LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Social games publisher We R Interactive today announces the appointment of Christian Purslow - former Managing Director of Liverpool FC, to the newly created role of Non-Executive Independent Director. Purslow’s appointment follows his investment in the company - his first since leaving the football club.
He joins the We R Interactive Board line-up which includes CEO David Rose, Chairman Richard Dale and Co-Founders Oli Madgett, Tom Thirlwall and Chris Kelly.
Commenting on his decision to lend his financial backing to We R Interactive and now join the company, Purslow said, “Having over the last year watched the management of We R interactive meet all their business objectives stated at launch, deliver on everything they promised and sharing their vision of where they want to take the company, We R Interactive ticked all the right boxes for me initially as an investment; and then as an opportunity to be involved in a business where I can help its future development.
“We R Interactive is taking social gaming to another level with a fresh and truly innovative user experience. Its first game, I AM PLAYR, allowing you to experience the life of a footballer, through the eyes of a footballer, is proving to be a massive success already and I’m thrilled to be getting involved with We R Interactive as this now proven model is rolled out to new product genres.”
Before joining Liverpool FC, Purslow occupied high-level positions in the private equity industry. He was a Founding Partner of MidOcean Partners, a New York and London-based mid-market private equity firm where he focused on investing in, and managing, portfolio companies in Europe. Purslow was a winner of both the British Venture Capital Association and the European Venture Capital Association’s prestigious Deal of the Year Awards. He remains a significant investor in MidOcean Partners and a Member of its Executive Board. Purslow was also a Director at Morgan Grenfell Private Equity and a founding partner at Deutsche Bank Capital Partners.
Prior to this Purslow enjoyed a successful investment banking career, with roles including Head of Media, Cable, and Entertainment Investment Banking for Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, Europe and Head of U.K. Mergers and Acquisitions for Credit Suisse First Boston in London. He has served on the Boards of Directors of many portfolio companies and most recently as a Senior Independent Director and Head of the Audit Committee for the Madrid Stock Exchange listed company Grifols - a Barcelona-based pharmaceutical public company.
David Rose, CEO, We R Interactive said of the appointment, “Christian is a hugely respected figure in both the private equity and sport industries. We’re delighted that he shares our vision for where we want to take We R Interactive and to be adding his incredible experience to the Board.”
In May We R Interactive signed former England and Arsenal full back and BBC football pundit, Lee Dixon to contribute script and storyline ideas for I AM PLAYR, with Dixon also adding his backing to We R Interactive.
The same month We R Interactive announced that it had raised $5 million in second round funding from private investment using the funds to support the ongoing development and globalisation of We R Interactive’s first game, I AM PLAYR; as well as expanding its product portfolio into other sports and further genres including music and fashion. The company added several new high-profile figures from the music, football, advertising and finance industries to its shareholder base. These include Elio Leoni-Sceti, former CEO EMI Music and Paul Fitzsimons ex-media sector partner at Apax Partners. The company’s existing shareholders all invested further in the business.
About We R Interactive
Formed in June 2010 We R Interactive brings together the disciplines of games, film and TV production to create the next generation of social games, with a team previously responsible for many leading global entertainment franchises.
We R Interactive is backed by high-profile figures from film, music, finance and advertising, including Eric Fellner, co-founder of Working Title Films, Elio Leoni-Sceti, former CEO EMI Music, Paul Fitzsimons ex-media sector partner at Apax Partners and Peter Mead, founder of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
In March 2011 the company launched its first game in open beta - I AM PLAYR, the first ever point-of-view football game. I AM PLAYR allows players to live the life of a professional footballer, pitting themselves against their mates and the rest of the world. The game delivers a new platform for brand advertising and a level of user engagement far beyond typical digital solutions, with brand integrations actively enhancing the user experience – this diversified business model is unique to We R Interactive.
Initial partners to I AM PLAYR include Nike, Red Bull and Alfa Romeo and top football talent featured in the game includes Theo Walcott amongst others. I AM PLAYR was voted Best Football Game 2011 by EPL Talk and named a finalist in the NMA awards for ‘technical innovation’.
Production is well progressed on further titles and product announcements are due shortly. These build upon We R Interactives’ proprietary storytelling technology "Muse" and stay true to the company’s aim of delivering high quality social games that bring a global audience together.
About I AM PLAYR
Launched in beta in March I AM PLAYR is the first ever point-of-view football game to allow players to experience the life of a footballer, through the eyes of a footballer, pitting themselves against their mates and the rest of the world.
Played across Facebook and its own dedicated website, it fuses live action video, interactive story-telling and first-person perspective game play to create a truly original narrative, where the storyline is dictated by the player’s decisions and actions both on and off the pitch.
Video-based narrative journeys allow the player to experience the consequences of their decisions, mobile games enable them to train and improve their skills on the move and real-life crossovers mean their actions in the real world can affect their status and performance in the game.
Proprietary technology lets the game track multiple narratives, allowing innovative brand integrations to flow seamlessly around the core narrative.
I AM PLAYR has to date secured brand sponsorship from Nike – principle brand partner, as well as Alfa Romeo, Ginsters Red Bull.