Nurien Raises $15 Million

Nurien Software, a Seoul, South Korea-based provider of social networking and online gaming services, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Backers include Northern Light Venture Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates and QiMing Venture Partners.

PRESS RELEASE

Nurien Software, a leading developer and operator of social networking and online gaming services, today announced that it has secured US$15 million in Series A funding from a syndicate of leading investors from the U.S. and China including Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC), Globespan Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and QiMing Venture Partners. Proceeds will be used to accelerate the launch of its social networking service platform and online gaming offerings. Nurien will hold a closed beta launch this month in Korea.

Full scale launches of Nurien’s platform and offerings will begin in China and Korea at the end of 2008 and in the U.S. in early 2009. Nurien has built a unique platform with which users can create their own one-of-a kind avatar, 3D space and content, and interact with their peers. Nurien also provides users the ability to play online games and participate in a variety of engaging social applications such as MStar, an online dance game; Runway, a fashion show application; and QuizStar, a casual online game.

“Having the backing of first-tier marquee investors greatly validates the progress we’ve made over the last few years,” said Taehoon Kim, co-founder of Nurien Software. “We are excited to partner with world class venture capital firms to build upon our vision of creating a revolutionary new way for people to express themselves, interact with friends, and play online.”

There is an increasing demand and interest in online gaming, music, social networking, and virtual worlds worldwide. According to analyst firm, Gartner, users in virtual online worlds will reach 50 million by 2011. In the U.S. alone, eMarketer predicts that 20 million young adults will visit a virtual world regularly by 2011. Today, China and Korea are Asia’s largest online gaming markets with China’s online gaming revenues expected to reach US$2.62 billion in 2010 (IDC) while revenues from U.S. online gaming services are predicted to reach more than $3.5 billion in 2009 (Parks Associates).

“Nurien is establishing itself as one of the most prominent companies in the 3D social networking services space,” said Feng Deng, Founding Managing Director of NLVC. “We are pleased to be part of their investment team and we look forward to supporting Nurien as they innovate and help define this new form of social media.”

“Nurien is one of the best examples of emerging, innovative companies coming from Asia that are taking their technologies to the global marketplace,” said Eugene Yoo, Vice President of Globespan. “We are very excited about Nurien’s vision. We believe it is at the forefront of the intersection between virtual worlds, online gaming, and social networks, and it is a great addition to the prior investments we have made in these markets.”

“In the three years Nurien has been building its platform, the company has fundamentally changed the way online presence is understood. The company’s stellar management and advisory teams are industry visionaries and it’s no surprise they’ve formed such strong technology partnerships. Nurien is one of the companies to watch this year,” said Patrick Chung, Partner at NEA.

Gary Rieschel, Managing Director at QiMing Venture Partners added, “We believe that Nurien will take the new emerging social media space to new heights. Today’s funding announcement is one of many more milestones to come for this rapidly rising company.”

About Nurien Software

Founded in 2005, Nurien Software is a leading developer and operator of next-generation social networking services and online game service platforms. Nurien Software enables users to truly express their individual identities by offering powerful user-created 3D objects and avatars that interact and network amongst each other via virtual worlds and the web. Additional information about Nurien Software can be obtained at http://www.nurien.com.

About Northern Light Venture Capital

Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC) is a China-focused venture capital firm specializing primarily in private opportunities in consumer and technology-related businesses across various industries. NLVC was founded in 2005 and led by China-born executives with significant operational and entrepreneurial expertise in both China and the U.S. NLVC is headquartered Beijing with offices in Shanghai and Menlo Park, CA. For additional information, visit http://www.nlightvc.com.

About Globespan Capital Partners

With offices in Boston, Palo Alto and Tokyo, Globespan is a leading venture capital firm committed to building a balanced portfolio in the information technology sector. The firm primarily targets US and Japan-based companies in the software, Internet/Infrastructure, communications, systems and peripherals and clean technology sectors. The Globespan team has combined experience of more than 100 years in private equity investing, entrepreneurship and operations and has been involved in 16 startups as individuals. Since 1996, the Globespan team has invested in more than 125 companies. Globespan is an active investor in gaming and virtual world companies with investments in companies such as Linden Lab, makers of virtual world “Second Life”, and Glu Mobile (NASDAQ: GLUU). For more information, please visit http://www.globespancapital.com.

About New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs create and build major new enterprises that use technology to improve the way we live, work and play. Since its founding in 1978, the firm has adhered to the same core principles: supporting its entrepreneurs, providing an excellent return to its limited partners, and operating in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and respect. NEA focuses on investments at all stages of a company’s development, from seed stage through IPO. With approximately $8.5 billion in committed capital, NEA’s experienced management team has invested in more than 550 companies, of which more than 160 have gone public and more than 230 have been acquired. NEA has U.S-based offices in Menlo Park, California and Chevy Chase, Maryland. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has an office in Bangalore, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing) Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit http://www.nea.com.

About Qiming Venture Partners

Based in Shanghai, Qiming (http://www.qimingventures.com) aims to be a premier venture capital firm focused on investments in early stage ventures in China, in partnership with Ignition Partners (http://www.ignitionpartners.com). The Qiming team is proven business leaders and venture capitalists with strong operational backgrounds in both the U.S. and in China. Qiming seeks investment opportunities in early stage and high growth Chinese companies in the areas of TMT and healthcare. While striving to be the investor of choice for entrepreneurs, Qiming will also work closely with other leading venture capital firms in to deliver the investor value that young Chinese companies require.