Benchmark Capital has hired Mitch Lasky, the early chief executive of mobile games company Jamdat Mobile that was acquired by Electronic Arts in late 2005.
Lasky will move to Silicon Valley from Los Angles to join Benchmark’s seven other partners. Benchmark is considered a leading venture firm, having invested in eBay, Tellme, MySQL and others. The firm prides itself the equal status of its partners, in contrast to many other firms, where there can be hierarchies ranging from managing partner on top to the suitcase-carrying principal at bottom. The Benchmark partners took a “pay-cut” to bring Lasky on board — dividing profits (“carry”) and fees by eight, instead of seven. The price for that kinship, however is that Lasky needed be here, though he has worked in LA for 18 years.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Lasky said he’ll spend a lot of time in Los Angles area, though, noting the area is underserved by venture capital. Indeed, it took his Los Angeles-based Jamdat ten months to find its first source of funding, and even then got it from New York.
At Benchmark, he’ll focus on mobile content and platforms, interactive entertainment and digital privacy and identity.
Lasky and Benchmark grew close after Benchmark partner Bill Gurley invested in Jamdat’s second round of financing in 2003. Lasky became Jamdat’s chief executive six months after it was founded, taking it from 11 employees to 600, from zero more than $100 million in revenue. Jamdat went public in 2004, and Electronic Arts acquired it for $680 million in late 2005. Lasky served as EVP of EA Mobile. Here’s a short bio.
Gurley said Lasky showed good judgment and tolerance for risk when he left his job running studios at Activision to join a fledgling Jamdat, which at the time barely had a single game on WAP.
[Update: Forgot to mention Lasky’s height. He is 6’3, and therefore holds his own in this notoriously tall firm, where the average height was originally reported at 6’5 by author Randall Stross in his entertaining book about Benchmark called eBoys.]
Here’s a piece last year on Lasky by the Merc’s Dean Takahashi.