We recently made another Foundry Group investment in the Zynga Game Network. Brad Stone wrote a great article about Zynga in the NYTimes about it titled More Than Games, a Net to Snare Social Networkers.
One of my co-investors – Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures – wrote a nice overview of how he came to make this investment. I vividly remember seeing my long time friend Mark Pincus’ name pop up as the author of Texas Hold’em on Facebook one day over the summer and thinking "hmmm – what’s Mark up to?"
In six months Mark has put together a remarkable company. In our first conversation about Zynga, Mark explained his vision of social gaming to me. I’ve been a long time on and off gamer – I like puzzle and interactive games, but not first person shooters or MMOGs – so the idea of the intersection of casual games and Facebook immediately appealed to me.
I’ve become a complete Scramble addict (remember Boggle?), although my partner Ryan’s wife Katherine continues to cream me regularly. The Zynga games are coming fast and furiously – the current catalog includes Poker, Attack, Blackjack, Battleship, Scramble, Diveman, Triumph, Social Chat, Stickerz, Dopewars, and a bunch of others you’ll be seeing soon.
Zynga isn’t limited to Facebook – the games have now launched on Bebo and Friendster and are coming to other social networks near you in the next few weeks.
Mark is an 100% on the go, non-stop, take no prisoners entrepreneur. In six months, he’s created a game network of over 10 million users and over 700,000 unique players each day. I love working with guys like Mark. And I love that he’s named his company after his dog.