Social Gaming going big in Latin America

Latin America’s largest social gaming publisher, Mentez recently announced that they’ve recently received an injection of fresh capital, provided by New York based Insight Venture Partners. The exact amount remains undisclosed, but Mentez plans to use the investment to expand its social gaming offerings, thus enhancing their leading position in the Latin American market.

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“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.”

The majority of Mentez’s offerings reside on the Google owned Orkut, a social network that one might compare to Bebo, in so much as, “it’s never really caught on in the North American market.” Orkut does, however, have a massive following in Latin and South America, where 50+ million daily active users visit the platform. Mentez manages over 21 games on Orkut, as well as 7 on Facebook, garnering a staggering 22 million active players every week. As a testament to their involvement and reach in the Latin/South American market, Mentez are the folks that distribute the now Disney owned Playdom titles on Orkut, most notably Tiki Resort and Bola.

Mentez’s impressive credentials don’t end with big name relationships with Google and Disney. They also offer virtual branding options, and have worked with major brands including Kraft, Walmart, Samsung, Hyundai, American Express, and 20th Century Fox. Their most recent campaign with Kraft foods involved special cocoa seeds offered in the number 1 Orkut game, Colheita Feliz (Happy Harvest), whereby players could plant and grow chocolate trees. The end product was a Kraft branded chocolate bar (Mini Bis) that happy harvesters could use, steal, or give to friends. The four week campaign generated a landslide of Twitter, YouTube, and blog buzz.

“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. “The high quality of Mentez’s content, its strong player base and its developer relationships will result in continued success for the company.”

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