Pokémon Go maker Niantic has named Megan Quinn as chief operating officer. Founder and CEO John Hanke said in a post that Quinn will lead business operations and international development for the company as it prepares for the next phase of growth.
He said that Quinn has been a supporter of the mission since the company’s roots as a part of Google. At Google, she worked for Hanke in various roles for seven years before Niantic even got started. It’s a significant appointment, as high-ranking women are still rare in game companies and women make up roughly 20% of game industry professionals. It’s also important as Niantic has seen great success, with hundreds of millions of downloads and billions of dollars in revenues.
“Megan was the product lead for our internal map building efforts at Google and was one of the first to join Niantic when it was created as an experimental lab within Google,” Hanke said. “Megan went on to lead product at Square before turning to venture capital, first at Kleiner Perkins and then at Spark where she led investments in a series of highly successful and prominent late-stage technology companies, including Niantic. She has been a member of the Niantic board since 2017.”
Hanke also said the company is accelerating investments in augmented reality (AR) and mapping, and it’s diversifying its roadmap.
“This isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly — people rarely leave venture capital roles at great firms, and for good reason,” Quinn said in a blog post. “It is a constant learning opportunity in a myriad of industries and a privilege to work with visionary entrepreneurs on the precipice of becoming industry leaders. I’d argue there is no better platform than Spark, where I have felt fortunate to work with a great team of investors and world class entrepreneurs over the past five years. I’m grateful to continue that work through ongoing board service and remain an ardent supporter of the partnership and portfolio.”
Last month, Niantic acquired 6D.ai to advance work building a dynamic 3D map of the world. Hanke said the company has a multiyear pipeline of new products and experiences that reimagine the intersection of AR and real-world gaming. And Niantic is actively adjusting current products to bring the joy of games to people at home while they shelter in place during the global health pandemic.
Quinn said Hanke offered the role last fall and it led her to reflect on her meaningful career moments.
“My time with the Niantic team over the past decade — first as a team member, later as an adviser, and more recently as an investor and active board director — has been the constant,” she wrote. “I believe very deeply in our founding mission: that at its best, technology can make us better versions of ourselves as more active, engaged, and curious members of our communities — something I believe people value now more than ever. I believe that augmented reality combined with a sense of place is the next transformative platform for consumer discovery and exploration. And, I believe the opportunity for Niantic is much bigger now than we imagined then.”