Breaking: Tapulous Acquired By Disney

Tapulous has been acquired by Disney. The iPhone gaming startup with several hits on its hands was founded by Bart Decrem, who will join Disney as a senior VP. COO Andrew Lacy is also joining Disney as a senior VP. Disney is very interested in social and mobile gaming, having recently invested in Playdom’s $33 million round.

Tapulous is a hot iPhone gaming startup which has raised only $1.8 million from angel investors including Marc Benioff, Jeff Clavier, and Andy Bechtolsheim. Legendary Silicon Valley mentor and Stanford professor Rajeev Motwani, who passed away last year, was also an investor. Its flagship game, Tap Tap Revenge, has numerous versions which have been downloaded millions of times. The basic game, which lets players tap to the rhythm of songs with their fingers is free, but players must pay for new songs. Its latest game is Tap Tap Radiation for the iPad.

Tapulous’ music-oriented games appeal to a younger crowd in particular. The company puts out versions of Tap Tap Revenge featuring the songs of specific artists such as Justin Bieber Revenge, Lady Gaga Revenge, Nickelback Revenge, and Nine Inch Nails Revenge. Its other mobile music, Riddim Ribbon is also a hit.

Disney Interactive Studios sells a slew of video games built around Disney movies and characters such as Toy Story, Cars, and Hannah Montana. Most of these games are for consoles like the Xbox, PS3, or GameBoy. Buying Tapulous gets it into the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad gaming platform and gives it a strong presence in music-related games.

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Erik Schonfeld / TechCrunch