John Doerr, one of the world’s most successful venture capitalists, has joined the game industry. Sort of. The famous partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has joined the board of directors at social-mobile gaming firm Zynga.
Doerr joins his colleague Bing Gordon as a member of Zynga’s board, and he arrives at a time when Zynga is still trying to make a comeback from a financial perspective. The company is still the biggest player in social games on Facebook, but its growth has stalled, and it has struggled in recent quarters. Now it is in the midst of a strategic shift to mobile games as it moves beyond Facebook.
“John has been a supporter of Zynga since our early days, and truly understands our core values and mission,” said Mark Pincus, chief executive and founder of Zynga, in a statement. “John has worked with some of the most well-known companies in the world at every stage imaginable and his experience helping teams innovate at scale will be a tremendous asset for our leadership team. I’m personally looking forward to working closer with John, a true pioneer in the consumer Internet space, and welcoming him to the board as a trusted advisor through this pivotal, transition year. John inspired us all to pursue creating Internet treasures. He is a true missionary and will deepen and strengthen our DNA.”
Doerr is a new addition to the board. His arrival could help the company see its way through the wilderness of the transition from social networking games to mobile games.
“In just five years Zynga has connected hundreds of millions of people to their friends for fun. What’s exciting is this is still day zero – just the beginning — of social gaming’s potential,” said John Doerr, general partner at Kleiner Perkins, in a statement. “With its deep talent, multi-platform technology, and millions of happy customers, Zynga will engage more of us wherever we play — whether on the web, phones, or tablets. I’m excited about working with Mark and the Zynga team in its next chapters of growth.”
Doerr joined Kleiner Perkins in 1980, and he has backed some of the world’s most successful companies, including Google, Amazon.com, and Intuit. His passion is helping entrepreneurs create the “next big thing.” He serves on the boards of several Internet technology companies, including Coursera, Flipboard, and Google.
Zynga’s other board members include Pincus, Gordon, Reid Hoffman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stanley Meresman, Sunil Paul, Ellen Siminoff, and Owen Van Natta.