Understanding How to Sell VCs on Your Game, Part I: Nabeel Hyatt, Spark Capital

Zynga paid around $200 million for OMGPOP.

Nabeel Hyatt, a venture partner with Spark Capital, is in a unique position to understand game design as a VC, because he first began his career as a developer himself. Founder of Conduit Labs, a game studio acquired by Zynga in 2010, Hyatt then became a general manager at the social game giant, where he led development of Adventure World. Hyatt joined Spark just in time to be there when OMGPOP, a game company backed by Spark, was acquired by Zynga for around $200 million.

E-mail Nabeel Hyatt at nabeel@sparkcapital.com.

Notably, Spark stuck with the company even after struggling with a string of unsuccessful titles, so he was there when the company finally hit its stride with the cross-platform iOS/Facebook game Draw Something (see Figure 15-1). When it comes to hearing developers pitch him their ideas for a game company, “I’m always happy to hear from folks with a dream,” says Hyatt.

Figure 15-1: OMGPOP’s Draw Something, funded by Spark Capital.

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What Interests Hyatt in a Gaming Startup

If a game remains below 13 percent day one retention after a couple of months despite several attempts to grow this number, it may be time to kill it.

Besides user growth and revenue, Hyatt’s number one metric for games that interest him as investment prospects ...

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