in Startups

J2Play scores $250K grant from fbFund

J2Play, based in Waterloo, has landed a fbFund grant of $250,000. Founded by Rob Balahura in 2000, J2Play is a ?viral distribution framework for existing Web, Mobile, and PC casual games that helps them move their business to the social web.?

J2Play offers game developers a social wrapper that allows players to chat with their friends, receive awards, rank on leader boards, place advertisements, and generate revenue by promoting other games. The wrapper reaches across social networks, so for example: a Facebook user playing a game of Texas Hold?em Poker could play with one friend who is using their mobile phone and chat with another friend playing within Myspace.

Extreme Venture Partners, run by Amar Varma and Sunny Madra, had already invested a seed round in J2Play and no doubt played a large role in helping J2Play land the fbFund grant. Pretty good value-add for J2Play and a great way in leverage, validate, and de-risk the investment for XVP. This didn?t happen overnight, XVP has been working with J2Play since at least StartupCamp Toronto 1 back in December of 2007.

This fbFund grant doubles the company?s runway and is a big win. Facebook is about as good a strategic partner as one can get for a company like J2Play. Having Facebook onboard also might make it less likely that J2Play will be run over by Facebook launching a Games platform of their own? but you never know.

While we have been pretty critical of the hoards of folks building Facebook Apps and pitching those apps as scalable businesses, it was hard not to be impressed by the enthusiasm. Each Facebook Camp in Toronto has attracted over 400 attendees and Facebook often had an official representative at each event. There is a bigger picture here, companies out in Silicon Valley are paying attention to what we have going on up here in Canada.

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