Johnny Monsarrat, CEO
In 1994, Johnny founded the first company to begin work building Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMOs), now a $30 billion industry, Turbine. Turbine won two “Oscars” of the videogame industry and was acquired by Warner Brothers for $160 million.
In technology, Johnny is an internationally award-winning artificial intelligence expert from the MIT AI Lab, MIT Media Lab, Harvard, and Brown University, who helped build the first true juggling robot, and was the first person to drive a robot remotely using the Internet.
In business, he is an Ivy League award-winning public speaker with an MIT MBA, and a Guinness World Record and Richard Dawkins Apex Award businessman who has consulted to billionaires including Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller) and Cyan Banister (Uber, PayPal investor, “Johnny gets shit done!”).
Todd Shallbetter, COO
Todd Shallbetter was COO of Atari for 6 years, and a senior executive there for the previous 7. There he managed all aspects of the iconic videogame maker, including business development, game publishing, marketing, management of staff, recruiting, and financing, both day-to-day and leading and implementing the long-term vision and strategy.
Most recently, he was SVP Partnerships at Level Ex, creating industry-leading mobile, AR, and VR games for physicians.
William Chen, CTO
William Chen was previously Vice General Manager, 2nd to the CTO managing all technology and development at Tencent Games, now the world’s largest videogame company. He was also CTO and VP Development at Shanda Games, which was at the time China’s #1 videogame company. He led and shipped WorldZero, the world first MMO creation platform, similar to Roblox and Minecraft today. And he led technology behind MMO games including Asura, DragonNest, World Zero, Pelycosaur, Dreamlands, and Legend, the top selling MMO of all time in China, with $15B USD in revenue.
He was also Director of Technology at Disney Interactive Studios, managing the tech team for all of Disney’s console games. Most recently, he was Founder and CEO of Haymaker Games, including a next generation VR action thriller, The Walker, growing the company to 300+ people and a successful acquisition. William got his BS CS at CSU Sacramento and has also had lead roles at Square Enix, LucasArts, and Activision, and as senior advisor in gaming to Snap.
Steve Meretzky, Chief Creative Officer
Steve Meretzky is an MIT alumnus, acclaimed game designer and BAFTA winner named one of gaming’s “25 Game Gods” by PC Gamer Magazine, who pioneered casual game (1994), free-to-play game (2000), and mobile game (2005) industries.
At Infocom, he designed hit Zork Zero and hit Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, co-designed with Douglas Adams. At WorldWinner, he designed Solitaire Rush and SwapIt! which earned $200MM.
He was VP of Game Design at Playdom, whose hits games including Mobsters, Sorority Life, Social City, and Gardens of Time justified its acquisition by Disney for $650MM. He was then VP of Game Design at Disney Social Games. He then served as VP Creative at GSN Games (Sony), where he led all design and art for their $200MM/year social casino business, including GSN Casino, a top ten mobile game. He was then as VP Games at King, the mobile games giant, a division of Activision.
A former board member of International Game Developers Association, he’s advised multiple special summits at Game Developers Conference, and won their 2008 Game Design Challenge.
James Chung, Creative Producer
James Chung has 20 years’ experience as a creative executive, directing creative and art needs for dozens of projects, from concept to ship. Previously, at Activision, he co-developed the original Call of Duty, the $27B videogame franchise. He also served as Art Director at Electronic Arts, working on hit games and high-end projects including Sims 2 Pets, Spore, American Idol, and NBA Street.
Then as Art Director of Ogmento, and five years before Pokemon Go, he co-created the first Hollywood AR mobile walking game, based on the movie franchise, Paranormal Activity.
Most recently, James was founder and CEO of Studio Roqovan, a content development studio with a specialty in VR. There, he originated the world’s first multiplayer first-person shooter game for VR, World War Toons, and was responsible for the artistic and creative vision of all projects, and involved with all aspects of game development, management, executing deals, client relations, and fundraising. His dozens of mobile, PC, and console games have also included Star Wars: Tiny Death Star (Disney), MMO game Aion (NCSOFT), and Tetris Online.
David Anderman, Advisor
David Anderman is a seasoned executive in technology, media, and consumer products, and former General Counsel of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, who assisted their 2020 raise of $1.9B.
