When David Gardner, Paul Heydon and I started LVP we did so with a belief - perhaps borne of naivety, but no less valuable for it - that our success would come not through being great at picking startups, but being great at helping both our startups and the wider ecosystem.
To be sure, the ‘picking’ part is kind of crucial, but in all honesty, our secret sauce here is not so secret: we are obsessively sector focussed which, coupled with our previous operational experience (and thus networks), gives us a massive advantage when it comes to both sourcing and evaluating deal flow. And it remains a fundamental pillar of our thesis that we stay sector focussed - it’s how we ensure our picking stays sharp.
But we also need to remain operationally engaged. To be great at helping our startups, we need to be able to offer smart thoughts when we’re working with our entrepreneurs. Smart not just at a corp dev level, but also at a deep operational level, and that means we need to stay engaged and relevant, and keep our capabilities as renewed and as honed as those of our portfolio companies.
To do that, we need to ensure we shape LVP’s intentions accordingly, and nothing says as much about the intentions of an organisation as the nature of the talent it recruits.
This quarter, we aim to recruit 3 new colleagues. And I’m thrilled to say the first of these is already on board.
Anyone who has spent time with LVP will be familiar with our thinking around what we’re cheesily calling “the A-Team”. A is for Acceleration. We believe that we best serve our entrepreneurs (and therefore our LPs and ourselves) not by solely expanding our investment team, but by expanding our ability to assist our portfolio companies across very direct strategic and operational challenges. We aim to do this by recruiting world-class talent directly from the sectors in which we invest, and since that’s only the games sector, this is an entirely feasible objective (remember what I said earlier about sector focus conferring massive advantage?)...
Welcome to LVP, Are Mack Growen!
Are joins us as VP Product Portfolio. For sure, he will be contributing greatly to our deal flow and investment efforts, but his expertise lies in helping build great games companies that build great games, most recently as VP Europe and Head of Western Business at Gumi, and previously as GM Electronic Arts Interactive Japan, VP Playfish and GM China Playfish, and founder of several other companies and games studios. Are’s studios have achieved top 10 Facebook social games, BAFTA awards, multiple top 20 games in Japan, including a number 1.
On a personal note, Are and I served together on the board of a European games company, and I was constantly impressed at the detailed, almost surgically accurate and appropriate help and feedback he was able to provide. I remember thinking: this is gold… I need to find a way to capture this thinking and apply it across LVP’s portfolio. What better way to achieve this than have him join us full time?
1 down and 2 to go. We’re not quite ready to post job descriptions, but let me say this: if you’re a games fanatic with encyclopaedic knowledge of what’s great and why, and you love nothing more than networking with developers, analysing games and championing the next big thing; or you’re a financial data guy who loves modelling almost as much as you love games, then you should think of getting in touch.