Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This time, our ongoing quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds us playing games and remembering better days.
Games and money
First up this week is Greystripe, which allows anyone with a mobile phone to download free games in exchange for viewing advertisements. Publishers and carriers get a cut of the profits, while advertisers get a captive audience.
Talk about a great business to be in. Analysts are gushing like Old Faithful over what could happen when thumbs go wild. Juniper Research, for example, estimates that the market for mobile gaming will grow more than fivefold from now through 2011. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS ) , meanwhile, has booked more than $100 million in mobile game revenue.
And, of course, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) just bid $6 billion for ad specialist aQuantive (Nasdaq: AQNT ) , which has been placing ads in games for years.
Venture investors rarely ignore such impressive numbers. They're not doing so here, either. Steamboat Ventures, which has a relationship with Disney (NYSE: DIS ) , led an $8.9 million second round of funding that closed earlier this month.
But this is more than a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats story. Greystripe, like fellow Baby Breaker AdMob, is growing like crazy. Users have downloaded 7 million games from its GameJump.com portal in the last year alone.
Color me unsurprised. Humans have become obsessed with connectivity. What better way to reach us than through the one device we won't put down, even while on vacation? That Greystripe has figured out how to do this while pairing the experience with the fun of gaming is enticing, and compels me to add this company to our IPO watch list.
Next up is Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which claims to have invented a method for early detection of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other diseases of the brain.
If true, that could be a blessing. Press reports say that roughly 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's and more than 2 million deal with Parkinson's. What's more, as many as 50% of those age 85 or older have some form of Alzheimer's.
Avid believes it can help these people using radioactive compounds that, if the theory holds, would reveal changes in the brain in a common PET scan. The technology is the result of a decade of work by University of Pennsylvania scientists, and human trials have thus far proved successful.
Now, Avid wants to commercialize the technology. Earlier this month, it received $26 million in third-round funding from Safeguard Scientifics and the private equity arms of Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) , Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY ) , and AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB ) .
Will Avid succeed? As a human, I hope so. As investors, there's a lot we still don't know. My teammate at Rule Breakers and one of our top biotech analysts, Karl Thiel, put it best in an email to me earlier today:
As far as I know, there's little evidence that early detection of Alzheimer's leads to any better sort of outcomes given our pathetic lack of effective therapies. Given that, who'd really want to know early on what they were facing? Obviously, early detection would be an invaluable research tool and could lead to better therapy, but that's a long road.
Or in simpler terms: In true Rule Breaker spirit, these investors are swinging for the fences. Here's hoping they connect.
See you back here next time when we continue the quest to find the greatest growth.
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Microsoft and Pfizer are Inside Value picks. AllianceBernstein and Eli Lilly are Income Investor recommendations. Electronic Arts and Disney are Stock Advisor selections.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 6,357 out of more than 29,200 rated players in our Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence database, is a sucker for growth stocks and a contributor to David's Rule Breakers team. Tim owned shares of aQuantive at the time of publication. Tim's portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. His thoughts on growth stocks, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a rebel on Wall Street.