Leveling up the gaming industry…

The Furry Yeti Heart: The People and Vision of YetiZen

May 1, 2013

This blog is post by William Price, our community volunteer.

Imagine yourself in a mansion: 20,000 square feet of hardwood floors with gaming murals on every wall. Trendy music plays from speakers mounted on thick wooden pillars. Bottomless hot tea, cold water and Red Bull are sitting on the counter free for the taking, and you sit around a table with some of the brightest new minds of the games industry. You look up from typing out the next big thing in gaming, and glance around the room at your peers; games designers and developers, programmers, artists, writers, musicians, all gathered in one place-and beside them, you.

You could be that handsome developer surrounded by well dressed strangers.

Pull Quote: “Games designers and developers, programmers, artists, writers, musicians, all gathered in one place-and beside them, you.”

This is not just a thought experiment: it’s a wish, granted in San Francisco, and it’s the vision our founders had at the inception of the YetiZen Innovation Lab a few short years ago. What we offer is much more than just a workspace: we offer coplay for everyone in the games industry. The spirit of coplay means we’re a place for gamers to work and play and create together. There is a lot that goes into making games, and no one person can be an expert in everything, so we host over 150 events a year where you can mingle and network with the over 6500 game developers that come by each year, then learn from experts who have excelled in their field and have special insights to share. This innovation lab was shown to the world in a video interview on Forbes. The absolute best part; the shared space is free to anyone in the games industry.

Pull Quote: “It’s a wish, granted in San Francisco”

For those of you who are further along and have launched your games and received some traction and are now looking to scale your companies, perhaps even raise your first VC round you may be in a position to apply to YetiZen’s prestigious accelerator program which sees over 1400 applicants per year. If you are among the top 1.5% of applicants whom we see as scalable startups with the potential to disrupt the industry, we will take you through 90 days of acceleration. Called the Harvard Business School of games (by those who are graduates of both YetiZen and Harvard Business School) the YetiZen accelerator program is the most intense program under the sun. We recognize how multifaceted and complicated the games industry is, so where other accelerators have 5 to 10 mentors, we have assembled a team of over 150 game industry veterans, who give multiple workshops on marketing, distribution, monetization and more. We connect you with partnerships, be it user distribution to acquisition and legal support-all at our aggressively negotiated partner rates.

Artist’s interpretation of an Accelerator Program. We accelerate startups, not particles.

Finally, we connect you with touchpoints and investors in the industry. We give you an opportunity to pitch your company to our esteemed board of advisors of 8 committed gaming VCs and a network of other angels and VCs. We hand select our VCs and angels so you get not only capital, but real value.

Smart money allowed only
When YetiZen partners with a company we partner for life, and we will see you through to success. With our continued support, we will continue to support your company through forming an exit partnership for mergers and acquisition.

Pullaway Quote: “When YetiZen partners with a company, we partner for life.”

The success we have achieved now is largely due to the strength and vision of our two co-founders, Sana and Japheth.

Starting it all is our CEO and co-founder Sana Choudary. Over the last 3 years she has been a cornerstone of the game developer ecosystem. She has built a reputation as a powerful force in creating successful entrepreneurs. She has been highly active in the entrepreneurial and gaming communities throughout her career as a leading member of Women 2.0, StartupWeekend, and as a co-founder of NYC’s largest entrepreneurial group Ultralight Startups, and YetiZen’s 52 events a year including the wildly popular SF Game Developer’s Workshop. Sana also personally coaches the YetiZen accelerator startups on business development, fundraising, and long term strategy. In addition to YetiZen, Sana chairs TiE SF and TiEcon Youth Track, the world’s largest entrepreneurship conference.

Right by her side since the beginning is our CCO and co-founder Japheth Dillman. He began making games over 20 years ago, taking college courses in programming at age 10, he is the Tony Stark of gaming. Today, he is equal parts Game Designer, Producer, and Evangelist. He is a veteran in the game space, with job titles ranging from Executive Producer to Lead Designer at studios such as Digital Chocolate, Flying Wisdom Studios, BigPoint, Chugulu, Aftershock Innovations, and many others.

Pull Quote: He is the Tony Stark of gaming.

And alongside these two great visionaries are a team of experts to round out the team.

Seth Crofton is our illustrious Director of Games and Immersive Toys. He has been working in the game industry since 2004, developing both traditional card and board games for niche and mainstream markets. Seth has worked on Augmented Reality games and transmedia products to support mobile games with toys and physical goods as well as MMO’s like World of Tanks. Seth is currently working with startups like Road Rebel, Camp Skookum, and Leviathans (From Catalyst game labs partnered with Lance Priebe’s video game studio). He works with our YetiZen accelerator game studios to bring toy merchandising immersed with their games for distribution and as new revenue streams.

By his side you will find our Distribution and Monetization master, Advisor Matt Tubergen. His background consists of over 10 years of experience in the mobile apps, games and marketing. He has served in senior management positions for American Greetings, THQ and W3i along with supporting multiple successful startups which he founded or co-founded. His background includes media acquisitions, mobile marketing and monetization strategies, product management and business development with partners spanning NFL to Disney. Matt currently leads the US division of Taptica. Matt mentors YetiZen accelerator companies on distribution and monetization strategies and modeling.

And holding it all together you will find our Staff and Event Manager Gordon Lai. He has worked with and been exposed to countless tech and game startups, developing superhuman speed and accuracy at directing the immense traffic he will be deluged with at any moment. YetiZen was just the connection he was looking for in order to utilize his full potential in the tech and gaming realm. On a daily basis you will find him organizing and coordinating the company’s events, and making the most out of every opportunity he gets. Whenever things get rough, you’ll find him in the thick of it, fending off catastrophes and making things work.

There is a lot of potential milling around in YetiZen, and we live and exist to help those startups achieve their potential. Come by YetiZen headquarters in the heart of San Francisco, on the second floor of 540 Howard Street, and join the excitement.

Changing the game industry one step at a time,
Team Yeti

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