Frenzoo gets more funding for Me Girl

We’ve been following Frenzoo since 2009, and over that time the company has shifted very squarely into the mobile market.

This week they’ve raised another $1 million of venture capital to primarily develop its ‘Me Girl’ 3D fashion applications (here’s a link to our 2010 story on the 3D fashion move Frenzoo made)

The full press release reproduced for you below. Congrats to CEO (and expat Aussie) Simon Newstead and the team for their ongoing success – it’s no mean feat to keep the momentum going in the application space and they’ve managed it over a significant period of time.

Frenzoo Raises $1 Million to Create 3D Lifestyle Mobile Games for Women 
Major investors include Efficient Corporate, Siemer Ventures, K5 Ventures and Metaverse Services

Hong Kong and San Francisco, CA – May 10, 2012 – Frenzoo ( the pioneers of a new class of 3D lifestyle and fashion mobile games, today announced it has received US $1 million in new seed funding from investors based in Asia, Europe and the United States.

Investors include: Efficient Corporate, the investment vehicle of Hong Kong-based angel investor Tytus Michalski; Siemer Ventures, an early-stage, cross-border venture firm with offices in Los Angeles and Asia; K5 Ventures, a pan Europe- and Asia-based group focused on media and commerce; and Metaverse Services, a China-based leader in game content creation. They join existing investor Ambient Sound Investments, an early stage venture firm backed by the founding engineers of Skype.

In addition, joining the Frenzoo board of directors is Doug Glen, a veteran gaming and entertainment executive whose previous roles include Chief Strategy Officer of Mattel; CEO of Imagi Studios; and Director at Harmonix, the creators of Dance Central and Rock Band. Also joiningFrenzoo as an advisor is fashion stylist and blogger Jasmine Webster. Founder of the popular DressMe blog, Webster has been nominated as a “Marie Claire Fashion Blogger of the Year” and selected as the “Style Judge” of Fashion One TV’s soon-to-air “Correspondent Search.”

Frenzoo will use the funds to accelerate the launch of its Me Girl brand of titles ( that offer lifestyle and fashion mobile games for all ages. Data from mobile analytics firm Flurry shows that women make up a majority of the mobile social gaming audience. The Me Girl titles aim to be the first 3D games crafted specifically for this market.

“We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to combine the best of mobile gaming with the world of fashion and lifestyle,” said Frenzoo CEO & Co-founder Simon Newstead. “Our goal with Me Girl is to leverage glamour and emotional appeal to create fun, accessible gaming experiences. With our innovative 3D platform, we can create interactive characters with natural movements and expressions that really bring the whole story to life.”

“In the mid-1990s, Mattel pioneered computer entertainment for girls,” said Doug Glen, who currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at M-Lab, a technology incubator.  “Games like Barbie Fashion Designer were hugely successful, in part because the market was so underserved. Fifteen years later, the girls’ and women’s market in mobile entertainment is now underserved, and Frenzoo is releasing wonderful games that have raised the bar to an exciting new level.”

Added Tytus Michalski of Efficient Corporate: “I believe that Frenzoo’s technology is the key to engaging with players on a more intimate level, and is truly a game changer.”

Virtual fashion mag Second Style calls it a day

Since 2006, Second Style has produced a glossy, high-quality magazine covering fashion in Second Life. The attention to detail has always stood out for me, so it’s sad to hear that the magazine’s creators have announced they are calling it quits:

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The downturn in the Second Life economy has been difficult to combat, and our resources have become too low to maintain the magazine any longer. We’ve discussed numerous options, cutting back here or there…but it wouldn’t be fair to anyone – – our staff, our readers, or our advertisers.

It’s a shame and it further emphasises the perception issue Linden Lab faces around being in decline, even though at worst stagnation can be argued and there are even some early signs of turnaround under new executive leadership.

I still wonder how any turnaround can generate significant momentum when dedicated people like those at Second Style can’t see the viability of keeping going. Virtual pets and Facebook integration seem a little shallow in comparison don’t you think? Even if you a person that thinks fashion is the height of vacuousness.

Interview – Estelle Parnall, Blue Mars Fashionista

Blue Mars is a virtual world that continues to evolve, somewhat under the radar for a lot of people. Over the past week it has announced pricing changes that reflect a change in approach from one of establishment to one of consolidation.

Australian designer Estelle Parnall is based in northern Victoria and she obviously sees some opportunities in Blue Mars, shifting most of her focus from Second Life to there in recent months. I used that as an excuse to delve into Blue Mars a little more whilst profiling an interesting Australian who creates some notable content.


The interview below was done over a month ago, so Estelle has now successfully opened her full presence in Blue Mars, in addition to an art gallery (pictured left).

Lowell: What made you decide to leave SL?

Estelle: I havent actually left SL, I still have my shops on half a sim and a small number of satellites, but I suppose I have halted development since about October last year. In the months previous to this I think the market fell considerably (if my sales were anything to go by, but I am sure I wasnt alone). The clothing market in SL is saturated and the freebie culture certainly wasnt assisting the market to be viable.

Lowell: What attracted you to Blue Mars?

Estelle: I was attracted to the superior graphics, and the concept of quality control. The idea of getting in as an early adopter also appealed to me. Since being there a while I can say as a clothing designer that the clothes I can make in Blue Mars are far superior to that I could make in Second Life. No horrible templates or prim skirts, or ill-fitting sculpts……you have greater freedom with your virtual pallette.

Lowell: How has your experience been in Blue Mars so far?

Estelle: On the whole I can say I have really enjoyed it. Learning new 3D skills has been challenging but enjoyable.

Lowell: What limitations have you run into that you’d like to see resolved, and on the other side of the coin, what’s working better for you?

Estelle: There are a number of bugs that need resolution,, and of course the ones that rate most highly for me concern the fit of clothes. But I feel confident that Avatar Reality is working with us to resolve these issues.

Lowell: What are your plans for the coming 6-12 months?

Estelle: I am developing my own city which I hope to release in the next week or so which will showcase my designs and will include an Art Gallery. After that I hope to just improve my skills, create more content and become a major merchant.

More than fashion

From email discussions I’ve had with Estelle over the past month, it’s obvious Blue Mars are very focused on maintaining a happy foundation community. There’s certainly momentum there as well, no doubt helped by both the real and perceived challenges Second Life has at present. In Estelle’s case, her work in Blue Mars has delivered a content creation role for the Martian Boneyards project by TERC, a scientific collaboration game funded by the National Science Project (US). It’s these sort of projects that provide the real indications that the diversification of education in virtual worlds is on the increase. OpenSim growth is a key part of the equation, but environments like Blue Mars are gaining a footing too.

Now if only some real interoperability standards were on the near horizon…

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