(peHUB) August 10, 2010 – Mentez, the largest social gaming publisher in Latin America, today announced it received an investment from New York-based Insight Venture Partners. Mentez will use the money to expand its portfolio of social games, grow across Latin America and solidify its position as the gaming publisher of choice in the region.
“We see increasing demand across Latin America for fun and engaging social games,” said Juan Franco, co-founder and CEO of Mentez. “This investment from Insight Venture Partners will help us expand inside Brazil – which is our dominant market – as well as help us take advantage of the broader opportunities in Latin America. We’ve been laying the groundwork for this new phase in Mentez’s growth, and Insight Venture Partners fully supports our expansion plans.”
Orkut is the dominant social network in Brazil, with more than 50 million daily active users. Mentez manages more than 21 social games on Orkut, and 7 on Facebook, which attract more than 22 million active players every week. Earlier this year, Mentez signed an agreement with Playdom to distribute the company’s gaming titles on Orkut, notably Tiki Resort and Bola.
Mentez also runs a sophisticated, alternative payments network in Brazil called Paymentez®. The network offers players 7 alternative payment options, recognizing that credit cards are not widely used in Brazil. These include a proprietary network of 25,000 Internet cafes, and more than 100,000 retail locations across the country. Paymentez® is the company’s flagship product, helping developers effectively unlock the multimillion-dollar virtual goods market in Brazil. Paymentez currently processes more than 45,000 transactions every day.
Furthermore, Mentez coordinates promotional campaigns with consumer brands like Kraft, Walmart, Samsung, Hyundai, American Express and 20th Century Fox. For example, Kraft offered millions of special cocoa seeds in the social game Happy Harvest (Colheita Feliz) that players could plant to grow chocolate trees. The end product, a chocolate bar, could then be harvested, stolen or given to their friends as a gift. The campaign ran for 4 weeks, promoting a Kraft-branded chocolate bar called Mini Bis. Players embraced the campaign, praising the concept on YouTube, Twitter and hundreds of blogs across the country – providing unprecedented buzz for the product.
“We looked at multiple social gaming publishers in Latin America, and – in additional to being the leading Brazilian social gaming company – we believe that Mentez’s strong management team has the experience and strategy to win in adjacent markets,” said Jeff Horing, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, which invested in 6Waves, Asia’s leading social gaming company, earlier this year. “The high quality of Mentez’s content, its strong player base and its developer relationships will result in continued success for the company.”
Mentez offers end-to-end services to game developers interested in breaking into the Latin American market. The company starts by translating and localizing the developer’s game, suggesting and building culturally-relevant virtual items around Latin American holidays and events. Once the game goes live on Facebook or Google’s OpenSocial platform, Mentez helps drive traffic to the game, using in-game advertising and an aggressive PR program. Mentez is also in charge of community management – helping resolve customer service issues across Latin America.
The company manages 12 of the 20 most popular games on Orkut. These include:
1. Colheita Feliz (Happy Harvest)
2. Segredos do Mar (Ocean Secret)
3. Vila Magica (Party Town)
4. Vidas nas Pasarelas (Fashion Life)
5. Bola (World Cup Soccer)
6. Resort Tropical (Tiki Resort)
7. Gangues (Gangs)
8. Piratas do Caribe (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Insight Venture Partners Managing Director Jeff Horing will take a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Founded in Brazil in 2007, Mentez is the leading publisher of social games in Latin America. With offices in Brazil, Columbia, the US, the UK and China, Mentez partners with developers to localize, market and monetize their games in Latin America. Mentez has successfully launched more than 20 games on the Orkut social network, and is publishing 7 games on Facebook. For more information, visit www.mentez.com
About Insight Venture Partners
Founded in New York in 1995, Insight Venture Partners is a leading growth-oriented, entrepreneur-focused private equity and venture capital firm focused on expansion and late-stage investments in the global software, Internet and data services industries. Insight’s team is composed of experienced investors and operating executives with more than 150 years of collective experience in its focal industries. With more than $3 billion raised since inception and a large network of technology experts, Insight provides strong support to its portfolio companies. In 2009, Insight was named among the Top Ten VCs Globally by Red Herring Magazine. For more information, visit www.insightpartners.com