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< All founders' list

Mark Pincus

Quit Job to Start
Doesn't Code
Year of founding:
Current age:
Net worth:

1. Background



- B.Sc. in Economics


- Harvard University

- Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania

Previous Career:

- 1988: Mark Pincus started to work as an Analyst for New Media Group at Lazard Freres & Co.

- Pincus moved to Hong Kong, where he served as a Vice President for Asian Capital Partners for two years

- 1991 to 1993: Mark Pincus returned to the United States in order to attend Harvard Business School (HBS)

- 1992: Pincus spent a summer as an associate for Bain & Co.

- 1993: He graduated from HBS

- Pincus worked as a manager of corporate development at Tele-Communications, Inc., which is now AT&T Cable

- He joined Columbia Capital as Vice President, where he led investments in new media and software startups in Washington, D.C. for a year

- 1995: Mark Pincus founded Freeloader.Inc, which was backed by Softbank

- 1997: He founded SupportSoft, Inc went public in 2000 and valuated at $1.5B

- 2003: Mark Pincus founded

2. Origin Story

The Background

After tasting success with three startups - Freeloader Inc. SupportSoft Inc. and, Mark Pincus, a serial entrepreneur, made early investments in big names such as Facebook, Twitter, Napster, Snapchat, Paypal, and Xiaomi. Pincus always had a real passion for social media websites, making successful investments in many of them. That's not to say Pincus was cruising without any troubles, as he also made a number of failed investments - especially one in a company known as Tagsense.

The Spark

In 2007, Facebook had opened up their platform for other applications to join in the programming interface. As Mark Pincus used to closely follow Facebook's growth and its market capture, he knew that even if he can get a piece of the booming Facebook market, it would provide a head start for any startup to grow. Back then, Pincus had no knowledge of the gaming industry, though he liked the idea of gaming with friends. The only problem was that he could never get everyone under the same roof for gaming. Pincus thought of releasing a few social games over the Facebook network, to capitalise on the huge number of daily users that Facebook had. Adding a few quick games was a great way to bring people together and enjoy some time together online.

The Launch

On July 2007, Mark Pincus along with Eric Schiermeyer, Justin Waldron, Michael Luxton, Steve Schoettler, and Andrew Trader released the first social game – ‘Texas Hold’Em Poker‘. It was a great hit among the gaming community as well as the general public. Despite investors being more interested in gaming companies in the PC and console gaming giants, Zynga seemed to sneak its way in because of the games that they were offering - they could be played on most of the systems.

3. Other interesting points

- The company was named Zynga, in honour of Mark Pincus's bulldog 'Zinga'.

- Zynga was the second company after SupportSoft in 2011 that Pincus took public with a ~ $1 billion IPO.

- As of mid 2020, Mark Pincus's net worth is around $1.4 billion, owing partly to his 7% stake in Zynga, which has a net worth of $7 billion.

4. Quote

"Control your destiny. We all write this story for ourselves that we were really successful and the evil VC came in and f***** up our company. They backed us and got rid of us and if they had just left us alone. That’s everybody’s sob story in Silicon Valley. You f****** it up because you gave them control of it." - Mark Pincus

5. Company growth & sources (links)

Personal Story

How did they grow the company?