After a tumultuous year, which began with the ill-advised purchase of Draw Something developer OMGPOP in April 2012, Zynga is looking to get back on its feet. Not only did the company recently open a new source of revenue in the form of real money gambling in the United Kingdom, but has now added a new member to its board that it hopes will bring come credibility back to the company.
Zynga has added John Doerr, General Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to its board of directors, it was announced Friday. He is joining Zynga's other existing members William "Bing" Gordon, Reid Hoffman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stanley J. Meresman, Sunil Paul, Mark Pincus, Ellen F. Siminoff and Owen Van Natta.
KPCB was a big backer of Zynga’s before it went public in December 2011, participating in a Series B funding round worth $25 million back in 2008.
"John has been a supporter of Zynga since our early days, and truly understands our core values and mission," Mark Pincus, CEO and Founder of Zynga, said in a statement. "John has worked with some of the most well-known companies in the world at every stage imaginable and his experience helping teams innovate at scale will be a tremendous asset for our leadership team. I'm personally looking forward to working closer with John, a true pioneer in the consumer internet space, and welcoming him to the board as a trusted advisor through this pivotal, transition year. John inspired us all to pursue creating Internet treasures. He is a true missionary and will deepen and strengthen our DNA."
Doerr, who began his career at Intel, has been with KPCB since 1980, and he has backed such notable companies as Google, Amazon and Intuit. In addition to Zynga, Doerr also currently serves on the boards of Coursera, Flipboard and Google.
"In just five years Zynga has connected hundreds of millions of people to their friends for fun. What's exciting is this is still day zero — just the beginning -- of social gaming's potential," Doerr said in a statement. "With its deep talent and multi-platform technology, and millions of happy customers, Zynga will engage more of us wherever we play — whether on the web, phones or tablets. I'm excited about working with Mark and the Zynga team in its next chapters of growth."
After a year that saw many key people fleeing the company, a big stock drop, studio closures and the severing of its relationship with Facebook, Zynga has to be hoping that adding a high profile figure like Doerr will help give investors the impression that the company is stabilizing. Obviously his addition will not solve all of the company’s problems, but it could be a step toward finally turning the ship around.
Zynga’s stock ended up 2.9% on Friday to $3.55 a share. Shares are down 65% since Zynga’s IPO.
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