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Zynga cofounder joins social casino game maker as investor and adviser

Above: Blackjack Casino is a rising hit for Bee Cave Games.

Image Credit: Bee Cave Games

Zynga cofounder Eric Schiermeyer has joined Bee Cave Games as an investor and board adviser.

The Austin, Texas-based Bee Cave Games is the developer of Blackjack Casino, a Facebook card game that’s rising in the charts. Social casino game startups have been hot for the last couple of years as the category has soared in popularity and real-money gambling barriers come down in various territories.

Schiermeyer was part of the group that joined Mark Pincus in starting Zynga in 2007. Schiermeyer led the team that created the social poker game Texas Hold’em Poker, which was renamed Zynga Poker and became the company’s ticket to riches in social gaming. He was a force behind the metric-driven approach that Zynga adopted for managing its live game services.

“Of all my founder interviews, it was my time with Eric that made me choose to sell GoPets to Zynga instead of other companies.” said Bee Cave Games chief executive Erik Bethke. “When I asked Eric ‘Which genres of games do you want to build here at Zynga: RPG, RTS, Casino, etc.?’ he smiled, looked at me intently, and said, ‘I don’t think about which genres; that is not the right question — I want to build products that reach 100 million people a day in all genres.’ And I was hooked instantly.”

Bethke went on to work with Schiermeyer on Zynga’s popular Mafia Wars game, the company’s second hit.

“It was Eric that trained me, along with all the other great product leaders on the best practices for data-driven game development and execution, such as the numbers review and roadmap processes that I still use to this day,” said Bethke. “I am so happy to have him as an adviser to our board. He will make Bee Cave Games a far stronger company with his vision and energy pushing us.”

Schiermeyer said, “I’m proud to invest in Erik Bethke and Bee Cave Games, having worked with Erik for many years and watched his ability to execute and adapt to changing circumstances makes me very confident in his abilities. He has done this several times before — building companies and being successful is old hat for him, and he has all the qualities I look for in an entrepreneur. The bottom line is that Erik won’t give up, won’t give in or fail as CEO of Bee Cave Games.”

Blackjack Casino is the No. 2 fastest-growing casino game on Facebook. The company is adapting the title for iOS, Android and 14 additional languages. Bee Cave Games was founded in 2012.


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