This year’s contest, to be held during the GamesBeat 2011 conference in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel on July 12-13, will be moderated by Sana Choudary, chief executive of the game accelerator YetiZen. A new start-up itself, YetiZen take start-ups under its wing and helps them hone their businesses, introducing them to game industry insiders, lawyers, investors and game designers during three-month classes. Choudary is well-versed in the game industry and co-hosts the monthly SF Game Developers Workshop series, which draws hundreds of people each month to educational events and parties.
Our other judges include Tim Chang, a partner at venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners; Michael Chang, director of corporate development at Electronic Arts; and Terence Fung, head of corporate development at Zynga.
Tim Chang is one of the well-known experts on the game industry in investor circles. At Norwest, he focuses on investments in mobile, gaming, digital media and also leads NVP’s investment practice in China and Asia-Pacific. He was named to the 2011 Forbes Midas List of Top VCs and his venture investments have generated more than $1.3 billion in merger and acquisition exit value. He serves on the boards of Basis, AdChina, Lumos Labs, and AllReach Media. Two of Tim’s big investments were Ngmoco, which was acquired by DeNA for up to $403 million, and Playdom, acquired by Disney for up to $763.2 million.
Terence Fung is in charge of buying companies for Zynga. I don’t think they let Terence out much, since Zynga has been buying a game studio at a pace of one per month for the past year. Fung joined Zynga in January, 2010 and he heads the corporate development team. Previously, he was a senior banker at the investment bank Lazard, where he focused on domestic and cross-border technology and digital media advisory for 10 years. Prior to that, he was at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell.
And our last judge is Michael Chang, director of the corporate development team at EA, responsible for acquisitions and investments for the big video game publisher. He joined the company in July, 2010. Prior to that, he held roles at venture capital and private equity firms, including Bertram Capital, Apax Partners, Technology Crossover Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Yes, we’ll have Zynga and EA on the same stage. Hopefully, one day, they’re be fighting over which of our finalists to buy.
As much as these folks look alike (Sana excluded), they are not related. And they are sure to raise good questions, make interesting observations, and otherwise keep us entertained for what is usually one of the most fun parts of our events.
The contest will be similar to the presentations at our DEMO conferences. Each startup will get on stage for a few minutes. The judges will have a chance to ask a question or offer feedback. It will be great for the entrepreneurs to be exposed to some of the most discerning judges who have to look for great start-ups for a living. The judges will look at the companies based on their big ideas, originality, freshness, momentum, likelihood for business success, and their potential for making fun products.
These judges have worked hard for their on-stage glory. They read through 39 applications for the contest. We’ve already gone through our preliminary judging round today and we’ll announce our eight finalists shortly. The contest itself will take place on the afternoon of July 13th and we’ll announce the winner at the close of the conference that day.
To see the latest speakers, check out our post from yesterday.
We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.