Motorola Ventures, the VC arm of Chicago-based Motorola Inc.
has upped its stake in subscription-based interactive wireless
gaming upstart Codeonline in a deal that includes investments from AOL Time
Warner and Bertelsmann AG.
Motorola did not release terms of its equity investment, which is an
expansion of a deal with Codeonline in February. Motorola’s interest in
Codeonline stems from the company’s long-term plan to speed up the
development and deployment of interactive mobile gaming on its cell phones
Codeonline, which has headquarters in Finland, provides interactive wireless
games to more than 250 million users worldwide. The company said it
generated more than 50 million paid gaming transactions in 2001, making it a
bona-fide player in the nascent wireless gaming market.
Original investors in Codeonline include Bertelsmann Capital Ventures, the
VC arm of the German media conglomerate, AOL Times Warner Ventures,
Wellington Partners, Spinno-Seed, Shamrock Capital and Eqvitec Partners.
Motorola is already distribution wireless versions of the ABC television
game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” and other popular games like
“Trivial Pursuit” and “Zobmondo” to partners worldwide.
Codeonline CEO Maija Hamalainen said the addition of Bertelsmann and AOL
Time Warner as investors adds legitimacy to its business plan. “Our new
strategic investors Bertelsmann Capital Ventures and AOL Time Warner
Ventures strengthen Codeonline’s financial base, and enable us to continue
our success in the wireless entertainment marketplace,” Hamalainen said.