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 in the early 1990’s became 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.
Jake Hawley, CTO
Jacob Hawley was previously, for 7 years, Worldwide Director of Technology for 2K Publishing at Take-Two Interactive, ranked in the top 10 videogame companies in the world by revenue. 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.
Brian Sullivan, CCO
Brian is an award winning game designer and serial entrepreneur. He has cofounded two game companies and co-created Age of Empires, one of the best-selling videogame franchises of all time, and Titan Quest. His games have sold over 25 million copies worldwide with revenues of $1 billion 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.
Zach Shukan, VP Art
Zach is the Founder and Creative Director of Omega Darling, a New York art agency, and former professor at the New York Film Academy and instructor at The New School. Winner of the prestigious Bruce Bolduc Award, his clients have included Nike, Miller, Mountain Dew, Sony, Samsung, Chase Bank, MTV, and Kanye West.
Previously, he was founder of IronZog, maker of the “War of Conquest” game, and the sixth full-time employee at Turbine, which became Boston’s largest videogames company with titles such as Lord of the Rings Online and was ultimately bought by Warner Bros. He holds a BFA in Film, Animation, and Video from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Jesse Hooper, Advisor (Advertising)
Jesse Hooper is an advisor and our choice for VP Business Development upon funding.
Jesse was a senior executive at Electronic Arts for 12 years, becoming Director, Studio Partnerships, responsible for managing the ad business for EA’s entire portfolio of mobile game titles, some 2/3 of EA’s advertising business by revenue. He owned advertising and partnership strategy for some of EA’s largest franchises, with a total of more than 1 billion lifetime downloads.
He managed a global team of ad producers that influenced product roadmaps and ad strategy for all of EA’s titles to ensure diverse needs of studio partners, advertisers, players, with a revenue line that was exceeded by 15% annually. He developed partner relationships with key ad tech clients including Google, Facebook, and Unity, for titles companywide including Madden, NBA, FIFA, Need for Speed, The Sims and SimCity, Tetris, Plants vs. Zombies, and many others.
Craig Alexander, Board Member
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 our 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.
Kate Edwards, Advisor (Cartography)
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 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. 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 and she plans to publish a culturalization handbook for game developers in 2018.
Mark Turner, Advisor (Augmented Reality)
Mark Turner is Chair of the AR/VR Working Group of the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow. He is also President, Entertainment Technologists, a boutique consulting and investment firm. Formerly, he was Co-Founder & COO of Ryff, an innovative startup using real-time graphics to modify video as it’s broadcast, and was a Vice President at Technicolor, in Corporate Development & Strategy running Cloud Production, Game Engine, VR, AR and Technology Licensing. Over a 23-year career, Mark has also held executive roles at Dolby Laboratories, Microsoft, BT Media & Broadcast, and Eutelsat.
Henrik Strandberg, Advisor (Free-To-Play Revenue)
Over thirty years in the gaming industry, Henrik has been intimately involved in all aspects of game publishing and business development, as well as design, production, and technology development, particularly around games-as-a-service technologies. He has been Director of Free-to-Play at Sega, Executive Producer at Atari, and Executive Producer at Turbine, where he worked for six years.
Most recently, he worked at Harmonix as Product Management Director for Rock Band VR, a fresh and innovative new take on an evergreen video game franchise, rebuilt from the ground up for a cutting edge new technology platform.
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 Entertainment America, 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 (Videogames)
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 market place 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.
James Pimentel-Pinto, Advisor
James originated the term “Creative Technology” in 2005 and founded the first European iPhone developer in 2008, delivering 27 Apple App Store Number Ones and contributed to Apple’s SDKs. Their prototype of a banking app for RBS / Natwest was produced on the iPhone 1, a year before iOS was even released.
James has advised startups from early stage to acquisition for over 10 years including Blippar (UK Unicorn), Testlio (Angelhack winner 2013) , Mindsauce, Eventopedia, Mobank and Touriocity. He built the BBC’s first mobile app.
JW Stealey, Advisor
Listed by Next Generation in their “75 Most Important People in the Games Industry”, Wild Bill Stealey was founder and CEO of videogame maker icon MicroProse, growing the company to over $43 million in annual sales, with games like Civilization and RailRoad Tycoon, then sold it to a Kleiner Perkins company.
He then founded and grew Interactive Magic to $24 million in annual sales. He is a retired US Air Force Lt. Colonel and former owner of the Baltimore Spirit of the National Professional Soccer League.
John Taylor, Advisor
John Taylor has more than 35 years’ experience in videogames. He co-founded Kesmai, the first commercial online gaming company in the world. He’s held senior executive positions at General Electric, News Corporation, Video Gaming Technologies, and Electronic Arts, and was honored with the 2011 Online Game Legend Award by the Online Game Developers Conference, which recognizes the career and achievements of an individual who has made an impact on the craft of online game development.
He has overseen numerous popular videogame titles, including “Island of Kesmai,” “Godzilla Online,” “Starship Troopers,” “Aliens Online,” “MultiPlayer BattleTech,” and “Air Warrior,” a first-of-its kind, multiplayer flight simulation game with a graphical interface. He developed the original Aries online game platform, the third generation of which powers EA’s Sims Online, and Omega, a massively multi-player (MMO) online gaming platform.
Most recently he was the CEO/Co-Founder of Castle Hill Gaming, developer and distributor of next generation Casino games to the Native American market.