He previously spent 16 years at Lucasfilm Ltd., George Lucas’s entertainment empire, where as COO he was responsible for the day-to-day business of all subsidiaries.
In 2012, he negotiated the $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, earning the Variety Dealmaker of the Year Award. He also negotiated deals including:
- First ever presentation of a feature film via digital cinema for Star Wars: Epsiode I
- First satellite distribution of a theatrical release for Star Wars: Episode II
- First user generated fan video site for a major film property, StarWars.com
- Long term license agreements with Hasbro, LEGO, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony Online and others, as well hundreds of merchandise and promotional licenses in over 100 countries for Star Wars and Indiana Jones
- Digital, theatrical, and home video distribution agreements with Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., Apple, and Yahoo!
In between, he was Chief Business Officer and General Counsel for Jaunt, the AR/VR platform acquired by Verizon, helping raise $125M from Disney, CAA, China Media Capital, and others.
Stephen Saltzman, Advisor
Stephen Saltzman was previously Managing Director for Intel Capital for 16 years, specializing in AR/VR, video games, and esports.
Previously, he helped Intel’s PC Enhancement Operation grow from $6M/year to over $250M/year in 3 years. Then he co-founded Now Software, which became the largest Macintosh-only software publisher in the world. Then he was founder and General Manager of Intel’s Wi-Fi division. Stephen is a former Inc. Magazine-Ernst & Young Software Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and a former Oregon High-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. His investment portfolio exits include 3eTI (EF Johnson), AeroScout (Stanley Black & Decker), AirMagnet (Danaher), EETI (Taiwan Exchange IPO: 3556), InVisage (Apple), IPass (Nasdaq IPO: IPAS), Jajah (Telefonica) RapidBridge (Qualcomm), SyChip (Murata) and Vocera (Nasdaq IPO: VCRA).
Jake Hawley, Advisor (Games)
Jacob Hawley was previously, for 7 years, Worldwide Director of Technology for 2K Publishing at Take-Two Interactive, one of the world’s top 10 videogame companies. There he had P&L responsibility for $40M+ annual for core technology and tech roadmap for all of the global development studios. He successfully delivered 21 AAA titles, including Bioshock and Borderlands, which generated over $5B in revenue.
He was also Senior Director of Technology and Business Development at Intellectual Ventures, where he received multiple President’s Club awards for top sales and licensing revenue, and COO of Blind Squirrel Entertainment, where he delivered 6 of the top 10 Steam Games of 2016. Most recently, he founded and built TLM Partners, a technology outsourcing company whose customers include 2K Games, R* Games, EA, Warner Bros, Skydance, Starbreeze, Nomadic VR, and RedPill VR. He has a BS from MIT.
Craig Alexander, Advisor (Games)
Craig is the Senior Vice President of Production & Digital Studio for Global Product at Pearson, the world’s largest education company, with over 35,000 employees in more than 70 countries. There he is accountable for the successful end-to-end production of Higher Education courseware across all formats and product models including print, eText, rich media, current generation supplemental, and next generation digital including AR/VR, as well as oversight of Pearson rights & permissions, and global content solutions.
Previously, he managed videogames for more than 20 years as Vice President of Product Development at Warner Brothers / Turbine, Vice President and General Manager at Activision, Vice President of Production at Electronic Arts, and General Manager at Sierra Online.
Dave Lorenzini, Advisor (AR, mapping)
Dave Lorenzini is a global leader in AR and spatial computing, and on the board that manages Augmented World Expo, the world’s biggest augmented reality conference. He co-created Google Earth as Director of Keyhole.
Previously, at ARc, he led XR product, platform and business strategy work for clients including Google and Facebook. He was an executive in satellite imaging at Maxar, and co-founded Open AR Cloud Association, the leading spatial computing industry effort creating open and interoperable reality based systems. He is also now Director of Visualix (deep AR positioning).
Craig Kornblau, Advisor (Hollywood)
Craig Kornblau built his media career at NBC Universal and Disney, where he spearheaded projects around transformative technology and delivery, and is now principal of a strategic consulting firm.
