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Entrepreneurs: Dan Yue, 26; Chris Wang, 26; Ling Xiao, 28
Funding: $43 million from investors, including New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Norwest Venture Partners
Late in 2008, the co-founders of social network gamemaker Playdom were sitting pretty. Hit games, including Mobsters, had helped their software become among the most popular on MySpace. "It was very happy. Every night we would gather around the Xbox," says Chief Product Officer Dan Yue. With Facebook's mounting popularity too hard to ignore, the entrepreneurs decided to spend most of 2009 transferring games to the hotter site. Suddenly nights weren't so relaxed. In June 2009, Playdom hired as CEO John Pleasants, a former executive at game giant Electronic Arts, who has since helped Playdom expand to more than 400 employees and more than $50 million in 2009 sales. This year the company expects revenues to double.
Toughest decision: "To go for it—to decide that we are going to be a leader in the social gaming space," says Yue. Expanding to Facebook meant a commitment that "we are going to grow, we're going to take on [market leader] Zynga."