As an early stage investor in games and digital media, Graham Gockley works with talented founders and their teams to help them achieve their business goals and bring world class experiences to audiences around the world. He started my career in consulting, advising top technology companies on acquisitions and investments, where his clients included Microsoft and Glu Mobile. He then went in-house and worked in corporate development at GREE, a large public gaming company in Japan that was expanding and acquiring studios outside of Tokyo. Realizing that he would need some more in-depth experience, Gockley then went to work in product management at Zynga where he operated and shipped mobile puzzle games. This blend of finance, strategy, acquisition, and product experience have helped him form a unique skill set that he uses to scan the market for solid investments and support his portfolio companies.
Gockley joins us for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital 2020 where he will be identifying, with a panel, what the next big acquisitions are and discussing what is driving them. Gockley will also be taking part in the Investor Connector, a fringe event dedicated to connecting investors with developers who are seeking funding.
Before the event takes place next month, we caught up with Gockley to see what’s changed in the games industry since he joined, and what trends he expects to see over the next 12 months in the industry.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a bit about Transcend Fund
We shepherd companies through various rounds of financing and help with acquisitions or other exits scenarios
Graham Gockley: Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, the Transcend Fund is an early stage venture capital firm that partners with some of the most ambitious and talented founders in the industry to collaboratively build the future of digital entertainment.
What does your role entail?
Venture capital is a unique blend of sourcing, evaluation, execution, support, and research. I spend multiple hours per day talking with founders (or soon to be founders) about their business plans and passions. I work with my team to ensure that potential investments are a solid fit with our portfolio and views on the market. We shepherd companies through various rounds of financing and help with acquisitions or other exits scenarios. Sometimes it's helpful just to be a sounding board with our founders, finding different ways to support them on high level strategic planning or smaller tactical items like recruiting.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
There will continue to be a shift from importance of platforms to ecosystems - as the big tech companies seek alternative sources of growth, gaming will become a key battleground
Personally, I've loved games since my first gameboy and find it exhilarating to work with people passionate about building the next great gaming experiences. Professionally, games are a blend of technology and entertainment that brings together an innovative mindset with a focus on audience experience that can't be beat.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
Find an aspect of the industry that matches your passion and skill set. Find the companies with leaders that embody that passion and dedication to crafting amazing games.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
It’s difficult to understate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on all industries and gaming in particular. The associated lockdowns have accelerated both audience and revenue growth for games, hopefully giving audiences around the world access to excellent (and relatively cheap) entertainment options in these intense times.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
Developers on all platforms want to create a more direct and sustained relationship with their players, and now has never been a better time to build companies that can deliver on that goal
There will continue to be a shift from importance of platforms to ecosystems - as the big tech companies seek alternative sources of growth, gaming will become a key battleground. Sometimes these shifts will work to the advantage of developers (favorable upfront deals for content) but other times they will challenge teams to make long-term strategic decisions that may not be easily unwound (who will be the best partner for my team and our goals).
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
The growth of mobile has been steady and relentless, signaling that the market will continue to expand as more people have access to great games and more practices born from mobile (like free-to-play) will permeate other platforms over time. Developers on all platforms want to create a more direct and sustained relationship with their players, and now has never been a better time to build companies that can deliver on that goal.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
I’m looking forward to learning from the roster of excellent speakers and excited to meet new talented teams.