Eric LaVanchy

Eric LaVanchy

Eric LaVanchy has developed dozens of games played by millions of users that have generated tens of millions in revenue. He founded and sold a 'Web 1.0' game company, managed a major UK gaming brand.

Los Angeles, California, United States
Member since April 11, 2011
  • About
1989 Ohio University , BS , Telecommunications
1992 New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program

I am a(n):


If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

I want to invent something cool.

My favorite startups:

Dropbox, Foursquare, FanVibe

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

The most frustrating aspect is resistance to new forms or developing new audiences, or as often happens in entertainment/gaming, breaking away from copycat, me-too titles and formats. The most rewarding thing is having the opportunity to see ideas and models you have imagined become real.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

Lacking a sense of urgency at all points in the process.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

The first is that starting a company is an education in business that I don't think you can get at any school - from top down understanding everything that goes into running a viable entity. The second, to use a sports analogy, would be to say you have to think like a closer in baseball - if you blow it one day, if something goes wrong, drop it and move on to the next day and the next chance for glory. And the third would be that however long you think you need, and however much padding you give yourself, you're going to need more time.

Full bio

Eric joined AT&T's research and development group in New York in 1992, where he created game and entertainment applications for the web and interactive television (iTV), including the first web-based version of Wheel of Fortune. He also pioneered the advergaming genre in 1994 with the creation of Two Minute Warning, the first web-based advergame, developed in partnership with the National Football League and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

In 1996 Eric co-founded Bottle Rocket, a digital game development company that delivered more than 100 titles for clients and partners including ESPN, the NFL, and Viacom. He was also named on a patent for the development of massively multiplayer, affinity-based online gaming in partnership with Electronic Arts. Bottle Rocket was acquired in 2000 by ACTV, a technical and creative iTV services company later acquired by OpenTV. At ACTV, Eric served as Chief Creative Officer focusing on iTV and cross-platform  development.

In 2002 Eric became Casino Director for The Ritz Club London Online, the interactive subsidiary company of The Ritz Club and Hotel. Eric led the development of multiple new products and distribution platforms, and was made Managing Director of the company in 2005. He joined the Ultimate Blackjack Tour (UBT) in Los Angeles in 2006, supporting UBT in the development of Elimination Blackjack as an online tournament-style game, from which players qualified to appear on the UBT TV show on CBS and also qualify for seats at land-based blackjack tournaments.

Eric became Director of Gaming for TV producer Endemol in 2007, where he was responsible for developing the company’s global interactive gaming strategy. He led the product design and business development of 1 vs. 100 Live for Xbox Live Primetime, which was downloaded more than 2.5 million times with as many as 114,000 players participating in a single game, and Deal or No Deal – THE EXPERIENCE, a linked slot machine leveraging game play features adapted from the TV show.

After leaving Endemol in 2009, Eric consulted for companies including social network MySpace, online horse racing service YouBet (since acquired by Churchill Downs and rebranded as TwinSpires), and eCalcio, an Italian online virtual worlds developer. He founded MindGames in December 2009 with Larry Tobin.

Eric attended the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University's Tisch Graduate School for the Arts and holds a BS from The Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University. He lives in Los Angeles, but is originally from the Appalachian Mountain region of eastern Ohio.