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Gardner looks to fund future-thinking game talent

Wed 28 Apr 2010 1:16pm GMT / 9:16am EDT / 6:16am PDT
BusinessPeople

London Venture Partners hopes to accelerate growth of the industry with new investments

Former Atari CEO and Electronic Arts executive David Gardner has joined London Venture Partners with the intention of funding future-thinking games businesses.

Speaking at the Nordic Game event in Malmo, Sweden, he gave some insight into the types of businesses and talent the company is looking to fund, stating that the team behind any product is more important than making "ten times" the initial investment.

"My main objective has been to work with people that are doing great things that I like and doing things that are going to accelerate the state of the industry. Because I want to be involved in moving the industry forward and being relevant in the industry. So as an investor I take that very different thought process," he said.

"I'm not necessarily trying to make ten times what I put in. You evaluate your risk and then ask, 'will this work in a bigger picture?'"

Gardner was most recently involved in the Atari business, hiring new staff in an ambitious effort to reboot the company as a digital publisher. Earlier this month it was revealed that he and former Sony studios boss Phil Harrison had left the company, along side high-profile signing Paulina Bozek.

But the interest in new opportunities in the games business remains, and he has personally invested in the growing Unity business. Today he said that although the criteria for future investments at London Venture Partners may change, essentially it will take bets on the future of the games industry

"As we evolve that idea into a fund and managing other people's money, we will be making much bigger investments," he offered. "I think our list and our criteria will change but fundamentally it's around being ahead of where the industry is today.

"There's no easy way for a start-up company to be successful competing against an established player. You absolutely need to make a bet on where you think things are going to move and place your forward bets. When you do that you want people who are very passionate about what they are trying to achieve, that are obviously smart."

"It's interesting that there's a lot of talk about taking data from players and using that in a feedback loop, but you can apply that to businesses, can it grow?" asked Gardner. "The answer is that most companies don't, they have a huge problem with that, and that's when small companies get born and are acquired. It's part of that loop. And that's where I want to live."

More insight from Nordic Game 2010 can be read on our events page, here.

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