Electronic Arts will be a significant investor in a young Vancouver-based venture capital fund formed in 2008 by three of EA's own former executives, according to reports.
According to a report
by private equity-focused news site peHUB, VanEdge Capital, formed last year by Paul Lee, Glenn Entis, and Jason Chein, will close on a $100 million, six-parter funding round this month. The specific extent of EA's own investment was not reported.
VanEdge is already known to be an investor in NeoEdge
, a Silicon Valley-based casual online game advertising platform. It was was also one of four Vancouver-based venture capital groups to receive funding from the government of British Columbia last year, according to a Vancouver Sun report
Lee, Entis, and Chein all have various levels of executive experience at EA, most significantly Lee, who served at the company for 17 years after Distinctive Software (later EA Canada) was acquired by the publisher. When he left, he held the title of EA Worldwide Studios president.
Entis held posts at EA from 2000 to 2008, following EA's acquisition of DreamWorks Interactive, where he had served as CEO. Chein, who works out of VanEdge's secondary Shanghai office, was an EA producer from 2000 to 2004, then returned as GM of EA China from 2006 to 2008.
Although venture capitalist firms traditionally have strong involvement with tech startups, video game developers have met with less success seeking that form of funding. Lee told peHUB that VanEdge's considerable game industry experience will give the firm an understanding other VC outfits lack.
"Most venture capitalists are pretty good on technology and the business angle," he said. "But what about the character sets and the artwork? Engineers feel much less comfortable with that. Is the gameplay engaging? They're even less comfortable with that."