PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eleven Ventures, a VC firm focused on consumer and enabling technology startups, today announced its launch—establishing a new co-creation model for investment and acceleration of early-stage companies. The firm was founded by serial entrepreneurs, Michael Howse and Greg Ballard, who across their high profile careers have collectively raised $300 million in funding for a range of marquee startups, providing more than $2 billion in value. Their expertise, both in fundraising and operations, has culminated in 3 IPOs, including Glu Mobile, 3dfx Interactive and Ancestry.com, as well as 8 exits, including Bigfoot Networks, Xfire and others.
Unlike traditional VC firms, micro-funds, or incubators, Eleven Ventures’ value-creation model is designed around deep integration with startup founding teams to create businesses and define strategies, as well as leverage a global network of corporate executives and investors to secure partnerships and funding. The firm is targeting startups in high-growth sectors, including VR/AR, estimated to be an $80B market by 2025; digital gaming, projected to be a $132B segment by 2020; and eSports, anticipated to be a $2B industry. Eleven Ventures will also make direct capital investments in select portfolio companies from a fund it is currently raising.
Eleven Ventures’ portfolio includes Lucid Performance, addressing the burgeoning mental fitness market with a startup co-founded by Jason Stirman, an early executive with both Twitter and Medium; Cinova, a platform for streaming high quality, low bit-rate VR video; Nitero, a leading-edge wireless VR technology company, which was recently acquired by AMD; OutPost Games, focused on making games as fun to watch as they are to play; and Nimble Collective, a virtual, collaborative animation platform addressing the $90 billion animation content creation market, among others.
“Startups are hungry for operational expertise that goes beyond the traditional capital investment, and Eleven Ventures provides a new, proven model for helping to build dynamic companies in some of today’s highest growth segments,” said Howse. “We bring our own operating experience to the table with founding teams and contribute to their work as if we were one of them. And we will be. We also invest, but we do so because we’re involved, not to become involved,” added Ballard.
“Eleven Ventures was instrumental at our inception with strategic guidance and resources as well as to help secure significant funding, which culminated in an oversubscribed $6M investment round,” stated Wright Bagwell, CEO and co-founder at Outpost Games. “That foundation work paved the way for where we are today -- preparing to disrupt online entertainment with a platform that facilitates games that are as fun to watch as they are to play.”
About Michael Howse
A skilled entrepreneur, CEO and investor, Howse's career spans more than 20 years with expertise in cloud services, consumer technology, interactive entertainment, and mobile applications, where he has helped to build a range of highly profitable companies and global brands.
Prior to co-founding Eleven Ventures, Michael served as corporate VP of new ventures at AMD, where he spearheaded new business development and acquisitions. Previously, he was CEO of Bigfoot Networks, and led the company through its acquisition by Qualcomm. Additionally, Howse was integral in mainstreaming the 3D graphics category for consumers, and served as senior VP of marketing and business development at 3dfx, where he conceived and led a strategy that increased revenue from $20 million to over $400 million in three years.
Howse is the recipient of an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences award for his pioneering work. He is currently an executive committee member of UCLA Ventures, and sits on the board of Lucid Performance and is an investor in Outpost Games and founder/investor in Nimble Collective.
About Greg Ballard
Throughout a distinguished career, spanning several decades, Ballard has honed his expertise in digital transformation and entertainment, with deep experience in strategic development and leadership. Most recently, he served as senior VP of Social, Mobile and Emerging Platforms at Time Warner, where he led the studio’s mobile games business worldwide.
Additionally, Ballard served as president and CEO at Glu Mobile, an early pioneer in mobile games, which completed a notable IPO in 2007; CEO at SONICblue, makers of ReplayTV; CEO at MyFamily.com, later renamed Ancestry.com; and CEO at 3dfx where, over three years, he grew the company from $4 million to over $400 million. He has also held executive positions with Warner Custom Music, Capcom U.S., known for blockbuster hits such as Street Fighter, as well as Digital Pictures.
Ballard is presently on the board of directors of game headset maker Turtle Beach (NASDAQ: HEAR), and has served on the board of xFire, an online gaming platform and community purchased by Viacom in April 2006, as well as on the public boards of THQ (NASDAQ: THQI), Pinnacle Systems and IGN. He holds a BA from the University of Redlands and a JD from Harvard Law School.
About Eleven Ventures
Based in Palo Alto, CA, Eleven Ventures is a VC firm focused on consumer and enabling technology startups, and is pioneering a new co-creation model for investment and acceleration of early-stage companies. The firm was founded by proven serial entrepreneurs, Michael Howse and Greg Ballard, who have collectively raised $300 million in funding and provided $2 billion in value across their high profile careers. The Eleven Ventures portfolio currently includes Lucid Performance, Cinova, Nitero, and others to be announced.