The Rise of Zynga – The Start Up Story Of Mark Pincus
Zinga (zynga.com) was incorporated in April of 2007 by Mark Pincus in San Francisco, California. Just a few years later, the company began generating billions of dollars in revenue developing social games. Originally the project was named Presidio Media and the name was changed later in July of 2007 in honor of Mark’s dog. The entire production team included just nine people to run the full website and today Zynga has millions of users from all around the entire world, with a staff of hundreds of people. The company is responsible for some of the most popular social media games that are available online like: Farm Ville, City Ville, Zynga Poker, etc. According to its dollar value and revenue of more than $1 billion in 2012, Zynga is now competing amongst gaming industry giants such as electronic arts and Activision.
It is amazing to see a business that emerged from something fairly small over just a short period of time. The creator began Zynga wasn’t an already established entrepreneur. He had longed for other industries that had moderate success but there is a good chance that even Pincus could’ve imagined the success that his company Zynga was to have in the future. Pincus was extremely fascinated with the idea of the tech boom. His original entrepreneurial creations came in the form of several different websites and web products. He is invested in successful companies such as Cisco, Paypal, Facebook and more.
Before he created Zynga he always had a real passion for social media websites such as Friendster, Napster and EZboard. His past investments in these companies would eventually lead him to look into Zynga. Unfortunately for other investors in this project, Pincus made a number of failed investments especially one in a company known as Tagsense leading up to the inception of Zynga. This made it very difficult for investors to hop on the company bandwagon right away.
When Facebook opened up their platform for other applications to join in the programming interface, this is when Zynga came about. Deciding to get a piece of the booming Facebook market, the company would release a few social games over the Facebook network. Pincus always liked the idea of gaming with friends but could never get them all in the same place. Bu because many people use Facebook relatively often through the day, adding a few quick games was a great way to bring people together and enjoy some time together online. This is how in 2007, the first social game was introduced – ‘Texas Hold’Em Poker’. From the perspective of investors Zynga games were far too simple and looked very similar to shareware that was being developed at the time. Because there were high-quality games available for consoles, most investors that were looking into gaming companies were interested in the PC and console gaming giants. Zynga seemed to sneak its way in because the games that they were offering, anyone could play on most systems. This very simple poker game was a great way the players could play together and keep an active chip count amongst friends. Poker was extremely popular during 2007 and Zynga got in to ride the wave at the right time. The game was a success and this helped the company raise its first venture capital injection of $10 million in 2008. Later in the same year another group of investors provided $29 million and the company hired Bing Gordon – the ex creative officer in Electronic Arts. Having good amount of cash, Zynga decided to invest it in the purchase of the famous online game – YoVille.