo Ventures, Allegis Capital and Bridgescale Partners. IMVU says it will use the money to invest in continued development of its community, which has grown to more than 30 million registered users. The company monetizes off of a virtual goods catalog, which boasts over 2 million user-created items and is proving especially attractive to investors as the advertising market shrinks. IMVU says it currently generates over $1 million a month in revenue, 90% of which comes from the sale of credits for purchasing and selling virtual goods.
Along with the investment, Best Buy Capital's Kuk Yi will join IMVU Credits 's board of directors. I'm just waiting on a call from CEO Cary Rosenzweig, so I'll update withmoreinformationshortlyRosenzweig says that approximately $30 million has been invested in IMVU Credits since its inception and that this is the last round before profitability. A Q&A with Rosenzweig is below.
So what prompted this round of investment?
It's always good to have a cushion in the bank, so call it caution and desire to continue to invest in the community. Despite the tough economic environment and tough investment environment, we were very pleased that a new investor as well as existing investors saw it as a worthwhile investment.
Were you seeking investment or were you approached by the investors?
We were seeking it, but with the current investors we'd been talking about it for some time. It's really a question of timing. In retrospect, we could have guessed at better timing with the market. But at the end of the year we decided to go out for another round. Who could have guessed it would have made things so tough.
Considering the problems of the economy overall and the steady decline of venture capital in particular, what's your pitch to investors on why IMVU Credits should still be attractive?
The investor environment is difficult, but investors and venture capitalists still have funds and they're looking for good deals, ones that will return and substantially for their investors. As in any environment, we had a good presentation. I think what reinforced that was that our growth was accelerating at the end of the calendar year.
I started to approach investors in September and within a week of the my first presentation the news started to get very bad and then on through October, but our performance was actually accelerating all through the time period. We were attracting more usres, we were attracting more paid users, and our revenue was going up month on month and through the last half of the year and still in January has gone up quite strongly.
We were able to make an example of how during the downturn our service provides a home-based way to meet new people—and meeting new people is timeless. We're also a type of home entertainment with our virtual goods that is very inexpensive. It's a value of the dollar issue.