Craig was President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment for 15 years, where he oversaw sales, marketing, distribution, and finance for Universal’s North American home entertainment operations. A critical function of this position was his participation on the studio’s theatrical greenlight committee. Prior to Universal, Craig was an executive at Buena Vista Home Video, now Walt Disney Home Entertainment. He is GV’s (formerly known as Google Ventures) first advisor from the media and entertainment sector, and he serves on the board of directors of a variety of companies in the media and tech space.
He has a broad network of consumer and retail partners including Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Target and Walmart. Craig has previously held board positions with the Consumer Electronics Association, Digital Entertainment Group, Media Audits International, and Next Level Communications. Craig earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.
Kate Edwards, Advisor (Mapping)
Kate Edwards has 30+ years’ experience as a private sector geographer, cartographer, and geopolitical and cultural strategist. She pioneered the field of digital content “culturalization” to identify geopolitical and cultural risks and opportunities in corporate products and services, first as Microsoft’s head geopolitical strategist and now as an independent consultant at her company, Geogrify.
She was Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association from 2012 to 2017, and now is Executive Director of the Global Game Jam. During her time at Microsoft and since, she’s worked on many game franchises, including Halo, Fable, Age of Empires, Dragon Age, Modern Warfare, Mass Effect and many others. She’s also the founder of the IGDA’s Localization SIG and co-organizer of the former Localization Summit at GDC. Kate has been a columnist for MultiLingual Computing magazine since 2005.
Brian Sullivan, Advisor
Brian is an award winning game designer and serial entrepreneur. He has cofounded two game companies and co-created Age of Empires, the $1B Microsoft game franchise, and Titan Quest. His games have sold over 25 million copies worldwide and have won countless industry awards. He has also helped develop the game program at Northeastern University, including teaching game design courses. Previous to working in the games industry, Brian was an IT consultant for over a dozen years. He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University.
Eric Hartness, Advisor (Esports)
Eric Hartness is a partner at Fog Break Ventures, consulting in esports, research, and marketing, with clients including VGM, GameChangerSF, ReKTGlobal, and Greenlit Content.
He was previously VP Marketing at BANDAI NAMCO, Head of Marketing for Amazon Game Studios, and Vice President of Marketing for nine years at Electronic Arts. Eric has over 30 years of global marketing experience in entertainment and technology. He earned a BSBA from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Eric Elder, Advisor (Augmented Reality)
Eric started his career as a 2D animator at MTV on Beavis & Butthead and then moved to LA to work on King of the Hill and The Simpsons. He spent 15 years working with the Art Institutes as an Instructor and then founded the most successful Video Game production training programs in the system, then he founded OW! (Online Worlds) Entertainment in 1997 to create virtual worlds for movie and TV properties.
For the past few years he has been focused on the emerging AR/VR industry, including being Interactive VR/AR, Games Production Manager at Legend, with its many VR experiences for Marvel, Lionsgate, and others. He manages productions, designs pipeline models, game/experience design, does strategic planning, and develops studio pitches for AR & VR based on major Hollywood IP. His revolutionary Game Wizards video game training program, which has helped launch the careers of some of the top talent in AAA games today, turns 16 years old this year and he is gearing up to launch the next version of the program as a XR laboratory piloted at the Crenshaw Innovation Center.
Eric Kress, Advisor (Games)
Eric has over 20 years of executive experience in the video game business including being Product Manager, Marketing and Manager, EA Brand at Electronic Arts, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Operations at Kabam, and Bay Street Research.
He is currently Principal at Gossamer Consulting Group, which provides primary research on worldwide console and mobile markets. His company provides proactive insights into current trends in the marketplace and identifies opportunities for investments. With a deep industry expertise, Gossamer Consulting Group is able to monitor trends in the interactive space including emerging technologies to better position their industry and investor clients.
Justin Sindecuse-Hayden, Development Manager
Justin is a senior Computer Science Games major at the University of Southern California where he serves as the Director of Technology of Open Alpha, USC’s Premiere Game Design Club. He is also a member of the W.V.T. Rusch Honors Program as well as a Presidential Scholarship recipient and Renaissance Scholar. Additionally, he is earning a minor in Comedy Performance.
Justin has work experience with the Multinational Fortune 50 company Centene Corporation as a software engineering intern where he developed a UI/UX application on a team with senior developers. He also spent many years as an intern at Capital Innovators, a top-ranked accelerator program, where he helped startups accelerate their growth.