It’s hard to avoid the daily (sometimes hourly) Twitter updates and Facebook posts informing you that a friend has “checked-in” at Starbucks. Apps and services like Foursquare and Gowalla have taken the mobile market by storm with millions of downloads and as many users sharing their locations in order to earn points and become the virtual “mayor” of a specific spot.
If you’ve never used such a service, it’s easy enough to disregard these ventures as pointless playthings for those with too much time on their hands. However, this appears not to be the case if news from Booyah Inc. is true across the location-based mobile app market. The company has recently closed a $20 million round of financing which sees prominent investor, Jim Breyer, join its Board of Directors.
Booyah is the creator of MyTown, a popular location-based social game where users “virtually” buy their favorite stores and locations. As they do so they earn points, charge rent on owned locations, unlock rewards and earn cash to be spent in real locations. The New York Times said “MyTown Turns the Real World into Monopoly” however it appears that the money to be made by developers in this market is very, very real. MyTown is currently played by over 2 million users and is growing at a rate of 100,000 new users week over week, according to a Booyah Inc. press release. MyTown has also passed 60 million check-ins and 250 million virtual item impressions per month with users spending an average of 70 minutes using the app each day. What DO these people do for a living?
This latest injection of funds is to be spent on igniting and accelerating the company’s “real and digital world offerings” which doesn’t offer much insight. However, with Jim Breyer, the Director of Wal-Mart Stores and Dell on board, we’re willing to bet some significant retail-based features are soon to be available for MyTown players. Breyer is also on the board of companies including Brightcove, Facebook, Etsy and Marvel Entertainment.
“Booyah is at the epicenter of the fastest growing markets today--mobile, social, and interactive gaming,” said Breyer. “Not only are they a next-generation entertainment company, but they are bridging the gap between consumers and businesses. The Booyah management team has both the passion and talent to innovate and create a wholly unique experience.”
If you’re yet to try out MyTown for yourself, it seems like now might be the time to get involved. The app is available for free on the App Store with a number of In App Purchases available.