The Las Vegas sweepstakes startup Kizzang has lost two top executives who helped form the company earlier this year.
Kizzang launched in March, when it announced it will give away $7.7 million in a March Madness college basketball bracket contest. Founder Robert Alexander, a 27-year veteran of the game console business, told us at the time that the company would offer big sweepstakes prizes and recruit participants via modern social means. The idea was to combine web-based games with fantasy sports, online play, and sweepstakes.
But we’ve learned that Bernie Stolar, chief executive of the company, and Vince Bitetti, chief product officer, have both resigned after short stints at Kizzang. Both confirmed that they are no longer with the company, and they referred questions to Alexander. Stolar was previously CEO of Adscape and had high-profile management positions at Mattel, Sega, and Sony. Bitetti was the former chief of TDK’s video game business. Stolar confirmed that he resigned for personal reasons.
“Mr. Stolar and Mr. Bitetti both voluntary turned in their resignations, which were accepted by the company,” wrote Alexander in a response to our query. “We are based in Las Vegas, Nev., and neither Vincent nor Bernie wanted to relocate on a permanent basis. Neither were actively involved in the product line scheduled to be released Aug. 12, and while their resignations were a loss to me personally based on my relationship with them, the loss of either of these individuals has no impact on Kizzang and its further growth.”
Alexander said that eight new games are scheduled to be announced in August.
According to Alexander, nobody won the big prize back in March. Alexander is the former head of Game Ballers and a pioneer in games. He wanted to combine the best of fantasy sports, online gaming, and sweepstakes in a single company. The company is targeting sports consumers who are older and like to gamble. But these players are not necessarily on platforms such as Facebook. Alexander hopes they will come in droves because they like the sound of the word “free.” The team was self-financed and started operations in January.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase your ticket now to save $200!