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Jagex: UK investors "painfully shy and risk averse"

Tue 10 Jan 2012 3:07pm GMT / 10:07am EST / 7:07am PST
BusinessDevelopment

CEO Mark Gerhard says US is "more attuned to this market and understanding of fast paced tech"

Jagex Games Studio

Jagex Games Studio has developed and self-published over 40 online titles, including the Guinness World...

jagex.com

After news this week that Runescape developer Jagex is now 55 per cent owned by Insight Venture Partners, CEO Mark Gerhard was keen to share the truth about the deal and explain the attraction of an American investor.

"I don't want to do anyone a disservice of course, but from my exposure to people in the UK, European investment space it tends to be painfully shy, risk averse, by and large," he explained in an exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

"Without doubt the American investment mindset is far more attuned to this market and understanding of the fast paced tech, change, content, entertainment."

"They're far more comfortable, by and large, to say here's a great team, with a great pedigree, let's go help and have some fun and we'll see what happens."

That wasn't a problem with Insight, which has invested in a number or tech companies, including Twitter and Tumblr. Jagex has been working with them since 2005, and Gerhard described them as part of the family.

"Of course we knew Insight well, we got on fabulously with them, we knew they'd be good partners going forward," he explained.

"The crucial point is that there was never a pressure for us to do anything, or a need for us to sell any. And we were very selective. We spent almost a year determining who would come in, and who we'd allow to become part of the Jagex family."

Gerhard wanted to clear up any confusion caused by the recent discovery of Insight Venture Partners' investment via Companies' House documents. The deal actually took place in late 2010, when the New York VC firm added another 20 per cent of shares to the 35 per cent it purchased in 2005.

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