Publisher Of Virtual World Second Life Gets Real $11 Million In Second Round Funding

Second Life” publisher Linden Lab has added $11 million in funding to a 2004 first round of $8 million. Globescan Capital Partners led the round, which includes first-time investment by Jeff Bezos and new investments from Benchmark Capital, Mitch Kapor, the Omidyar Network and Catamount Ventures. Linden was founded in 1999 by former Real CTO Philip Rosedale. The 3D digital world, billed as “imagined, created and owned by residents”, has 165,000-plus “residents” virtually living in what Rosedale says is an economy worth more than $60 million a year. Residents own the IP rights to everything they create in-world and can take their creations off-world. For instance, a machinama movie shot in Second Life could be sold off-site.

A Linden exec told the company isn’t profitable and there’s no clear projection for profitability. (The former, not surprising; the latter, odd.) Linden makes its money by charging land use fees — and entire region runs $195 a month — and from premium sub fees starting at $9.95 a month. Director of Marketing Catherine Smith also told the site the funding would be used for aggressive international expansion — German and Japanese versions are slated — and boosting infrastructure by expanding to at least 100 staffers from the current 70 or so. Press release.