Angry bird-brain investors

Angry Birds is flying off your iPhone and onto your television screen.

The computer age has given rise to some epic time wasters, from the grad-student killers Tetris and Solitaire loaded on early Windows machines to the BlackBerry’s BrickBreaker program that keeps bored executives occupied during conference calls. But for sheer addictive fun, it is hard to beat Angry Birds, the 99? iPhone app in which players use a slingshot to launch birds at evil green pigs.

A group of investors has decided that more than 50 million users can’t be wrong, and is betting that Rovio Mobile Ltd., the game’s Finnish developer, will be able to leverage its popularity into a full-scale entertainment brand. The company recently raised US$42 million from venture capital firms Atomico Ventures and Accel Partners, and its CEO is now contemplating taking the company public within the next few years.

The Angry Birds brand has already expanded beyond the iPhone. The game is available on other devices, including those running the Android and Windows platforms. On its website, Rovio also sells plush toys and T-shirts featuring the birds and the pigs. But with the new investment, the company is becoming far more ambitious. It will be rolling out a version of the game on all video-game consoles this year, and it is also looking at developing a television cartoon based on the game’s characters.