NFX Guild’s Founding Partner Gigi Levy gets hundreds of emails a month, all from great entrepeneurs, but has to say “no” to 99% of them. You’re a strong team, and you’re building a potentially great game…so why can’t you land that critical investment you’ve been chasing for so long? The answer is probably not as complicated as you think. In the Casual Connect USA panel, Gigi and their colleagues from IDG Ventures, Bullpen Capital, CrossCut Ventures, flaregames and Execution Labs give the no-B.S. reasons why they keep telling you no so that the next time you pitch them you might actually get a yes.
Gigi Levy is the founding partner of NFX Guild. It is a silicon valley accelerator that Gigi founded with James Currier and Stan Chudnovsky, though it doesn’t invest in games usually. As for Gigi in particular, he looks simply for a team that works together and is hugely passionate about games.
“The teams coming to me must love games and should understand the building blocks of shaping a successful games company today – the creative process, the perfect execution, the fast iterations, the live operations, the rigorous optimization, the economy balancing etc.” said Gigi.
“I always loved video games ever since I was young, and when I started investing I was very excited to invest in games companies,” they added. “The first one wasn’t a success, but the excitement of working with the team and being part of the creation process made it very clear I will continue investing in games.”
The Perfect Job
Gigi loves the fact that he gets to work with such passionate and talented teams. He says he learns something every day from the teams he invests in. Being able to work on general strategy and product creation is what he considers the “perfect job” since he doesn’t have to touch the business management parts he isn’t as interested in.
“The biggest challenge is getting hundreds of mails a month from great kids who want investment and assistance,” Gigi noted. “Being an investor means saying ‘no’ to 99 percent of them which is never fun. But to put things into perspective – being an investor has very little daily challenges compared to being an entrepreneur.”
“I do today what I always wanted to do – I work with talented, passionate, creative teams who set to disrupt various industries,” he added. “I wouldn’t change that for any other job in the world!”
Dreams of Space
When Gigi was younger, he wanted to be an astronaut. While they did spend time in the Israeli Air Force, he would still like to go into space one day. Much of Gigi’s free time these days is spend with his three kids.
“When I am not with [my kids] and not working I will be probably reading a book or watching a movie – with science fiction and fantasy being my favorite genre… Kind of cliché – but that’s me,” said Gigi. “My main serious hobby is an NGO I am deeply involved in called MEET which is taking Palestinian and Israeli kids and teaching them computer science, entrepreneurship and a curriculum called deeper understanding which is essentially understanding the narrative of the other side. An amazing organization.”
The Network Effect
Gigi says he has always been a gamer. When he ran the online game company 888, he started really looking at the industry more strategically. Successfully investing in companies was something that became an “addiction” according to Gigi.
Many of his favorite games of all time come from the studios that are part of his portfolio. “I now play Vikings (made by Plarium), Transformers (made by SpaceApe), Skywars (7 Elements), Lord of the Board (BeachBum) and Coin Master (MoonActive) to name a few,” said Gigi.
When it comes to making a successful product, including games, Gigi sees inherent value in something that has a network effect to it, particularly in the mobile space. “While most people mistake network effects with virality (they are two separate things), most successful games today have an inherent network effect at various levels,” he said. “Imagine Game of War or Clash of Clans with no clans, no cooperation, no interaction. The fact that you basically network with others and form together alliances which are used to help you progress in the game (or which are essentially the game itself) – that’s the strongest network effect in gaming.”
While there’s huge future growth for mobile, Gigi sees a huge future for VR. “While Pokemon Go, an AR game, is now the hottest thing, the VR revolution is coming and it will surely be the biggest mega trend we see the coming few years in gaming,” he noted. “Being truly immersed in a new world will bring gaming to a whole new level.”
David Radd is a staff writer for GameSauce.biz. David loves playing video games about as much as he enjoys writing about them, martial arts and composing his own novels.