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Former Zynga Austin developers launch casino games studio Bee Cave Games, raise $1.4M for first title

A group of former Zynga Austin developers launched a new studio, Bee Cave Games, which will focus on developing social and mobile titles, the company has announced.

Veterans of Zynga's downsized Austin studio — former Mafia Wars 2 general manager Erik Bethke, casino division chief technical officer Nimai Malle and Texas Hold'em Poker general manager Jeremy Strauser — founded the studio in fall 2012 and have acquired $1.4 million for the private beta launch of its first Facebook game, Blackjack Casino. The money was raised via seed funding from a strategic investment by mobile games publisher Glu Mobile.

"The social casino genre has seen tremendous growth in the past year, and we believe the team at Bee Cave Games is well equipped to succeed in the sector's expected continued growth in 2013 and beyond," said president and CEO of Glu Mobile Niccolo de Masi regarding the company's investment.

Bee Cave is based in Austin, Texas and will focus on social and casino titles for smartphones and tablets.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented and passionate team at Bee Cave Games as we begin to deliver on our vision of entertaining the world with the best casino games of all genres, on all platforms," said Bethke, Bee Cave Games CEO.

More information regarding a public release date and key features for Blackjack Casino will be announced through the Bee Cave Games official website and Facebook page in the coming weeks. The developer plans to release mobile and tablet version of the game shortly after its Facebook launch.