BizPunkMitch Lasky's blog

January 30, 2014

Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion

Business

After market close today, Zynga announced that it was acquiring Benchmark portfolio company NaturalMotion for $527MM in cash and stock.

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December 07, 2013

World Cup Draw Update

Football

The World Cup draw is set and man, it's a tough one for the US men's national team. And for England and Italy and Uruguay. And for Spain and Netherlands and Chile. Like we expected, the draw produced several very difficult groups.

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November 22, 2013

World Cup 2014 Draw

Football

On December 6, in Salvador, Brazil, FIFA will stage the massive dog and pony show known as the World Cup draw, setting the field for next summer’s tournament. ... You can bet that there will be representatives from the football associations of at least a dozen countries holding their heads in disbelief when the dust settles and the names are all drawn December 6th.

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September 18, 2013

Cyanogen Mod

Business

Cyanogen, Inc. has announced its $7MM Series A financing, led by Benchmark.

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June 13, 2013

Should Venture Capital Fund Games Companies?

Business

Kim-Mai Cutler wrote an interesting piece in Techcrunch this week about venture financing and the games business. Greatly simplified, her main thesis is that venture capital may not be the best vehicle for financing video game companies. In general, I agree with her – for the vast majority of game companies. But not all games companies.

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March 25, 2013

EA and the Future

Business

It is interesting to think about EA’s assets and the current state of the digital game economy in light of the challenges a new leader at EA might face.

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March 06, 2013

Soccer Analytics at SSAC and Beyond

Football

The lack of really important football analytics contributions on display at SSAC '13, particularly compared to the great leaps forward being made in basketball, makes me wonder. Is there less here than meets the eye?

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March 02, 2013

2013 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Business

I love this conference (for my take on last year's SSAC, click here). I have zero professional connection to the world of sports business or analytics, and I rarely discover anything investable here, but I still find this two-day affair one of the most thought provoking and fascinating on my calendar.

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February 09, 2013

Snapchat

Business

In an article that appeared today Snapchat announced that Benchmark has led their Series A financing. I will be joining the board of directors, alongside founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.

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November 06, 2012

DeanBeat/OnLive

Business

The always-insightful Dean Takahashi wrote a long piece on The DeanBeat yesterday about the fall of OnLive. As the Series A investor in one of OnLive’s rivals, Gaikai, I was a pretty active observer of OnLive and of the cloud gaming market generally. I think Dean provides a thorough – if somewhat gentle – overview of the facts of OnLive’s collapse and his piece is totally worth reading.

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October 01, 2012

Writing Workflow

Tech

Writing is so important that I thought it deserved its own post. Unfortunately, most writers underestimate the importance of tools and workflow, thinking (with apologies to Truman Capote’s famous quip about Jack Kerouac) that typing is the same as a writing.

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September 27, 2012

Workflow

Tech

For the launch of my new blog design, I am doing a series of posts on workflows. The first will be about my personal, everyday workflow, the way I use tools to try to get things done. The second will be about my writing workflow. The third is about my digital audio workflow, both recording and listening.

This is going to be a massive nerd-fest, so if you are not in the mood for a long read about personal productivity software, stop now ... hopefully, if you choose to read on, you’ll find one or two interesting things in the posts that follow.

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July 01, 2012

Sony acquires Gaikai for $380MM

Business

Today Sony announced an agreement to acquire Benchmark portfolio company Gaikai for $380MM in cash. In just four years, Gaikai built a revolutionary cloud technology platform for gaming. To see console-quality games streamed from the cloud to browsers, tablets and TV is truly magical.

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June 21, 2012

NaturalMotion

Business

Today Benchmark announced an $11MM investment in NaturalMotion, a publisher of 3D games for mobile devices. I am joining NaturalMotion's board of directors. Many people in the packaged-goods games business know NaturalMotion from their Euphoria and Morpheme 3D animation engines, which have been used in high-end console games to produce incredibly realistic character animation (if you've played Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption, for example, you've seen this in action).

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June 20, 2012

Euro 2012 Group Stage Recap

Football

Ok, you can't deny this has been a very entertaining tournament so far. All of the final games of the group stage had stakes, and every pair of final matches in the groups had real drama. There was even some decent football.

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June 14, 2012

thatgamecompany

Business

If you've played Journey from Jenova Chen's thatgamecompany (TGC) you know you have experienced something strange and magical, something that feels totally unique and yet fun and full of the pleasures that games can deliver (and if you haven't played it, and you own a PS3, stop reading this post and go download it). If you've also played Flower and Flow, you know that Jenova is one of the most ambitious and creative forces in games.

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June 06, 2012

Investing in Content

Business

The other day, a friend sent me an introduction to a game company with a note saying, in effect, "I thought you might be interested in this since you invest in content."

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March 05, 2012

Sports Analytics: MIT Sloan Conference Impressions

Business

The fascinating MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference which took place in Boston this weekend (and which I had the privilege to attend) is known affectionately by its attendees as "Dork-palooza" -- a celebration of the number crunchers and obsessive compulsive fans of sports statistics. Panelists, researchers, and attendees discussed a wide variety of topics with a very ambitious goal: to change the way we watch and measure team, individual, and business performance in sport.

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February 28, 2012

Meteor, Hawken, and Free-to-Play Gaming

Business

Benchmark Capital has announced an investment in Meteor Entertainment, the publishing company that will bring the amazing mech shooter Hawken to market, together with Adhesive Studios, later this year.

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February 05, 2011

Riot Games & Tencent

Business

As was widely reported yesterday, the Chinese internet giant Tencent has agreed to acquire a majority of the capital stock of Los Angeles-based Riot Games, a Benchmark portfolio company. The transaction is a huge validation of Riot's meteoric rise to prominence in the online game business. CEO Brandon Beck, his co-founder Marc Merrill and the team at Riot have executed their business plan brilliantly, and the Tencent transaction now gives them a global platform to continue to disrupt the video game business for years to come. Congratulations!

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