Niantic, 'Pokémon Go' Maker, Raises $200 Million--Update

By Cat Zakrzewski Features Dow Jones Newswires

The maker of the hit augmented-reality game "Pokémon Go" has raised about $200 million in new financing.

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Niantic Inc.'s Series B comes just weeks after the game maker said it plans to release a new title called "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite." Niantic gained notoriety in the summer of 2016 as "Pokémon Go" became an overnight hit, pushing millions of players to get outside and chase digital monsters with their smartphones.

Spark Capital led the round, with participation from Founders Fund, Meritech, Javelin Venture Capital, along with branding agency You & Mr. Jones and internet company NetEase Inc., according to Niantic.

With the new round, Spark Capital Partner Megan Quinn will join Niantic's board.

"Pokémon Go" reached $1 billion in revenue globally just seven months after its release last July -- faster than any other mobile game, including Activision Blizzard Inc.'s "Candy Crush Saga," according to App Annie Inc.

In "Pokémon Go," Niantic combines location-tracking and augmented reality, technology that overlays digital images on real-world environments. Players can search for beloved monsters like Pikachu on a digital map on their phones. When they arrive at the locations on the map, they see digital images of the popular characters blended into real-world environments.

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Earlier this month, Niantic announced it would follow up on "Pokémon Go" through a partnership with Warner Bros. to create a Harry Potter-themed game. The offering promises to use augmented reality to bring some of the imaginary beasts of the Harry Potter franchise into real-world cities and neighborhoods. Game players will even learn spells to fight off the digital creatures.

The San Francisco company previously raised $30 million in a Series A round with the Pokémon Co., Alphabet Inc.-owned Google and Nintendo. Niantic was spun off from Google in August 2015.

Write to Cat Zakrzewski at cat.zakrzewski@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 24, 2017 16:12 ET (21:12 GMT)