“Unless you get retention and engagement nailed down, you won’t be successful,” Ed Cluss explained during a panel at Casual Connect USA 2014.
Ed Cluss is the founding partner of Signia Venture Partners. He emphasizes the dynamic nature of mobile games, when he says, “At Signia we invest in mobile games, as it is the platform experiencing major growth, and we invest in experienced, passionate, craft-driven teams pushing the envelope of their art.”
Cluss established Signia Venture Partners after several years of successful angel investing and a twenty-five year career running venture backed companies. Now he invests in early stage companies primarily related to mobility and data. He has been a CEO and officer in public companies multiple times, building and managing teams across the world. This experience enables him to provide guidance to the companies he is now working with as an investor.
The moment he remembers with the greatest satisfaction in his career was shipping the first internet appliance in 1997, the original iPhone that provided web and email access, along with ecommerce and localized news. This first iPhone was developed by InfoGear and was ultimately distributed in the US, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. InfoGear was acquired by Cisco in 2000.
Staying With Games
Cluss became involved in the game industry when he invested in Playdom, which was acquired by Disney. He then made investments in Cie Games, Funzio and several other game companies and has enjoyed helping the CEOs and founders build and grow these companies. He points out that investors, such as Signia, understand trends, platforms, talent and building companies. He insists, “It is not our expertise on games that makes us special, it is our expertise in building companies in the mobile gaming space.” Signia Venture Partners have now invested in several game companies, including Fun+ and Super Evil Megacorp. If he were not running a venture capital fund, he would be making angel investments and mentoring CEOs and founders.
Besides his involvement in his work, Cluss participates in golf and tennis and coaches youth sports. His favorite video game is Racing Rivals on iOS because “it is the best racing game, and I am an investor.” He uses iOS because he has become familiar with it through his iPhone. But he is considering switching to Android. He sees it rapidly becoming the dominant platform and believes it may offer more opportunity for innovation.
He also owns an Xbox One which is used mainly by his son to try out new games.
Cluss notes that gaming is shifting to online, driven by the increasing numbers of connected mobile devices and tablets. Within the next few years he expects messaging apps to become powerful distribution channels for mobile games. eSports viewership has increased and will continue to be a key engagement channel for core gamers.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.