Zynga sits atop a war chest of $410 million, according to data from Dow Jones Venture Source.
That’s a huge amount of money for any private startup, but it’s an especially massive amount of money for a company that makes games for Facebook.
We asked Dow Jones Venture Source to compile a list of the 20 companies with venture backing that have raised the most money in the last 20 years. The list includes investment from private equity, corporations, and individuals. Basically everything but debt, as long as the company has some venture backing.
Zynga came in at 19 on a list full of broadband and telecom startups. The only other big web properties on the list are Facebook, which has massive scale, and WebVan, the huge dot-com flame out.
Like most venture-backed companies, the companies that raise huge amounts of money don’t typically win. Many on the Dow Jones list are out of business, have flagging stock prices, or were merged into another company at a price just above the amount raised.
Why does Zynga need all the money it’s raised?
A source close to company previously told us that it can buy any competitors that spring up along the way. It also allowed founder Mark Pincus and some early investors to cash in.
Still, $400 million is a weirdly huge amount of money for a company that supposedly never needed to raise a dime, and shouldn’t require much investment.
How weirdly huge is Zynga’s pile of cash?
Amount raised: $1.3 billion
Clearwire needed all that money to build the infrastructure for wireless broadband. The company IPO'd in March 2007, its stock soared to $32.50 a few months later, before crashing below $3 during the depths of the recession. It's now at $6.51.
The reason for Clearwire's sagging stock: It's on the wrong side of a format war. All signs point towards LTE being the broadband wireless format. Clearwire is WiMax.
Amount raised: $949 million
Solyndra makes an innovative tubular solar product. It was ready to IPO earlier this year, but scrapped it and raised another $175 million. Solyndra has a lot of positive press, and the people backing it are the same that backed First Solar, but it's a capital intensive business, and solar power is still a tough racket.
Amount raised: $889 million
Western Integrated Networks was building out broadband during the tech boom. That didn't end well. It eventually went into bankruptcy and it sold its assets for $12 million.
Amount raised: $733 million
MetroPCS needed to raise all that money to build its infrastructure. It's a low cost pre-paid cellular provider, disrupting legacy companies. It IPO'd in April 2007, and its stock has slide since then.
Amount raised: $677.7 million
Facebook has raised a huge amount of money, and it seems to have been worth it. The company has 500 million users, growing revenues, and its valued at $15 billion on the private market. Facebook should be IPOing in the next few years.
Amount raised: $574.15 million
Reliant was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline for $1.65 billion in cash, the largest all-cash buyout of a venture backed company. Reliant made Lovaza, a drug that helps people with high triglycerides.
Amount raised: $553.42 million
Force10 Networks is filing for an IPO, hoping to raise another $144 million. In the three month period ending December 31, Force reported a loss of $7.6 million on revenue of $43 million. Force10 competes with Cisco, providing high capacity data networking.
Amount raised: $550 million
Better Place is a wildly ambitious company that wants to provide batteries and charging stations for electric cars. We're highly sceptical that it can work because Better Place is basically an independent agent trying to corrall many, many different elements.
Amount raised: $507.4 million
Grande Communications is a Texas based broadband and cable provider.
Amount raised: $500 million
Zhone is a broadband company with a strange backstory. When Zhone was private it acquired public company Tellium, which was loaded with cash. At the time of the acquisition (in 2003) its financial details became public. It had spent $450 million on acquisitions, and had less than $100 million in annual revenue, reports Light Reading. Revenue is still less than $100 million now.
Amount raised: $453 million
Wow. Formus Communications raised almost half a billion, and it's hard to find much on the broadband company. It went out of business, says Dow Jones.
Amount raised: $450 million
Digital Access Inc. was a telecom company that went out of business in March 2001. Just like Formus, there's not much information on the company out there. Crazy that it raised as much money as it did, only to vanish.
Amount raised: $441 million
After raising a huge pile of cash, Webvan, a web based grocery company, went bust. Webvan was . It's basically a punchline for the dot-com era now.
Amount raised: $428.43 million
Here's another VoIP infrastructure company that needed big bucks.
Amount raised: $409.61 million
Zynga allegedly never needed money, but boy did it raise a lot. Especially considering it's just a gaming company built on the back of Facebook.